Forest Service closes road on Tenderfoot Mountain |

Forest Service closes road on Tenderfoot Mountain

Alli Langley

This summer, the Dillon Ranger District will implement actions that were part of the U.S. Forest Service’s 2014 decision for the Tenderfoot Mountain Motorcycle Trail System.

Tenderfoot Mountain Road (#66.2B) in Frey Gulch will be closed and rehabilitated to improve water quality and habitat for fish and wildlife species.

Fish in Frey Gulch are negatively affected by sediment running from the road into the stream channel, and this contributes to a loss of pool and spawning habitat. Rehabilitation of the road will stabilize soils and minimize sediment impacts to Frey Gulch.

The road also accesses an area identified in the White River National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan as a forested landscape linkage, or an area managed as a movement corridor for carnivores and other larger fauna. Tenderfoot is home to a residential elk herd that uses this area year round, and the mountain is part of a statewide movement corridor for Canada lynx.

“Restoration of this road will provide increased availability of habitat for all wildlife species, including important prey species for Canada lynx,” said Ashley Nettles, District Wildlife Biologist.

In July and August, the road will be closed and rehabilitated using heavy equipment and handwork. The compacted soil will be broken up, and soil amendments will be added to the ripped roadbed to increase nutrient availability to vegetation. Native plants will be seeded and trees planted, and steep sections will be re-contoured to deter erosion.

To offset impacts to hunting in the fall, Road 66.2A will be opened from September 1 to November 23 to full-sized vehicles, which can be driven about one mile and gain about 1,000 feet in elevation. From there, ATVs (50 inches wide or smaller) can be driven another mile to Tenderfoot Mountain (11,441 feet), allowing limited motor vehicle access for hunters.

Trail construction for the Tenderfoot Mountain motorcycle trails project has begun and will be completed in 2017. An Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) grant-funded four-person crew will build about 6 miles of trail this summer with help from Summit County Off-Road Riders, Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, National Forest Foundation and the Colorado Statewide OHV crew.

For more information, contact the Dillon Ranger District at 970-468-5400.

Feds celebrate Browns Canyon National Monument in Buena Vista

The heads of the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior will join the local community in Buena Vista Saturday, July 18, along with other federal, state, tribal and local leaders to celebrate Pres. Barack Obama’s designation of the Browns Canyon National Monument.

The monument was officially designated February 19 and is jointly managed by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM portion of the monument is managed as part of BLM’s National Conservation Lands.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, BLM director Neil Kornze, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, as well as other local leaders will join and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

In Chaffee County between Buena Vista and Salida, Browns Canyon National Monument spans about 21,500 acres of rugged cliffs, colorful rock outcroppings and mountain vistas and tells the story of the area’s native peoples as well as the history of recent settlers and mining communities.

The monument protects one of the nation’s most popular destinations for whitewater rafting, with the Arkansas River and adjacent uplands supporting recreation opportunities and a strong outdoor economy.

The designation of the monument allows existing uses of the Browns Canyon area to continue — including hunting, fishing and grazing — and does not affect the management of the Arkansas River flows or the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

On Friday, July 17, Jewell will discuss conserving public lands and the importance of connecting youth to the outdoors as part of the Hurst Lecture Series at The Aspen Institute. After her lecture, Jewell will meet with local elected and community leaders in Glenwood Springs regarding the Coloywo mine.

Hanging bear bags no longer allowed in Maroon Bells

Storage of all food, garbage and attractants in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area must now be in hard-sided bear-resistant containers.

The White River National Forest announced the new requirement Tuesday, July 14, for the 162,333-acre wilderness area.

All overnight hikers must provide their own containers approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, which are readily available online and at local outdoor stores. Bear-resistant food canisters can also be rented at local vendors.

“Hanging food in trees is not effective, and too many people are continuing to store food in their tents,” said Karen Schroyer, Aspen-Sopris District district ranger.“I hope that visitors will understand that this special order is being implemented for their own safety, the safety of others camping nearby and conservation of our bear population.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife supports the requirement.

Over the past few years, multiple incidents in the Maroon Bells Wilderness have involved bears feeding on human food, buried garbage and other attractants such as cooking waste and toiletries when visitors were absent from camp or sleeping.

Once rewarded with food through human carelessness, bears become more emboldened, escalating the potential for adverse encounters. In rare cases, visitors have been injured, and these are often euthanized in defense of human safety and property.

Violations of these prohibitions are punishable as a Class B misdemeanor by a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual ($10,000 for an organization) or imprisonment for up to six months or both. Forest Service personnel can consider the circumstances of the situation and elect to give a warning or educate visitors of the importance for proper storage.

For more information contact wildlife biologist Phil Nyland at (970) 404-3158.

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