From Darkness To Light

4 May 2019

BLM suggests criminalizing mountain biking on Hogs Back Trail, Skid Ridge+Slime Gulch

Posted by Adam Howell

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Bike travel would be allowed for retrieving dead animals during hunting seasons, but never for recreation or transportation on popular local BLM trails near Perins Peak under a Transportation and Access Plan that’s currently open to public comments.

A mountain biker rides Skid Ridge on BLM land. It may soon be a criminal offense to ride your bike on this trail. Do you care?

More specifically, mechanized travel would be prohibited on parts of Hogs Back Trail, Slime Gulch and all of Skid Ridge to comply with the Tres Rios Field Office (TRFO) Resource Management Plan (RMP), according to language in the Transportation and Access Plan.

Also of concern for cyclists is language in the Transportation and Access Plan that pushes to “work with City of Durango to reroute the existing ‘Slime Gulch’ mechanized use off of BLM land.”

Hogs Back Trail and Skid Ridge are cherished by cyclists in Durango for their unique, challenging and steep mancos shale topography along ridge lines.

Slime Gulch is a popular trail during the heat of summer because of its highly shaded orientation at the bottom of a canyon.

As part of the plan, officials would like to work with the City of Durango to reroute the existing Slime Gulch mechanized use off of BLM land.

Another proposal in the document suggests to not designate the Old Car Loop in the Grandview area “due to no public access across private land,” according to the plan.

It was unclear if or which private land owner indeed prohibits public access across their land.

New BLM trails proposed on Animas City Mountain

While the plan to criminalize cycling next to Overend Mountain Park is disturbing, the BLM is also proposing some new trails on Animas City Mountain in a move to appease mountain bikers.

In an attempt to reduce safety concerns by separating recreation use, two new bike only trails would be designated and constructed from just near the top of the mountain down towards the bottom by the rim overlooking Sailing Hawks.

In addition, new route segments are proposed for the western edge of Animas City Mountain on the rim, as well as two new segments that would traverse across the middle of the mountain from east to west.

Proposed BLM trail closure highlighted in Orange.

View the BLM trail map

To view a map of the Tres Rios Field Office Transportation and Access Plan map of proposed designation, click on the link to the BLM’s ARC GIS ESRI map here. Visit the home page of the BLM’s scoping period announcement by clicking here.

Resist BLM trail closures and comment today

To submit comments against the BLM’s proposed trail closures, click here to be taken to the Tres Rios Field Office Transportation and Access Plan comment page.

Comments should be submitted by May 22nd, 2019.

View PDF documents here

View the Tres Rios Field Office Transportation and Access Plan by clicking here. View the approved Resource Management Plan for the Tres Rios Field Office by clicking here.

Adam Howell is a writer who is on the city of Durango’s Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board. He can be reached by clicking on this link to the contact page.

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