Boggy Draw to get facelift

The popular Boggy Draw area near Dolores will get a facelift, official recognition as a recreation site, and more publicity under plans proposed by the Dolores Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest.

The Forest Service is taking public comments on the proposal to designate approximately 30 miles of off-highway-vehicle trail and 40 miles of trail for non-motorized users, according to Penny Wu, outdoor recreation planner for the Mancos-Dolores District.

She said the plan has been in the works for several years. “Now we’re finally to the point where we’re prepared to go to the public.”

The Boggy Draw area lies roughly three miles northeast of Dolores off County Road W and extends several miles further northeast to House Creek.

A decision document prepared for the 1997 Colt Timber Sale in the area first identified the multiple-use recreation trails, Wu said. However, the trail systems don’t yet have official status with the agency, she said, which hampers funding and publicity.

“Because these trail systems are not formally recognized by the Forest Service, we have not been able to promote them in our publications or send the public there,” she said. “We have not been able to allocate Forest Service funding for signs, trail projects, trail relocations. This action will take care of that.”

Under the plan, there will be two trail systems, one open to OHVs and all users, the other for hikers, mountain-bikers and horseback riders. In winter, the former route could be used by snowmobiles and the latter would be marked for cross-country skiing.

Completing the first trail will involve about 1 1/2 miles of new construction to link some existing roads and two-track routes, Wu said. The Forest Service plans to have the Southwest Youth Corps do that work.

The non-motorized trail primarily needs interpretive signs and markers, plus a little work to make sure it meets standards for safe intersections and other factors, she said.

The existing parking lot about a half-mile from the intersection of Road W and Forest Service Road 526 would be expanded under the proposal, but it will have the same gravel surface, she said. Trailhead signs will be installed there.

“We feel the Boggy Draw area is an excellent area to provide both motorized and non-motorized recreational opportunities to the public,” Wu said. “The fact that the trail system is so accessible from Dolores and Cortez makes it really attractive.”

The Forest Service has been working with the Four Corners Trail Club and Kokopelli Bike Club to manage the trails, Wu said.

She said no user fees are contemplated for the area. “We feel fees aren’t necessary because we have a good working relationship with our trail partners. We work in concert with them on trail issues from signs to trail maintenance.”

Officials would eventually like to study the possibility of adding a multiple-use trail system extending from Dolores, starting at the Dolores fishermen’s access parking area to the House Creek campground. From there it would link up with the Boggy Draw system, Wu said.

The Forest Service is taking comments through Feb. 13 on the proposal.. Based upon the comments, officials will decide whether public meetings are needed to clear up any issues. Wu hopes a final decision can be reached by spring and the work can be done next summer. The final decision will be made by District Ranger Mike Znerold.

From January 2004.