Routt Powder Riders seek support from county

Snowmobile club meets with board of commissioners

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— Members of the Routt Powder Riders snowmobile club met with the Routt County Board of Com­missioners on Tuesday, seeking assurances that the county would plow 1.5 miles of a U.S. Forest Service Road to ensure future access to a new parking lot.

“If they move the parking lot up the road without plowing from the county, we’re sunk,” Routt Powder Riders President Mary Sue Sorenson said.

The new parking lot isn’t a done deal, but the Forest Service has identified it as the preferred means of meeting increasing demand for winter recreation in North Routt.

The commissioners told the snowmobile enthusiasts that they had not been formally asked by the Forest Service to plow Forest Service Road 550 near the entrance to Big Red Park. How­ever, Commissioner Diane Mit­­sch Bush said after the meeting that it was the county’s intent to clear the stretch of road of snow if the Forest Service moves ahead with its tentative plan.

The Hahn’s Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest recently conducted an environmental assessment of several approaches to developing a new parking lot and related snowmobile trails that would relieve the congestion of a current snowmobile staging area close to the historic mining hamlet of Colum­­bine and private homes in the area. The agency has been working with neighbors and winter recreation enthusiasts in the area for years.

Winter trailheads in North Routt are limited to places where county roads touch the border of the National Forest. The most used parking area, known as the Quarry Lot, isn’t really a parking lot but an old gravel pit with a flat surface.

Now, the Forest Service has identified a preferred plan to move the parking area north to Nat­­ional Forest Service Road 550 near the entrance to Big Red Park. In addition, a new groomed section of snowmobile trail would be built to eliminate the practice of grooming along the county road right-of-way and to link Steamboat Lake to the new lot.

The Powder Rid­ers prefer building a new 3.5-acre parking lot south of Columbine on the west side of Routt County Road 129 at Trilbey Flats.

They said that plan would provide dual access to a large snowmobile playground in Calif­­ornia Park and riding farther north in Big Red Park via a new trail.

“We’re trying to figure out how to build a parking lot that serves everybody. It would be much less expensive to build a Trilbey Flats parking lot than for plowing” to a new lot in Big Red Park, Powder Riders board member Ed Calhoun said.

The reputation of Routt County as a top-10 snowmobile destination is growing, Calhoun told the commissioners.

In previous years, it was feasible to ride snowmobiles south from the Quarry Lot down C.R. 129 to get to Trilbey Flats (legal under county regulations), but since the road was paved a few years ago, it’s too hard on the snowmobiles, Powder Riders Vice President George Kostiuk said.

Last winter, Cal­­houn said, snow­­mobile rigs, as well as the cars of skiers and vans from guest ranches, were parked along the county road.

The Friends of the Routt Back­­country, a group that seeks to protect nonmotorized recreation areas in the National Forest, supports the new parking lot on F.S.R. 550 but strongly opposes the part of the plan that would build the new snowmobile route. That trail would cut across an informal backcountry ski route known as Columbine Mea­dows.

The group fears that snowmobilers would be tempted by the powder above and below the trail and track up the area where they carve Telemark turns.

The new trail “would put snowmobiles right in the middle of an historically nonmotorized area, destroying the quality recreation experience there for skiers, due to noise, poor air quality, safety concerns,” Friends spokeswoman Leslie Lovejoy wrote in a letter to the Forest Service. “The proposed alternative provides no protection for the higher areas on Hahn’s Peak and the lower meadows leading to the Quarry, thus inviting motorized users into these areas.”

Friends of the Routt Back­country also opposes the Trilbey Flats plan because the group said it would open up additional nonmotorized areas to snowmobiles.

A decision by the Forest Service is pending about whether to act on its preferred decision or the Trilbey Flats proposal. A third option contained in the environmental assessment is to do nothing.

Comments

Joyce Hartless 3 years, 5 months ago

The Friends of the Routt Backcountry are spreading delusions again. There are NO nonmotorized areas in the Columbine area of North Routt, not in Columbine Meadows, not in Trilby Flats. Any changes in this area will NOT "open up additional nonmotorized areas to snowmobiles" because all areas are OPEN to all users! And my National Geographic map spells Trilby, not Trilbey. Another delusion caused by the poor spelling of one individual who is extremely vocal.

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Joyce Hartless 3 years, 5 months ago

I would also like to correct an assumption regarding the Trilby Flats parking area. The Routt Powder Riders, to my knowledge, have never specified it would be placed on the west side of RCR 129. At the trail walk in July of 2009 when the District Ranger asked the VP of RPR where it would be placed, insightful commentary suggested the west side was very windy, possibly a wetland, and an eyesore. The RPR response that day on site was that further study would be needed to determine the best location for Trilby Flats parking. I personally envisioned the parking would be located on the east side of RCR 129 tucked up into the trees a bit to address all those relevant concerns.

