Err on the side of closing more roads


Recently, the Forest Service released an updated comprehensive multi-use plan for Boggy-Glade area of the Dolores Ranger District. The new proposal - "Modified Alternative D" - calls for 379 miles of forest roads and 42 miles of newly designated OHV trails. It eliminates 70 miles of old roads, 20 fewer than the original plan.

As Dolores District Ranger Derek Padilla pointed out, "There are too many roads and not enough secluded spaces to separate themselves from human presence. Without (those spaces), the elk move elsewhere, which nobody wants." As hunters and anglers know from boots-on-the-ground experience, more roads and OHV trails mean elk migrations are hindered, mule deer populations suffer, and trout spawning habitat is negatively impacted. That means less hunting and fishing opportunity.

The Boggy-Glade plan should err on the side of closing more roads and trails, and ban exceptions for motorize game retrieval. If you are unable to figure out how to get an elk or deer out of the woods without putting it on a vehicle, then you have no business hunting for one. Most forests in Colorado, appropriately, disallow off-route motorized game retrieval.

As Traditional Bowhunter magazine editor T.J. Conrads said, "The use of ATV/ORVs on federal lands is not a right: it is a privilege, one that has been abused ... causing detrimental effects on the land, wildlife habitat, and other users of the land." As long as hunters have roamed Colorado, they have had the responsibility of planning ahead and getting their game out.

For decades, this has been done on foot or with stock. Game carts are an appropriate tool for this, in many cases, but if we allow the habitat to be overrun with vehicles for the lazy and unprepared, we will find neither the game nor the solitude we seek. Yes, you might have to walk. You might have to sweat under a pack-frame or behind a game cart. But that is the point. If you want easy food, try the supermarket.

David Lien

Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

Colorado Springs