Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition
Protecting Your Motorized Access to Public Lands Since 1987
The Plunge Mountain Bike Trail in Grand Junction needs significant analysis to avoid negative impacts to multiple use
BLM Grand Junction is looking for input on the Plunge mountain bike trail outside Palisade. This is a 30 mile one way downhill mountain bike trail that is going to be hugely expensive to build (think millions) and maintain and will not be used by most recreational visitors to the area. The need for the route is questionable at best as several other routes exist to connect these trailheads.
Both short and long term funding for the project is a major concern. Basic funding for things like seasonal closures, gates, bathrooms, trash removal, basic maintenance and other overhead should be clearly identified to avoid land manager resources being directed away from multiple use projects in the area and to the Plunge maintenance. The Organizations are questioning why this project was prioritized over other development projects in the area and must assert that the construction money could be used far more effectively on other projects. Given the costs of the project the Organizations must question why alternative uses of this funding to benefit a larger recreational community has not been reviewed.
Our General Thoughts:
1. Both BLM and USFS national guidance prioritizes the need to determine how maintenance for any facility is going to be provided, and this is a major hurdle given the highly erodible soils in the area, steep angles and high speed nature of the Plunge trail. These types of basic issues are not addressed in the Plunge and simply must be as the Plunge is also remote and difficult to maintain.
2. The Plunge proposal would add a large number of miles without identified maintenance and the failure to address these long term costs has led to major conflicts with other trail projects in the area when management funds are not available. Volunteers simply cannot be relied on to perform maintenance of routes at the levels that are being developed in the Grand Valley, this can only be done with dedicated staff and funding.
3. The motorized community has provided 6 summer management crews and 4 winter trail maintenance crews in the Grand Valley for decades that work to provide basic access and facilities to all the recreating public. The idea these crews would continue to maintain access routes and facilities without support from other groups using these lands is troubling.
4. The ability to provide basic maintenance and other resources is a major challenge identified by both local managers and national guidance and all users should be held to a similar standard of partnership on this issue. The Plunge proposal does not do this.
5. The “rising tides floating all boats” position that has been a cornerstone of the motorized partnership with land managers becomes even more problematic when resources that could be provided to assist these maintenance operations is targeted for projects and routes that are not available to most of the public.
6. The existing crews partner with land managers to provide maintenance and if other projects fail to address maintenance, the agency money available to leverage the multiple use crews is put at risk and that is unacceptable.
We need your input to insure that agencies funds that help support current maintenance in the area is not lost due to a failure to plan for the Plunge.
BLM Grand Junction Field Office
Attn: Palisade Plunge Trail,
2815 H Rd,
Grand Junction, CO 81506
April 13, 2018
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