Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Uncompahgre Field Office (Colorado) is accepting comments on the Environmental Assessment for the Jumbo Mountain Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA) Comprehensive Travel and Transportation Management Plan. This is a popular 1,600 acre area for mountain biking and e-bike use. There are also plenty of two track routes within the project area that are used by all forms of OHV’s, hiking, and equestrian use. The BLM has proposed several alternatives. The least restrictive is Alternative C however, there are still issues with Alternative C such as overall route closure and restricting motorized access that we would like the BLM to address before a decision is made. An action alert to send a letter to the BLM is included at the end of this article, we hope you add your voice to ours to advocate for motorized use in Colorado.
Through this process BLM is trying to achieve the following objectives in contrast to the current management:
If the BLM wants to have easily accessible areas they should not convert routes to non-motorized as they proposed in all alternatives. Alternative B would convert ALL motorized routes to non-motorized. In order to accommodate the growing number of users and encounter fewer than 30 people on these trails, they should analyze creating new trails for all types of user groups.
All mountain bike trails could also be closed to e-bike use. Colorado House Bill 17-1151 allows Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on paths where bikes are allowed to travel. If nothing else the BLM should be consistent and allow e-bike use on all the non-motorized bike trails. Alternatives B and C prohibit e-bike use on mountain biking trails even though Alternative C is the “maximum access” alternative.
Alternative C is maximum access, most of the route closures would be re-routes but would overall go from 31.8 miles of routes to only 27 total. A lot of the routes would be changed from motorized use to non-motorized use as you can see in the maps below.
Closing these routes and re-designating them as non-motorized would be for the following reasons: Colorado desert parsley (which is not a listed species of plant), nesting birds, wintering big game and habitat, sediment, salt and selenium, transportation, recreation characteristics and opportunities.
It is also important to note the season closures for the trails in order to protect big game wildlife and habitat. Seasonal closures are often arbitrary and the agency should consider actual guidelines which would determine when the routes could be used.
There is currently year round access on 12.2 miles of routes and even the “maximum access” alternative would only allow current 6.8 miles of year round use.