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Open house planned on Turkey Springs Trail Management Plan

The public is invited to an open house on the development of a Trail Management Plan for the Turkey Springs area of the San Juan National Forest. The open house will be held Tuesday, Sept. 28, at the Ross Aragon Community Center.

Members of the public can drop by any time between 5 and 8 p.m. to visit with Forest Service representatives, view maps, and obtain information on the project and planning process.

The Forest Service is in the process of soliciting public comments on issues to be studied to assist in the development of the Turkey Springs Trail Management Plan and associated Environmental Assessment.  The proposal includes designations of trails open to summer motorized and non-motorized uses within a 60,000-acre analysis area of the San Juan National Forest northwest of Pagosa Springs.  

The project will address recreation opportunities and existing problems relating to the network of system and non-system trails in the Turkey Springs, Middle Mountain, Horse Mountain, and Devil Mountain areas, including underserved user groups, fragmented trail systems, proliferation of user-created routes, user-group conflicts, safety concerns, and unwanted impacts to forest resources. The purpose of this project is to establish a trail system that will enhance and improve recreation opportunities in the analysis area in a manner that is both socially and ecologically sustainable.  

Several changes are proposed to the existing road and trail system, including the designation of summer trails open to non-motorized uses only, trails open to motorcycles, and trails open to vehicles 50 inches or less in width.  In addition, the proposal includes the formalization of some non-system routes, changes to current trail designations, designation of open and closed roads to trails, and new construction.  

Public comments should be submitted in writing by no later than Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010. Comments can be mailed to: San Juan National Forest, Attn: Paul Blackman, P.O. Box 310 Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.  Public comments will be used to identify issues and develop alternatives.  

The draft environmental assessment is expected to be available by the spring of 2011, with a decision prior to the summer recreation season.  

For more information, contact Paul Blackman at 264-1505.