Decision in embattled travel management plan expected this fall
Courtesy photo/US Forest Service
A popular spot for teenagers and those who like to offroad a bit, needs to be cleaned up according to a plan under works at the U.S. Forest Service.
Photographs of the historic Rust Sawmill and Railroad Site were shown to Dolores Town Board members Monday night during a workshop.
“This is an example of an area that would be closed to cross country travel,” said Deborah Kill, with the Forest Service.
On the screen, Kill showed a series of photographs taken of the site, which is filled with a crisscrossing of roads and deep ruts.
“It is a historic site,” Kill said.
Mayor Val Truelsen agreed.
“That was one of the first railroad and sawmills in the area,” he said.
It was likely built around 1905, Truelsen said.
The site is located off of the Dolores Norwood Road about four miles north of the Town of Dolores.
Kill and District Ranger Derek Padilla said that officials are concerned about the health of the meadow in the Rust Sawmill area and riparian vegetation, soil erosion on the slopes and multiple tracks of bare ground where vegetation does not grow.
However, Kill said that those who wish to see the site will likely still be able to drive to it; they just won’t be able to drive all around and across it.
“We looked at different options and are leaning to leave the road open to the area,” she said. “We just want to eliminate the hill climbing and mud bogging and driving all across the site.”
The Rust Sawmill site, is just one portion of the long-awaited Boggy/Glade Travel Management Plan, a plan that takes into consideration all the roads in the neighboring forest. The plan has been ongoing for two years and has drawn sharp criticism from locals, including protests and a march that shut down a portion of Highway 184 last February. The final draft of the plan is expected this fall. It will be the second time a final draft has been published, the first one was appealed. Once the final draft is released, the public has 45 days to appeal.
Once that happens, route closures won’t likely happen until next spring or summer.
Many roads will be closed in the plan, in addition to cross country travel, in order to protect habitat, resources and wildlife.
The new plan will likely allow limited game retrieval with ATVs, a big contention in the previous plan, which did not allow motorized game retrieval.
But even though the plan may be released this fall, there will be no changes to this year’s hunting season in the Boggy/Glade Travel Management areas, forest service officials pointed out.
In addition, the plan has in it a connector trail that will allow hikers and mountain bikers to ride or walk up to the Boggy Draw trail system from the cemetery west of Dolores.
Town Manager Ryan Mahoney said he wants to fast-track construction of that trail.