UPDATE! Help Save Trails in Western Colorado

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June 17, 2013 9:58 AM


Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber in Western Colorado,

This morning we received an important update from Jeff Bates, President of the Grand Mesa Jeep Club, about a really fun way to oppose the closure of over 62% of the roads and trails in the BLM's Grand Junction Field Office.

Jeff is working with local reps from the Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition and other local OHV groups on a Public Lands Pizza Party. Jeff says the idea is to make fighting for trails fun – and fattening!

The event is scheduled for Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 at the community building at the Mesa County Fairgrounds from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Jeff has a Press Release out on the event. We've pasted the Release and his email below.

If you live anywhere near Grand Junction, please make plans to attend. I can personally attest to the fact that you will NEVER have so much fun protecting your access to public lands than attending Jeff's Land Use Pizza Party. PLEASE forward this message to friends and family in Western Colorado.

See you there! (I'll be the guy stuffing his face with pizza!!)

Brian Hawthorne
Public Lands Policy Director
BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext 102

PS: Can't attend but want to help? Stay tuned! BRC, COHVCO and others will be blasting email action alerts soon.

From Jeff Bates, President of the Grand Mesa Jeep Club (GMJC)

Hi Folks,   I need your help.  Please pass this information along.  The Grand Mesa Jeep Club has rented the community Building at the Mesa County Fairgrounds, to give the public one more chance to comment on the RMP.  Brian Hawthorne from Blue Ribbon will help me put this event on, and I would like your help as well.    We will have all the maps, and some great experts on commenting, and even free pizza, but what we need is numbers.   So we have to get the word out.  It would be nice to get an additional 500 comments.  We have to let the people know to bring someone with them to this event.  We have the building from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Tuesday June 18th.  
Below is a Press release,  or write what you want.   But please, put this on your Facebook, and blast it by your e-mails.  We might get the one comment that makes a difference.  Or maybe lots of them.    If I am missing something please let me know.  Feel free to forward this information to anyone I have left out.  
Thank you,  
Jeff Bates
President, Grand Mesa Jeep Club. 
More than a dozen  Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) groups in Western Colorado are hosting a “Public Lands Pizza Party” in all-out effort to convince the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) not to proceed with their plans to close over 60% of the roads and trails near Grand Junction, Colorado. The goal of the meeting is to provide details on the thousands of miles of proposed closures and to assist recreationists to write comment letters.

“Motorized trail users support BLM's plan to more actively manage recreational use and we've  contributed thousands of hours, and financial support to help them,” Jeff Bates, President of the Grand Mesa Jeep Club said. “But we do not support this wholesale closure plan.”   Bates made the point that BLM's public comment process is almost impossible to understand. He said the  BLM's new plan will affect anyone who enjoys recreation on BLM lands.  The majority of the public  is in for shocking surprise. “The average recreationist has no idea of what the BLM has in store for them. Our plan is to inform and educate in the effort to convince the BLM to reconsider their plans.”

The event is planned for June 18th, 2013 from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Community building at the Mesa County Fairgrounds. Representatives from OHV organizations will be on hand to assist members of the public understand and comment on the BLM's plans. Bates said; “The sad fact is the general public simply can't wade through the three thousand pages of complicated bureaucratic planning documents. Even BLM's maps are hard to understand. So we asked professionals from several national recreation advocacy groups to help the average recreational visitor participate.”

Bates  said the BLM's proposal is the latest in several rounds of road and trail closures in western and central Colorado.  Bates made the point that over the last decade thousands of miles of roads and trails have already been closed. “We believe a critical mass has been reached. The recreating public does not support additional closures.”  It is frustrating to see that federal land managers seem to believe the only solution to problems is closure. Bates said,  “Our groups have contributed thousands of hours and millions of dollars to build bridges, re-route trails and even fund law enforcement. There are better solutions than closure.”

Bates  stressed the importance of the general public becoming more involved. “Public lands should be open to the public. BLM's proposal will close some of the most spectacular scenic backcountry to anyone not healthy and hardy enough to hike long distances.” Our meeting will help the average citizen make their opinion known to the BLM.

Several local Off Highway Vehicle groups are participating, including, The Grand Mesa Jeep Club, the Motorcycle Trail Riders Association, Western Slope ATV association, the Thunder Mountain Wheelers, Colorado Canyon Crawlers, the OutKast Offroad Club,  Bookcliff Cruisers, and many more.  The state and national groups involved include the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition, the American Motorcyclists Association, United Four Wheel Drive Associations. 

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