New Windmill Trail given highest priority in Bangs Canyon proposal

Rough Canyon is a popular hiking spot in the Bangs Canyon Special Recreation Management Area southwest of Grand Junction. The Bureau of Land Management has extended the public comment period on a proposal to add new trails and more than 21 miles of new singletrack, Jeep and all-terrain vehicle roads within this area.



QUICKREAD

PROPOSED BANGS CANYON TRAILS, IN ORDER OF PRIORITY:

Windmill Trail, singletrack, 8 miles

Windmill Bailout, singletrack, 1.5 miles

Horse Mesa to Billings Road, ATV, 3.8 miles

Rock Garden Trail, Jeep/rock crawling, 1 mile

Cottonwood Tree Trail, Jeep/rock crawling, 1.4 miles

Horse Mesa West Trail, singletrack, 1.7 miles

4x4 Qualifier, Jeep/rock crawling, 0.2 miles



Trail users of all stripes now have through Dec. 22 to comment on a Bureau of Land Management proposal to add eight new trails and a combination of more than 21 miles of new singletrack, Jeep and all-terrain vehicle roads in the Bangs Canyon area southwest of Grand Junction.

The new trails proposed all fall within the Bangs Canyon Special Recreation Management Area, and new trails are proposed between Billings Canyon and West Bangs Canyon and between the Tabeguache Trail and the Gunnison River.

The trail with the highest priority in the project is a new eight-mile length of singletrack called the Windmill Trail, which would be accessed near the intersection of the Tabeguache Trail and Windmill Road.

“(Windmill Trail and its bailout section) are really scenic and beautiful trails, with some amazing and unique terrain — including big patches of slick rock, like in Moab,” said Dave Grossman, coordinator of the Grand Valley Trails Alliance. Grossman said he’s walked about 80 percent of the proposed Windmill Trail, which takes riders and hikers toward the Gunnison River in style.

Under the proposal, rock-crawlers and ATV riders would get miles of new trails as well, mostly in the Horse Mesa area near Billings Canyon.

The BLM is working with the Responsible Recreation Foundation, a group that promotes “multiple use, responsible recreation, and sustainable networks of roads and trails on public lands” and began developing the proposal in 2010.

Local groups involved in the process so far include the Western Slope ATV Association, Motorcycle Trail Riders Association, Bookcliff Rattlers, Grand Mesa Jeep Club and Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association, among others.

The BLM’s comment period originally was scheduled to end today but was extended Wednesday a full month to Dec. 22.

The public comments are the critical next piece following the environmental assessment done on the BLM’s proposed Bangs Canyon Trail Development project. Trail maps and the assessment itself can be found on the BLM website at http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/gjfo.html.

“The big thing for us is we want public involvement. We want the comments, we want people to have an active role in how their public lands are managed,” BLM spokesman Chris Joyner said.

“While the 30-day extension pushes the project further down range, it’s more important to get good, sound comments from people,” he said.

Written comments can be mailed to the Grand Junction Field Office, 2815 H Road, Grand Junction 81506, Attention: Chris Pipkin. Submit comments via e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Questions can be answered by calling 970-244-3024.


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