Routt County trails project could set bad precedent, wildlife advocates warn |

Routt County trails project could set bad precedent, wildlife advocates warn

Forest Service, supporters defend plan as striking right balance in area where recreation demands are growing

Judith Kohler
The Denver Post
A draft assessment of a proposed recreation trails project in the Routt National Forest is drawing objections from hunters and wildlife advocates. The Forest Service says the plan strikes a balance between growing demands for recreation and conserving natural resources.
Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

ROUTT COUNTY — A plan long in the works to respond to demands for more mountain-biking trails in the Steamboat Springs area is being criticized as not taking enough steps to protect one of Colorado’s largest elk herds.

The Routt National Forest released a draft environmental assessment and proposal for the Mad Rabbit trails project in October and will review the comments and feedback before issuing a  preliminary decision, possibly by April or May. People will then be able to file comments and objections before a final decision is released.

Forest Service officials said the proposal, in development for about five years, strikes a balance between providing new trails on forest land and protecting wildlife and other natural resources.

“We removed trails, moved trails out of undisturbed areas and really focused the trails into existing impacted areas,” said Brendan Kelly, the project’s manager and the Routt National Forest’s recreation specialist.

The draft plan reduced the proposed trails from approximately 79 miles to 52 miles.


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