BLM wraps up road, trail meetings

The Bureau of Land Management Grand Junction Field Office is seeking public comment on about 2,700 miles of roads and trails as part of a land-use planning project.

Information from the public will guide the BLM’s handling of motorized and nonmotorized roads and trails for the next 20 years.

Comment sessions already have been held in several area towns, including Fruita on Wednesday. The next workshop will be from 4 to 7 p.m. today in the Merlot Room at Courtyard Inn, 765 Horizon Drive.

“The majority of what we’re hearing is that there’s a diversity of users, and everyone wants their needs addressed,” said Michelle Bailey, BLM outdoor recreation planner.

People use the land for a variety of reasons: as a backyard to walk their dogs or for mountain bike riding, running and riding ATVs, Bailey said.

People have voiced concerns about density of user routes and the effect on natural resources and wildlife, she said.

At the meeting at the Fruita Civic Center, Jerry Smith of Grand Junction showed up to fill out comment sheets.

A member of the Grand Mesa Jeep Club, Smith said his concerns are general. He said he has used the majority of open-area trails within 50 to 100 miles of Grand Junction. In a few places, he’d like to see trails connect to other trails to make loops, but he’d also like to keep the scenic, nonloop trails.

The comment sessions are the first step in the planning process and are needed to verify the accuracy of the BLM’s zone maps, Bailey said. There 23 zones vary in size and routes. The public has been able to see large maps of each zone.

Access, natural resources and regulatory needs are considered in the planning process, Bailey said.

“By protecting resources, we protect access,” she said.

Those who cannot attend the meeting today can submit comments by mail or at the Grand Junction Field Office, 2815 H Road, until March 20. Maps of the zones are available at http://www.blm.gov.


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