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San Juan National Forest proposes recreation improvements

The Boggy Draw area is a popular recreation area of the San Juan National Forest. (Courtesy photo)
Bathrooms and parking lots would be added for trails near Dolores and Mancos; OHV trails would be widened

New parking lots, bathrooms and trail improvements are proposed for the Dolores Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest.

The improvements are to accommodate increased use on trails in the Dolores and Mancos areas, said recreation planner Tom Rice.

Forest officials are seeking public input on an environmental assessment of the plan, called the Dolores Recreation Access and Infrastructure Improvement Project. The 30-day comment period ends Dec. 30.

View the plan and maps and electronic comment form at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=62582.

The upgrades and changes would occur at the Boggy Draw trail system, Transfer Campground horse corral, and Forest Service Road 385 accessing Chicken Creek.

The Boggy Draw main trailhead parking lot at the end of Road W would be expanded to accommodate more horse trailers, Rice said. A vault toilet would be installed at the trailhead.

Two new parking lots are planned along the Dolores-Norwood Road, Forest Road 526.

One would be on the east side of the Dolores-Norwood Road where the Bean Canyon trail crosses north of Bean Canyon. The new parking lot improves access to the popular String Bean trail loop.

Another parking lot would be at the intersection of the House Creek Road and the Dolores Norwood Road.

Both new parking areas are needed to better manage recreational users, Rice said.

“A lot of people are already parking at House Creek to ride the road (to McPhee Reservoir) and because of the newer trails in that area,” he said.

Also at Boggy Draw, 4.6 miles of single-track, nonmotorized trails would be rerouted away from logging routes and activity.

The proposed changes are in response to public comments regarding the recreational impacts from commercial logging planned for the Boggy Draw area as part of the Salter Vegetation Management Project.

Logging in the Boggy Draw area is not expected to take place for several years. Sections of the Boggy Draw, Shush, and Tava trails would be permanently adjusted away from logging activity before work begins.

A new forest plan would put new parking lots accessing the String Bean Trail and House Creek area.
A new forest plan would put new parking lots accessing the String Bean Trail and House Creek area.
A new parking lot would be installed off Forest Road 385 for improved access to Chicken Creek trail system.

About 2.8 miles of existing single-track trail on timber transportation routes would be decommissioned and replaced with the proposed reroutes.

Reroutes would also be constructed to connect the existing trail system to the proposed parking lots. In total, about 4.6 miles of single-track trail would be constructed, according to the proposal.

The plan also calls for a new single-track trail that would connect an existing trail from the town of Dolores to the Boggy Draw System.

A connector trail would be built from the Forest Boundary at Butler Corner to the Bean Canyon Trail.

It would tie in with the new Dolores Trail coming up from 14th Street, which extends to Road W, and will eventually be built to Butler Corner along the County Road 31 right of way.

The proposed new forest connector trail would allow hikers and cyclists to access the Boggy Draw trail system from Dolores entirely on trails.

Motorized access at Boggy Draw also would see improvements under the plan. Eleven miles of OHV trails will be widened to 62 inches from 52 inches to accommodate the larger side-by-side OHVs.

In the Mancos area, a new bathroom will be installed at the Transfer Park horse corrals, which have seen increased use by equestrian trail riders. A new parking area would be installed for the Chicken Creek area off Forest Road 385.

If approved, the trail system improvements would be phased in over several years, Rice said.

Comments should be within the scope of the proposed action and include supporting reasons.

Submit comments to Dolores District Ranger Derek Padilla. The preferred way to comment is via the electronic comment form on the project webpage.

Comments can also be submitted via mail to 29211 Highway 184, Dolores, CO 81323; by telephone, 970-882-6834; fax, 970-882-0175; or by email: derek.padilla@usda.gov

Please include “Comments on Dolores Recreation Access and Infrastructure Improvement Project” in the subject line of your email.