County plans pushback on BLM roads closure plan
The Mesa County Commission is set on Monday to assert control over roads and rights of way, setting up a potential confrontation with the Bureau of Land Management, which is considering road closures on lands it manages in the county.
The commissioners are claiming the right to control roads under federal law, including U.S. Revised Statute 2477, a post-Civil War measure designed to encourage development of the West.
The BLM is studying proposed changes to the Grand Junction office’s resource management plan, including transportation for the more than 1 million acres it manages in Mesa County and in some adjoining counties. Among the changes to the plan are several proposed road closures.
The travel-management portion of the plan was part of the plan that garnered the most comment and access advocates also pressed the commission to take a strong position against road closures by the BLM.
“Our board received a petition last year signed by over 1,800 constituents asking us to keep access on our public lands open to the public,” Commissioner Rose Pugliese said in a statement. “By reaffirming our county’s authority over these roads and rights of way, we can help protect access.”
The county’s resolution also calls on Congress to develop legislation “to improve the procedure for respecting grants of rights-of-way under R.S. 2477.”