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Joyce Hartless 3 years, 5 months ago

One last thing, the Forest Service proposed parking area is actually in Little Red Park, on NFSR 550, near its intersection with NFSR 413 and FST 1149.

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flower 3 years, 5 months ago

PM, your parking lot idea sounds perfect tucked up in the trees where your special eyes won't see it, but how many squirrels will you displace cutting down all of those trees? My point, everything effects something or someone, get over it its not all about you and your ideas.

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Gaylan Hellyer 3 years, 5 months ago

Flower- The forest service does not go around cutting trees for random parking lots, but with the beetle kill trees they are clearing out areas that could be used. And it is a proposed parking lot that would be useful to all area outdoor enthusiast. The Parking Lot was proposed by the FOREST SERVICE and all the people involved are trying to come up with a solution that would work for everyone. So it's not all our ideas and us. We are just involved with the planning process because we care. And if you care enough there is an environment impact statement.

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Gaylan Hellyer 3 years, 5 months ago

And as far as I know, the only NON-Motorized areas are on Rabbit Ears Pass, specific groomed ski trails and Wilderness Areas.

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Gaylan Hellyer 3 years, 5 months ago

And.... Housepoor, Nobody likes a handout. Routt Powder Riders were also at the meeting to get approval of facilities to be placed in the current parking area which would be a benefit of all groups of users. The "Port O Potty" would be paid for and maintained by the Routt Powder Riders snowmobile club out of Steamboat. For those of you that have an issue with what's going on, then join a club, go to meetings and get involved. Everything going on is PUBLIC RECORD.

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jeff roman 3 years, 5 months ago

does anybody realize that leslie lovejoy actually gets a paycheck from the non motorized proponemts to fight against motorized use.great alterior motive leslie

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bcpow 3 years, 5 months ago

I ski in the bc all the time. I do not use a sled but do not oppose them and will always take a ride. FBC do not represent my views and truthfully I am tired of their positions. If you are out skiing and a snowmobile ruins your experience you might want to find a therapist. You have much deeper issues. And by the way, the skiing on the mountain this morning was fantastic and I saw a half dozen groomers and multiple sleds.

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sledneck 3 years, 5 months ago

You are right Flower, Every action has consequences. And this ill-concieved plan will have some huge, smelly consequences.

Everything was fine in North Routt till a few malcontents pushed the issue. Now it's gonna get screwed up for the majority so that the minority can be god.

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mtroach 3 years, 5 months ago

I agree that the "Friends" group does not repersent the majority of the backcountry skiiers in Routt county, only an extreme element pushing a non-compromising goal of eliminating non-human powered use. I don't own a snowmoblie and never will but side more often than not with the level headed members of the Powder Riders.

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flower 3 years, 5 months ago

Red, sorry I wasn't saying there shouldn't be a parking lot, sounds very practical to me to have one. Especially a usable one. A parking lot hidden in the trees doesn't sound very practical if you are pulling a trailer in the winter. I don't snowmobile, but the very sight of someone elses recreation is not going to ruin my day. Build the parking lot where it is usable and everyone can have some fun!!!

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Clearsky 3 years, 5 months ago

" Hey what did you do today?" "I exercised my thumb and my sitting muscles driving a snowmobile all day!!!" "WOW!" "Yeah! I used up 30 gallons of 2 stroke oil mixed gasoline, ruined everyone else's nature experience, harassed wildlife, created miles of track.. Man it was fun to destroy nature. Everyone should do this. Thousands of snowmobiles everywhere." "What a great experience!"

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exduffer 3 years, 5 months ago

Clear- I hope you use only hand hewn skiis and poles (with flint) from naturally dead wood that has only fallen directly into your outstretched arms.

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boater1 3 years, 5 months ago

man clearsky you got issues. i don't sled but i have no problem with it. you obviuosly think everyone who does not do what you do is a crap. that is a narrowed-minded looser outlook on life. growup. sledding is big biz in these parts and brings in some real $ for this community. i'd rather see a good sized parking lot built for this group vrs a clusterf*** of vehicles park all over the place disturbing a much wider area.

speaking of burning gas will sitting on your butt and only using your hands...so you don't own a car and walk/bike everywhere??? i call BS and call you a hipocrit.

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Clearsky 3 years, 5 months ago

Yes! Outlaw polluting our environment! Our future is now!

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sledneck 3 years, 5 months ago

Gee Bigfoot (clearsky), boater1 pretty much nailed your *** to the wall!

Why don't you tell us where you recreate so we can all avoid that area bigfoot.

Oh, whats that? "Earth is where you recreate?" OK everybody, lets all get in our spaceship and leave so bigfoot can have the recreation experiance he expects.

