The Forest Service has rejected all appeals of the Boggy-Glade Travel Management Plan and expects to implement its provisions this spring.
According to a press release from the Durango Interagency Dispatch Center, 25 appeals of the plan were initially sent to the Dolores Public Lands Office, but eight were dismissed because they failed to meet the agency’s criteria for a review, and another was withdrawn by the appellant. All of the remaining 16 were analyzed by a regional Forest Service appeal-review team, which made recommendations to San Juan National Forest Supervisor Mark Stiles, the appeal deciding officer.
Stiles upheld the project decision, allowing for the travel-management plan to move forward.
Most of the appeals were based on the contention that the plan did not provide enough motorized access or that some roads it proposed closing should not be closed. However, at least one appeal came in opposition to a provision of the plan that allows hunters to use ATVs to retrieve game during hunting season, even when it requires going off-trail and cross-country.
Appellants included the Montezuma and Dolores County commissioners, groups representing motorized recreational interests, a local representative of a national hunter and angler group, and various individuals. Stiles’ determination on the appeals upholds the decision signed by Dolores District Ranger Derek Padilla on Dec. 5, 2012. In upholding the decision, Stiles found that laws, regulations and policies were followed appropriately, according to the press release.
This was the second travel-management plan for the Boggy-Glade area. The first plan was reversed on appeal in November 2010 after a group complained that it allowed for a higher road density than the overall San Juan National Forest was supposed to contain. However, other groups complained vociferously about road closures proposed under the plan.
Dolores District staff did more public outreach and developed a new alternative, which is the plan that has been upheld. The new plan ends cross-country motorized travel except during hunting season – a concession that had been sought by the county commissioners of both Montezuma and Dolores counties.
Stiles’ determination represents the final step in the planning process, unless one of the appellants seeks to take the matter to court.
The Dolores District will begin implementation of the project this spring, focusing on putting up signs along the designated road system and doing public education regarding the new rules for motorized use in the Boggy-Glade area. Minimal route rehabilitation and decommissioning activities are expected this year.
The Boggy-Glade Travel Management Project Decision and Environmental Assessment are posted at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/sanjuan/projects.