May 28. 2009
Gunnison Basin Travel Management DEIS
2250 Hwy 50
Delta, Co 81416
Dear Gunnison Basin Travel Management Team:
On May 18th the Town of Crested Butte hosted a one hour work session and invited trail user groups to give presentations regarding the Draft Gunnison Basin Federal Lands Travel Management plan. Presenters included the Gunnison County Trails Commission, the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association, the Elk Mountain Hikers Club and the High Country Citizens Alliance. A representative of motorized single track users was contacted, but had been out of town and did not attend.
Some of the presenters supported Alternative Three with some revisions, and some supported Alternative Four with some revisions. The purpose of this letter is to present comments from the Town of Crested Butte regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Draft Gunnison Basin Federal Lands Travel Management plan.
Underlying all the comments from the Town of Crested Butte are the following principles:
1. The Gunnison National Forest, along with all other governments and agencies of governments, should be taking demonstrable steps to reduce carbon dioxide whenever possible. Therefore, the Town supports the alternatives with the fewest miles of motorized trails and roads and supports muscle powered trail use.
2. To the maximum extent possible, trails should be accessible directly from growth centers such as municipalities and CB South. In support of this principal, the Town contributed to the acquisition of the Lower Loop ten years ago, which accesses the Raggeds Wilderness Area at Oh-be-joyful Creek. Nine years ago the Town worked with a developer to create a trail access, direct from town, to the Upper Loop, now known as Tony’s Trail. The Town is currently working to create access from the Town to Baxter Gulch and the Forest Service lands in the Whetstone/Carbon Peak area. We encourage the Forest Service to work with us to create more trails on Forest Service lands that can be accessed directly from town, without getting into an automobile to go to a trail head.
3. The ability to further the potential wilderness area in the vicinity of Whetstone Mountain and Carbon Peak should be preserved.
4. Our comments are limited to the vicinity of Crested Butte.
5. Surveys in the Town of Crested Butte always result in high rankings for trails.
The Town of Crested Butte supports Alternative Three with the following revisions.
1. The following trail should be open to cyclists:
a. Old Waterfall Creek trail on Travel Management Plan (TMP) map listed as #UT-7073 and #UT-7164, (This trail crosses a very wet area, and we ask that the Forest Service consider re-aligning the trail to keep it out of the wet area.)
b. Eccher Gulch Trail #559/558,
c. Green Lake Trail #566,
d. Farris Creek Trail #409, and we also ask that the Forest Service consider re-aligning the trail to keep it out of wet areas,
e. Old Trail #402 now UT-7736-1B,
f. Strand Bonus Trail #407
g. Teocalli Ridge Trail #557
h. Caves Loop, Trail #409
i. Reno Flag/Bear Trail, the section connecting #422 with #415.
2. Future new trails should only be built after a thoughtful process which considers the wildlife and other environmental impacts of proposed trails. Trails suggested by CMBA, which the Town agrees should be considered, include the following:
a. Lower Loop extension. This trail is located on the east side of Schuykill ridge from Gunsight Bridge to Pittsburg. As more and more people drive on the Slate River Road, this trail will become a safer route for cyclists and hikers.
b. Snodgrass #403. A single track trail from the Washington Gulch side of Snodgrass to #403 would separate automobiles from cyclists and be safer as automobile volumes increase.
c. Snodgrass Ridge Trail. This trail is shown on Alternative Four and would be a trail higher up on Snodgrass making it possible to make a loop out of this trail.
d. Snodgrass to Gothic. The traffic on the Gothic Road can be intense and the road is dusty. It would be safer to have a separate trail on the west side of the Gothic Road. Such a trail would also create a short loop for people riding from Mt. Crested Butte to Gothic and back on the road, when the road is not busy.
e. Ditch Road Trail. This trail would connect existing and proposed trails in the Town of Mt. Crested Butte with the trailhead on Brush Creek Road. We are aware that the existing trail near the trailhead has created some issues for Michele Veltri’s ranching operation, specifically crossings of the irrigation ditch, and we ask that prior to creating such a trail around Crested Butte mountain, the issues affecting Mr. Veltri be resolved, first.
f. Strand Ridge Trail. This trail would allow riders to go from Strand to Farris easily for another loop.
g. The Crested Butte to Gunnison Trail. We support a trail connecting Crested Butte and Gunnison if an alignment can be found that does not affect the potential federal wilderness area in the Whetstone/Carbon Peak area.
3. Last, we generally agree with the Elk Mountain Hikers Club comments concerning dispersed camping. We recommend that designated camping areas be established by the Forest Service at specific sites within 300 feet of motorized roads, including high clearance and jeep routes. Access to these designated sites should also be by designated Forest Service routes, not users created routes.
We appreciate the opportunity to comment on the Draft EIS. If you have any questions please contact me or our Town Planner, John Hess at the above address and telephone number.