BLM to hold discussion about Emerald Mountain rules |

BLM to hold discussion about Emerald Mountain rules

— A leash law is one of numerous rules that have gone into effect for land on Emerald Mountain overseen by the Bureau of Land Management.

That rule and others will be explained during a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs. Other items on the agenda include discussion of new trails, maintenance and user conflicts.

"I think it's really important that the public knows what is happening up there and what is allowed," said Gina Robison, outdoor recreation planner for the BLM's Little Snake Field Office.

The BLM took control of 4,139 acres of land on Emerald in 2007 through a land exchange and has worked with the community to develop new rules in addition to recreational opportunities. Since the BLM took over the property, three multi-purpose trails have been built on the backside of the mountain. The Ridge Trail and Rotary Trail are both about four miles long, while the Beall Trail is seven miles and offers a gradual climb from Cow Creek to the top of Emerald Mountain.

The BLM had estimated it would take between five and 10 years to build the desired amenities on the land.

"We're obviously way ahead of schedule," Robison said.

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The BLM land on Emerald Mountain is known as the Emerald Mountain Special Recreation Management Area. Rules for the land were approved in December 2008 after six public meetings and went into effect in October of this year.

Among the rules are a seasonal closure from Dec. 1 to June 30 to protect the elk population on the back side of Emerald.

Dogs also will have to be on a leash year-round in an effort to keep them from disturbing wildlife. The exception is working dogs, such as dogs that are used to protect herds of sheep.

"We felt this was the best way," Robison said.

The new rules also prohibit camping, open fires, glass containers and target shooting.

User conflicts and maintenance will be discussed next week. One issue in particular has been people using the trails when they are muddy.

"That's kind of the main concern," Robison said. "It just makes it harder for the people who maintain these trails."

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email

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