Forest Service offers carrots to motorized users

Brief by Allen Best

Recreation – November 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Instead of wielding sticks, the U.S. Forest Service is offering carrots to motorized users who use the San Juan National Forest. The proof of this carrot pudding will be whether motorized users self-police themselves. If not, says the Durango Telegraph, the federal agency may get out the stick.

A study several years ago revealed more than 60,000 miles of renegade trails throughout the nation — which spurred Dale Bosworth, then chief of the Forest Service, to order motorized travel be confined to only those roads and trails specifically designated for use.

In the Durango area, however, the Forest Service chose to include 52 miles of previously undesignated roads — mostly old mining and logging roads — in the new road network. And for motorcycle riders, there will be a sanctioned singletrack which probably started as a pirate trail.

Grousing is being heard on both sides of the equation. The San Juan Trail Riders complain that “terrain that was once multiple use is being restricted more and more.”

The Colorado Backcountry Hunters and Anglers say that the Forest Service is failing to meet Bosworth’s mandate of limiting motorized use to restricted roads, let alone undoing the damage to the landscape incurred in the last 20 years.