Last updated 3:42PM ET
December 11, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Wilderness vs. Mountainbiking Draws Hundreds
(2008-01-23)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Several hundred people crowded into meeting rooms at the Durango Rec Center last night, to hear about a management proposal for San Juan Public Lands.
Many were there interested in only one aspect of the plan.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

VICTOR: About 250 people jammed into the meeting rooms, twice their legal capacity.
They listened for an hour to a presentation on the draft management plan for 2.4-million acres of San Juan National Forest and BLM Land in Southwest Colorado.
The San Juan Lands Management Plan has been in process for three years.
It's been the subject of numerous meetings already.
The plans three volumes form a stack of paper six inches high.
Four alternatives are proposed for managing wildlife, logging, oil and gas development, roads, sensitive areas, historic sites and more.
What drew many to last night's meeting, was a proposal contained in the so-called preferred alternative, that would designate 51-thousand acres around Hermosa Creek as a wilderness area.
It's a move that could mean an end to mountain biking on the Colorado trail, and several other world renown biking trails in the area.
After the presentation, those in attendance could ask questions during a so called open house, at various stations detailing different parts of the plan.
Dave W. Farmer of Durango, was carefully studying the map of the new Hermosa wilderness area.
FARMER: LIKE MOST PEOPLE I'M CONCERNED ABOUT THEM TAKING MY MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS AWAY. EVEN THOUGH IT'S OBVIOUSLY THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE PROCESS WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WHEN THE WILDERNESS AREA GETS DESIGNATED SOMEHOW WE CAN STILL TAKE WHAT'S ONE OF THE CLASSIC RIDES IN THE COUNTRY, REALLY.
Mary Monroe, Director of Trails 2000, urged members of her group to attend the meeting and was pleased with the turnout.
MONROE: IT FEELS LIKE HALF OF THE ROOM IS HERE BECAUSE OF MOUNTAIN BIKE ISSUES IN THE HERMOSA WILDERNESS. THIS COMMUNITY IS A RECREATION MINDED OUTDOOR PROTECTIONIST COMMUNITY AND THAT TO ME SAYS THERE'S A COMPROMISE HERE. ONE, A WILDERNESS AREA TAKES AN ACT OF CONGRESS, SO IT WOULD TAKE AN ACT OF CONGRESS TO MAKE IT WILDERNESS. BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, IF THERE ARE ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES THAT NEED TO BE PROTECTED, THEN LET'S FIGURE OUT WHAT THOSE ARE WITHOUT GETTING RID OF HISTORICAL USERS THAT ALREADY USE HERMOSA CREEK.
Monroe and others favor having another meeting to discuss only the Hermosa Wilderness proposal of the plan and its impact on mountain biking.
San Juan Public Lands Center Manager Mark Stiles agreed, and sounded a concilatory note.
STILES: WE NEED TO HAVE ANOTHER MEETING TO MAKE SURE WE GET A CHANCE TO TALK ON THAT. I DO THINK ALSO ON THAT ISSUE THERE'S LOTS OF ROOM FOR US TO WORK THROUGH IT, IMPROVE OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THEIR CONCERNS AND MAKE SURE WHAT'S ACTUALLY IN THE PLAN IS UNDERSTOOD AT THIS POINT, AND THAT'S THE GREAT REASON FOR US TO BE MEETING, IS TO TRY AND IMPROVE THAT.
Others also asked for separate meetings on other aspects of the plan, particularly oil and gas development, grazing versus wildlife issues and travel management, for some.
Stiles says a final plan is not expected to be issued until mid 2009, and he knows of no plans to push the Hermosa Wilderness idea through congress before then.
More public meetings on the San Juan Lands Management Plan are scheduled next Tuesday in Pagosa Springs, January 31st in Silverton and February 6th in Rico.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.

NOTE: To see the plan go to http://ocs.fortlewis.edu/forestplan

Comments are being accepted until March 12th at the above website, can be faxed to 916-456-6724 or mailed to:

San Juan Plan Revision
PO Box 162909
Sacramento, CA 95816-2909

You are asked to be specific rather than general in your comments, if possible referring to specific sections of the plan.
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