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Derek Padilla, District Ranger
Dolores Ranger District
29211 Hwy 184
Dolores, CO 81323
Re: Rico West Dolores Roads and Trails Project
Dear District Ranger Padilla,
We strongly support the Forest Service’s revisions to identify the minimum road system for the Rico-West Dolores project area. Identifying a resilient future road system is one of the most important endeavors the Forest Service can undertake to restore water quality, reconnect wildlife habitat, facilitate adaptation to climate change, ensure reliable recreational access, and operate within budgetary constraints.
To achieve resiliency, however, the Forest Service should consider decommissioning more system roads to identify a smaller, financially sustainable future road system that fits within the agency’s limited budget and minimizes environmental damage. The revised environmental analysis should also consider a wider range of alternatives when it comes to road activities, including an alternative that decommissions more system roads.
We applaud the Forest Service’s efforts to protect the Rico-West Dolores landscape from destructive motorized use and excessive road miles. The seasonal restrictions on motorized use and removal of motorcycles from some trails in Alternative B will better balance the uses on the forest, provide stronger protections for wildlife, and will help restore water quality.
photo: Flickr Creative Commons, Larry Lamsa (San Juan National Forest)