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BLM seeks comment about enforcement rules across Southwest Colorado

Policy would give teeth to existing restrictions on land around Silverton, Durango and Cortez
The Bureau of Land Management has opened a 60-day comment period on a proposed rule that would allow enforcement of some recreational restrictions on public lands in Southwest Colorado. (Colorado Public Radio file)

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on a broad set of rules that would enable enforcement of existing restrictions on public lands managed by the Tres Rios and Gunnison field offices.

Individual plans managing the use of public lands, some dating as far back as 1990, have outlined the restrictions to recreation recommended for the protection of environmental and archaeological resources.

The plans in question – five in total – dictate use such as where mechanized travel may and may not occur, prohibit camping in certain locations and impose fire restrictions. Lands such as Animas City Mountain, the Dolores River Special Recreation Management Area and the Perins Peak Wildlife Management Area would all be impacted.

The rules the public is asked to review pertain strictly to enforcement of existing restrictions that have been in place since the relevant plans were approved through a public process.

The supplementary rules give teeth to existing policy, Tres Rios Field Staff Ranger Tyler Fouss said.

“It gives us the ability to enforce those rules and regulations that are found (in those) planning documents,” he said.

The 25-page public notice outlining the rules says most public land users will not notice meaningful changes, as many of the sections of the proposed supplementary rule have been long-held recommendations that will now become regulations.

Those recommendations can be found in five planning documents: the Dolores River Corridor Management Plan, Tres Rios Transportation and Access Plan – Travel Area 1, the Tres Rios Resource Management Plan, the Alpine Triangle Recreation Area Management Plan and the Silverton Travel Management Plan.

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument operates under a separate plan and will not be impacted.

The BLM is looking for comments that highlight rules that need to be clarified or might not make sense, rather than simple objection, Fouss said.

“If somebody doesn’t agree with a camping restriction next to a historic site, give us a reason why and some alternatives of what might be better,” he said.

The public comment period will be open for 60 days total and close April 29. After the agency reviews comments and issues a final rule, there will be a 30-day period before enforcement can begin.

Comments related to the Tres Rios Field Office should be directed to the BLM, Attn. Tyler Fouss, 29211 Highway 184, Dolores, CO 81323, or submitted electronically to tfouss@blm.gov. Comments related to the Gunnison Field Office should be directed to BLM, Attn. James Lovelace, 2500 E. New York Ave., Gunnison, CO 81230, or submitted electronically to jlovelac@blm.gov.

The proposed rules can be found at bit.ly/3SWmulV.


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