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Preliminary EA for the Bangs Motorized Trail

December 6, 2012

Below is the official letter submitted by COPMOBA tp the Bureau of LAnd Management regarding the Preliminary Environmental Assessment for the Bangs Motorized Trail Development.  The comment period is open until December 22nd.  Please consider submitting your own individual comments regarding Bangs Canyon.

If you would like to read the asessment, you can access it here:  Bangs Canyon peliminary EA

We support the creation of these trails, and we urge you to provide support as well, specifically highlighting support for the creation of the singletrack trails in the plan. If you’re familiar with the existing Butterknife trail (motorized singletrack) in this area, that gives you some idea of the style and scope of what is being considered in this proposal. Comments can be made to the BLM via e-mail at BLM_CO_GJ_Public_Comments@blm.gov , and should be received by December 22.

 



Date: Dec 6, 2012

To: Bureau of Land Management, Grand Junction Field Office

From: Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association

Re: Preliminary Environmental Assessment for the Bangs Motorized Trail Development

COPMOBA has reviewed the Preliminary Environmental Assessment for the Bangs Motorized Trail Development document, and would like to register a number of comments for the plan.

COPMOBA’s stated mission is the development and maintenance of singletrack and developmental features in our region.  The Bangs motorized trail development proposal lays out many opportunities for mountain bike accessible trails and other outdoor recreation activities in the Bangs Canyon area.  In general, COPMOBA supports the responsible creation of these trails, with emphasis on the singletrack aspects of the plan.  Specifically, COPMOBA supports the creation of the identified singletrack trails; Windmill, Windmill Bailout, Horse Mesa, and Horse Mesa West trails.  However this support comes with concerns about the ability to implement these and the balance of the proposed network in a manner that maintains the health of the area under heavy motorized use, with little ability to effectively manage use in remote areas.  It is not uncommon to see the results of very damaging off-trail traffic in motorized use areas.  COPMOBA does desire and support greater singletrack trail access, but we advocate strongly for the development and use to occur in a responsible and conscientious manner. 

In addition we would like to identify the following;

- We emphasize the goal of establishing sustainable routes while not sanitizing the trial of challenging natural terrain characteristics that are defining aspects for many trails and the landscape in this locale. 

- There are no apparent indications of skill levels for the singletrack routes - these should be identified and included in trail management objectives before construction.

- When considering the creation of the new singletrack routes, we believe that managing the entry and exit points for singletrack access is critical.  Intersections of routes 2 & 4 with singletrack routes 5 & 6 should receive substantial control measures on access to the singletrack portions of trail.

- Singletrack routes should take advantage of terrain that supports motorized use with minimal impact, such as slickrock or similar hard surfaces.  Routing through washes and sandy areas is often not a preferable option.  Some sections of trail appear to utilize wash areas and should be reviewed with the idea of avoiding braiding and sustainability in mind.

- We advocate that any routes currently identified as singletrack be maintained under that designation through the completion of the plan and implementation.  ATV access to doubletrack roadways is already extensive in this area.  ATV access to remote routes also typically produces a less technical trail layout, and often more significantly impacting the natural feel of the area.  We do not support transitioning any routes identified as singletrack to ATV accessible routes.

In consideration of the planning process, COPMOBA advocates that the development of this system should take place within a well structured and consistent process under BLM supervision.  We support the progressive nature of the planning process as illustrated by the noted 1987 GJ RMP and 1999, 2005 and 2006 Bangs Mgmt Plan revisions.  Our emphasis is that this planning process be clear, consistent, inclusive of all concerned parties, and maintain a consistent focus on the stated goals and conclusions throughout the entire planning process.  We also advocate that trail implementation should be accomplished with the least possible impact to wildlife and natural and archeological resources.

The Grand Junction region, among others, has experienced the documented benefits of single track trail development. Single track trail systems in the Rabbit Valley, Kokopelli, North Fruita Desert, Palisade, and Tabeguache areas have proven to be valuable local resources for outdoor recreation and have supported healthy economic activity by both local and visitor users.  Local riders would utilize the trail system under consideration, benefitting from the close proximity and unique landscape features of this area.

Trails provide a positive avenue for outdoor enthusiasts with regard to both physical and mental well being, and the positive economic impacts of trails systems such as this are apparent. COPMOBA directly supports responsible trail construction and maintenance programs, where appropriate, in cooperation with other user groups and public lands agencies. We believe that this multi-use trail system is appropriate when implemented with the considerations noted and will be a significant recreational, social, and economic benefit to our region.  COPMOBA also encourages all individual COPMOBA members to provide direct personal comment to the BLM with regard to this preliminary EA.


Sincerely,


Scott Winans
President - COPMOBA



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