Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition
Protecting Your Motorized Access to Public Lands Since 1987
The Mad Rabbit MTB Trails Proposal in Steamboat area needs your opposition!!!
1. Alternative B closes the Rabbit Ears pass area to summer motorized while constructing 79 miles of mountain bike only trail- Alternative A only provides 7 miles of multiple use on the Pass. There needs to be a lot more balance in any discussions on the future of Rabbit Ears .
2. Steamboat basin area needs a real trail plan for all users – This type of landscape level planning is required by section 219.6 of the new USFS planning rule
a. USFS has already committed to developing a master plan for the basin but there has been no movement on this project. This type of planning is critical to avoiding future conflict and providing the public with understanding of how all interests will be benefitting from expanded trails;
b. Just because there is a wish list from one user group does not create a master plan for the Steamboat area and outreach was terrible around both the use tax and planning efforts from the bike community;
c. Much of Mad Rabbit expansion is based out of roadside parking lots that USFS has already committed to closing and rehabilitating due to safety concerns with their usage in recent NEPA efforts. How are these basic safety issues to be addressed with massive expansion of usage of these lots?
d. Increased bike usage in the Steamboat Area has negatively impacted many other activities in the Rabbit Ears/Buff Pass area including winter usage reviving conflicts long ago settled. Measures must be put in place to mitigate conflicts from any proposal and tolerance of other uses on USFS lands is not a strong point of the Mad Rabbit Proposal.
3. How will these routes be maintained?
a. Motorized users have committed more than $100,000 per year in priority funding to the maintenance of this area for decades and been told that was insufficient for new trail despite numerous requests;
b. Maintenance requirements must be applied consistently across all user groups;
c. Steamboat lodging taxes (which may only last 10 years) have provided ZERO funding to date for USFS maintenance but this tax has been the basis for explosive trail expansion for a small number of visitors. This simply makes no sense and sets the stage for significant failures of trail expansions in the long term;
d. A lack of maintenance funding for all existing trails has already been identified as a priority for the forest service, but has generated no funding from Steamboat lodging tax revenue;
e. The City of Steamboat has expanded municipal trails for mountain biking in their park system but has received no funding from lodging tax to support these routes. This is a very troubling message about maintenance in the long term and will create significant competition for any future maintenance funding that might become available;
f. City of Steamboat also has significant trail projects benefitting much larger portions of the community that again are not being funded such as the Fish Creek Trail Underpass in the center of Steamboat again increasing competition for any funding;
g. Buffalo Pass Area has already developed more than 70 miles of routes and sustaining more than 150 miles of new route will place a significant burden on any funding source and this simply must be meaningfully addressed.
4. Mitigation of user conflicts must be addressed in the Proposal;
a. This is an area where there was minimal user conflicts previously. User conflicts have already expanded with expanded mtb usages on Emerald Mountain and Buffalo Pass and this project continues a troubling direction of management of the Steamboat Area.
5. Roadless area issues– the motorized community has fought for years to allow trails in Roadless Areas in a dispersed/low intensity manner however:
- Mad Rabbit is anything but low intensity or dispersed as it adds 79 miles of trails to these areas; and
- Even if this proposal is moved forward the intensity of trail development will preclude any expansion of usage in the area in the future which is a major reason that all uses must be addressed in a comprehensive planning effort.
Hahn's Peak-Bears Ears Ranger District
Attn: Mad Rabbit Trails Project
925 Weiss Drive
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
Please add “Mad Rabbit Trails Project” in the subject line
February 12, 2018
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