Summit County plans to close roads to snowmobile use
Summit County government plans to close a few roads to snowmobile use, and the public is invited to comment on the closures at a hearing Oct. 27.
The county would close Baldy Road and Boreas Pass Road and restate closures to Gold Run Gulch Road and Sallie Barber Road for winter motorized use, said Katherine King, senior resource specialist in the county’s Open Space and Trails division, when she outlined the regulation changes at the Board of County Commissioners Sept. 29 regular meeting.
Gold Run Gulch and Sallie Barber have been closed to snowmobile use since 2010, but the county will confirm those closures and add the other two roads to make management of the public lands in the area easier for all the government entities involved, she said.
Baldy and Boreas Pass cross national forest land, protected open-space land jointly managed by the county and the town of Breckenridge as well as some private land.
“This is way overdue for consistency,” County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said.
The White River National Forest travel management plan, approved in 2011 after about 10 years of public review and environmental analysis, closed the front side of Bald Mountain and the land surrounding Boreas Pass road to snowmobiles.
The plan defines the national forest’s roads and trails and specifies how the routes can and cannot be used during winter and summer with the goal of providing quality recreation experiences for the public while protecting natural resources. The plan has taken several years to implement.
After Sheriff John Minor spoke against the closures, County Commissioner Thomas Davidson said the county has worked extensively with the town of Breckenridge on master planning of the area and, specifically, where to allow snowmobiling based on public input.
Stiegelmeier later said snowmobile drivers have used Baldy and Boreas Pass to access public lands closed to motorized use.
Opposition to the closures, she said, seems more ideological than practical because snowmobile drivers don’t typically enjoy riding simply the out-and-back routes on those roads, which are heavily used by cross-country skiers.
For more information about recreational use of national forest lands in Summit County, contact the Dillon Ranger District at (970) 468-5400. To learn more about the White River National Forest’s travel management plan, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/whiteriver.
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