GarCo appeals road limits in forest travel
Garfield County commissioners agreed Monday to appeal limitations on several roads under a new forest travel management plan.
The county contends there are inconsistencies between county and White River National Forest maps regarding several roads.
The Forest Service already is ceding the county’s point in the case of County Road 241 up East Elk Creek north of New Castle. The Forest Service plan would limit travel on the last mile-and-a-half section of the road to all-terrain vehicles, horses and foot travel, but the county has pointed out it historically has been used by all vehicles.
Glenn Adams, Rifle district ranger for the Forest Service, said the problem will be rectified in the plan.
“We are going to deal with it as an error and hopefully have it stay the way it is, open to vehicles,” he said.
The county is reiterating its position on that road in its appeal and raising concerns about several other roads, which have been proposed for changes such as decommissioning or being limited to nonmotorized travel.
Among them are County Road 30 in Four-Mile Park south of Glenwood Springs and several roads in the Flat Tops north of Glenwood Springs. County commissioners want to maintain vehicle access to Jet, Blue and Blair lakes in the Flat Tops.
The Forest Service issued its White River travel management plan in May, after a formal process of about a decade. Adams said some 5,000 miles of roads were reviewed, which along with staff turnover, helps explain why errors like the one north of New Castle can occur.
“Different people come and go, and I’m just trying to get it fixed,” he said.
White River forest spokesman Pat Thrasher said appeals of the plan are being accepted through June 20, and a number of individuals and organizations have indicated they plan to appeal.
In its appeal, the county also is expressing concerns about the need to preserve motorized access to 263 grazing allotments for ranchers. However, Thrasher said access to allotments is specified in grazing permits and will remain in place for all permit holders.