Misty Hays, deputy district ranger for the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forestís Douglas Ranger District, issued her decision on the Laramie Peak travel management plan last week. The decision affects 180,454 acres of Forest Service land in Converse, Albany, Platte and Natrona counties. Folks will find major changes in the roads they can and canít use. The Forest Service staff wonít begin implementing the changes in signs and barriers until after a 45-day appeal period expires, and they say they will be fairly lenient on violators until a new map is published in the spring of 2008. Hays presented her decisions at a public meeting and said that they designate a new road system while better protecting resources and providing safe areas for family ATV riding away from full-size vehicle traffic. Her decisions call for
Adding one mile of new road to complete a planned loop trail for ATVs
Converting about 35 miles of existing roads to motorized trails. Only vehicles 50 inches wide or smaller would be allowed.
Closing more than 100 miles of unofficial roads illegally created by users (We are sick and tired of this tired and worn out attempt by all of those on the greenies side of this definition! When a park was left open to riding, it was fair game to put in a trail! End of statement and discussion! Get over it wackos.)
Changing nearly nine miles of motorized trails into non-motorized trails.
Closing about five miles of roads to motorized traffic due to resource damage. These routes would remain open for administrative uses and non-motorized public use.
Decommissioning around six miles of roads where traffic is damaging the land. Non-motorized use would be allowed.
In most cases, people will no longer be able to drive 300 feet off the road/trail to camp or park. The 300-foot allowance will continue at Deer Creek, in the Esterbrook area, and on Cow Creek Road, Arapaho Trail, Cow Camp Road and Lower Horseshoe Road.
More bad news on the OHV front: during the evaluation period of forest roads, the Forest Service says that it discovered that it has no legal right of way on 376 miles of roads currently in the system! These roads will be closed immediately while the Forest Service district office attempts to negotiate legal access. If legal access is obtained, the trails/roads will be added back into the official system. The roads will be prioritized based on whether access already exists into an area, the landowner's willingness to cooperate and opportunities for reciprocal easements. The Forest Service indicated that they know some landowners will not cooperate and that they will focus on working with the people where they feel they will be able to get something accomplished.
This was a big hit as in this area we have calculated a loss of access to over 400 miles of roads/trails!