I have been seeing your bs on these blogs for a long time. I have repeatedly asked you the same question boater1 asked (do you own a car that burns gas and emits pollution?). To my recollection you have never acknowledged your own carbon footprint. Remember? Thats why I started calling you bigfoot last year. Because I think you, a person who obviously sits around too much, secretly have a carbon footprint thats larger than many other, far more productive people.

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Leslie Lovejoy 3 years, 4 months ago

I can see that there is alot of misinformation floating around concerning this article. While there is no official winter non-motorized use area in North Routt, these areas were identified as far back as 1998 when the different user groups were brought together by the Forest Service to discuss these issues. Rabbit Ears Pass, Buffalo Pass and North Routt were the 3 areas initially identified. After years of meetings, field trips and official scoping periods the Forest Service finished a partial Winter Travel Management plan, for Rabbit Ears and Buffalo Pass, but due to lack of funds was forced to drop North Routt from the analysis. Friends of Routt Backcountry were asked to attend Stmbt. Lake Snowclub meetings to continue to look at areas in North Routt. In their efforts to create some semblance of travel management the SnowClub created a "Parking Plan" which shows some areas as being Non-motorized" parking as is exemplified in Trilby Flats. Trilby Flats has been a traditionally used skier area for years and shared with some hybrid users accessing other further away areas. 2 guest ranches have outfitter permits to take their client skiing here.The Routt Powder Riders have consistently been blocking our efforts to finalize this process or even have the mention of such a notion brought up.

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brian ferguson 3 years, 4 months ago

How about "friends IN the backcountry"....yea, when cows fly (non motorized cows of course)

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

And how is that Rabbit Ears/Buffalo Pass Winter Travel Management Plan working out for snowmobilers? Overcrowded parking lots, no improvements to sanitation! There hasn't been a parking lot or bathroom built on Rabbit Ears or Buff Pass for over 15 years; and the last one that got built, the Routt Powder Riders built it.Why should a snowmobile club want to cooperate with results like that? But do you care about that Ms Lovejoy? NO!

Columbine property owners' opinions were never sought for any of this. Especially those who you knew would oppose the plan.

Public Land should be OPEN to the PUBLIC! And commercial permit holders should remember they are profiting on Public Lands and show respect to the public accordingly.

You have made your personal vision of perfection into the enemy of the pretty darn good we all had. In a letter you wrote to the USFS you said " for over 8 years... we have enjoyed increasingly more excellent conditions..." YOUR OWN WORDS, Ms Lovejoy! Yet you kept pushing for complete control of the area for your personal benefit.

You are angry at the Routt Powder Riders because they finally had enough of your **** and put their foot down. I wonder how much longer it will be before most of your supporters realize that you and your cronies were largely responsible for getting a major snowmobile trail routed right through Columbine Meadows!

The seeds you have sown will soon fill your treasured meadows with weeds you can't possibly root out. Every backcountry skier in North Routt has you and a few other would-be Napoleons to thank.

Don't even TRY blaming the Routt Powder Riders. We wanted it left like it was... you know... "increasingly more excellent". It was YOUR actions that have ruined it, not ours, Ms Lovejoy.

BTW Ms Lovejoy, how do I get on the "Routt County Multi-Modal Road Use Advisory Board"? I heard you were on that. That would be a great way to get snowmobiles kicked off CR 129!

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flower 3 years, 4 months ago

Thankyou Lovejoy for that round about explanation...your last sentence made the most sense. Routt County Powder Riders where do I sign up?

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Esquared 3 years, 4 months ago

Clearsky- I'm going to assume by your cute "conversation," that you posted, that you have never riden a snowmobile. It is far from a thumb and butt exercise. It is actually the most physically challenging sport I've done and that includes skiing (croos country & downhill), snowshoeing, hiking 14ers, hunting, dancing, soccer, softball, and any other sports I've missed. Maybe you should try it! You might find a new found love for an exercise regamin that works!

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Gaylan Hellyer 3 years, 4 months ago

My goodness! It's snowing! Get out and enjoy it anyway you want. Just make sure you get there early to get a parking spot! Steamboat has plenty of outdoor activities and the space to enjoy them. It's why we live here and why so many others visit. I earn my turns and snowmobile. And when I am on my snowmobile we go out so far that it does not interfere with the skiers and snowshoer's. And I remember my bags when I shop, do you? Snowmobilers care.

And as with any sport/group, there are a few bad apples in every bunch.

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

Bigfoot owns a magic car that discharges no pollutiuon. He lives in a magic house, fed by a magic power plant with NO smoking chimeneys. His skis were produced in a ,magic factory with ferry dust. In his world all the energy he uses comes from non-polluting sources. The name of his world is "Fantasy-Land". With the right prescription the rest of us can live there too.

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