Letter: Comments needed for the proposed west side OHV trail system

Dear Editor:
I would like to take a moment to inform the residents of Rio Blanco County about a project Rio Blanco County is working on to promote motorized recreation, specifically ATV and Side by Side usage around Rangely. If you are interested in seeing motorized recreation play a larger role in Rio Blanco County tourism, I would suggest you take a few moments to submit comments to the BLM White River Field Office on the proposed Wagon Wheel West OHV Trails proposal.
Rio Blanco County and other community partners are diligently working to develop new tourism products, and one primary focus is on Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) trail development. Rio Blanco County is requesting a decision from the BLM to allow local promoters to market, sign and promote OHV trails in the Rangely area. Once accomplished, this trail system will be the largest OHV trail system in Colorado (when partnered with the trail system in Meeker).
Rio Blanco County is working to diversify its economic base, and Off Highway Vehicle tourism is an opportunity for positive economic impact to the communities within the BLM White River Field Office. Even though this proposal is for an Off Highway Vehicle trail designation, mixed use of public lands is of utmost importance to Northwest Colorado, and this proposed trail project will help in ensuring the general public are aware of the mixed uses available. A comprehensive process has been undertaken and funded by Rio Blanco County to produce a responsible, community approved trail development proposal for the BLM’s consideration. Conducting the route-by-route designations for the proposed routes concurrently with a single NEPA analysis will streamline this process and allow Northwest Colorado communities to realize the economic benefit much sooner, and with much less expense to local governments.
All proposed routes are on existing roadways in Rio Blanco County, allowing outdoor recreation to continue on these routes if approved by the BLM. Routes can be used by all outdoor enthusiasts, including but not limited to: sportsmen, motorized recreation, hikers, bicyclists and other “quiet recreation,” equestrian users, and more.
If you have specific questions on the proposal, please contact me by email at katelin.cook@rbc.us or by phone at 970-878-9474. The Public Scoping document, outlining the proposal background, purpose, and decision to be made can be found online at: eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/nepa/87477/116512/142189/doiblmcoN0520170087ea_Scoping.pdf.
Comments may be sent by email to blm_co_wrfo_tmp@blm.gov, or by mail to BLM, White River Field Office, 220 East Market St., Meeker, CO 81641 and will be most helpful if received by Sept. 11, 2017.
Thank you for your help and consideration!
Katelin Cook,
RBC Economic Development Coordinator