County Beat: Commissioners draft letter to address ‘discrepancies’ in BLM proposed travel management plan

RBC | In response to “discrepancies” in the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) proposed travel management plan for the Wolf Creek reservoir project, the Rio Blanco County Board of County Commissioners have drafted a letter to BLM to address the issue.

BLM staff met with Commissioner Gary Moyer and other county staff on Thursday, May 16 to discuss the travel management plan for the proposed reservoir project area. The county and the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District were concerned that proposed non-motorized designations in the travel management plan would have limited the public’s ability to access the proposed reservoir. At the conclusion of that meeting, both parties were reportedly in agreement with the travel access allowances.

According to Alden Vanden Brink, Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District director, BLM had requested maps of the project area. After the May 16 meeting, BLM issued different maps that were more restrictive than what was agreed upon by both parties, again blocking motorized access to vital areas of the proposed reservoir project.

“We [Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District] find it rather frustrating,” Vanden Brink said.

Quentin Smith, representing the Rio Blanco County Fair Board, spoke with the commissioners about insurance needs for the Rio Blanco County Fair. According to Smith, the insurance policy provided by the Colorado State University Extension Office only covers enrolled 4-H members. Open class fair participants would need to sign a liability waiver before participating in the fair.

Vicky Edwards, assistant to County Attorney Todd Starr, said Starr recommended purchasing additional insurance, as the waiver is “just a piece of paper.” Smith said the estimated cost of insurance to cover all of the fair, including the Little Buckaroo Rodeo, was $3,000.

“Purchasing an insurance policy is the smartest thing to do,” said Commissioner Jeff Rector.

Smith will take the commissioners’ recommendation back to the fair board for discussion and then update the commissioners after the next meeting.

The 4-H sportfishing club, “Gone Fishing,” will hold a jackpot fishing derby on June 29. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. at Kenney Reservoir. Derby participants will be able to fish from Stedman Mesa to the Utah border and the derby will be a fundraiser for the 4-H club.

The commissioners acknowledged a letter to the Colorado Wildlife Commission opposing a citizens’ petition to prohibit the trapping of bobcats in Colorado and Commissioner Woodruff requested adding “recreational take” to the wording of the letter. The petition claims, among other things, that bobcat hunting and trapping is detrimental to the safety of endangered Canada lynxes, whose territory overlaps that of the bobcat, which is not endangered.

In regular business, the commissioners:

Approved Transport Risk Management, Inc. as the broker of record for insurance at the Meeker and Rangely airports.

Approved a $1,000 donation to the Rio Blanco Shooting Sports Council

Approved a donation to the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps for $1,000.

Approved filling the following open positions: a full-time economic development administrative assistant or specialist, a full-time Rangely road and bridge operator, and a temporary weed control assistant.

Approved a contract between the county and state departments of public health and environment for the 2019 Immunization Core Services Project, receiving additional Federal funding of $3,626 and state funding of $12,638 for a total grant amount of $37,512.

Approved a task order contract between the county and state departments of public health and environment receiving federal funding of $18,866 in 2020 for the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program.

Approved a contract amendment receiving additional federal funds of $6,477 and state funding of $39,870 for a total grant amount of $121,395 to “increase capacity for preparedness, response and recovery in Colorado” through “providing public health preparedness, improved response and recovery activities through planning.”

By ROXIE FROMANG | Special to the Herald Times