Public land changes could limit off-roading

By: Joseph Dames
By: Joseph Dames

Give your feedback about the plan during BLM open house meetings.

All last from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.:

  • Jan. 31: Clarion Inn, 755 Horizon Dr., Grand Junction
  • Feb. 5: Gateway Community Center, 42700 Highway 141, Gateway
  • Feb. 7: Fruita Civic Center, 325 Aspen Ave., Fruita

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Residents of Mesa County could be seeing changes to public access roads to recreation areas. Local community members gathered Wednesday with public advocates to help discuss a law that may be able to keep that access from being changed.

If you enjoy heading out to the public roads and hitting the trails with your off-road vehicle, you may soon be confined to a much smaller piece of land. Sixty-seven percent and more than 2000 miles of access may be stripped from public availability, meaning some of your favorite places to off-road may not be available anymore.

Brandon Siegfried, a public lands access advocate, said “The Resource Management Plan is threatening the closure of over 2100 miles of access, and the RS2477 is a law that is placed that supersedes the authority of the BML."

Some Western Slope county commissioners are among those who want the public to know there's a way for the community to come together to prevent the limited access: it's a law called RS2477.

"All of those roads that were built are called RS2477, our rights of way, defined by the 10th Circuit of Courts Appeal those rights now are access for recreation," said John Martin, a county commissioner here in the Western Slope.

A few Grand Junction residents want the community to know about the possible change and are asking for them to get involved and share their feedback with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials.

“You cut an area down from one size to another; you still have all these people that are interested and using it and enthusiast, and now you have a smaller area, and to me, that’s a big deal," said Ace Houston, a Grand Junction off-road enthusiast.

Off-roaders have to register their ATVs, dirt bikes and other machines, helping to pay for the upkeep required for the use of these lands.

"We help pay that money to keep access to these areas and to keep it taken care of. We feel like our money isn't being spent properly," said Houston.

Enthusiast say there's a way to help keep that land available, by coming together as a community to support statute RS2477.

"Ultimately our goal of this meeting is to get Mesa County to look at RS2477 as a route to protect the access that we enjoy right now for to our public lands" said Siegfried.

BLM's resource management plan entails quite a bit which may be interesting to our viewers who are off-roaders.

For more information on commenting and to read the RPM in detail, click the link below to go to the Grand Valley Trails Alliance website.

KKCO firmly believes in freedom of speech for all and we are happy to provide this forum for the community to share opinions and facts. We ask that commenters keep it clean, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments left here do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of KKCO 11News.

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