Forest Service soliciting public input | SteamboatToday.com

Forest Service soliciting public input







— In an effort to spend taxpayer dollars wisely, the U.S. Forest Service is seeking public input on existing recreation facilities.

Hahn’s Peak/Bears Ears District Ranger Chad Stewart said the input will allow them to set their priorities for future years.

“I guess we’re looking for what is most important (to people),” Stewart said.

The recreation site analysis is routinely undertaken by the Forest Service. Areas that have been deemed priorities in recent years include Dumont Lake, Buffalo Pass and the Hahn’s Peak Lake area.

The survey is being conducted throughout the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunderhead Basin National Grassland, which contain 221 developed recreation sites. Those sites include boat docks, campgrounds, interpretive sites, picnic areas, trailheads and visitor centers.

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According to the Forest Service, the survey will not reduce access to recreation areas, but there will be changes in the way the areas are managed.

Stewart said he is pushing to expand recreational opportunities on public lands.

Stewart is specifically looking at ways to re-open the Ferndale picnic and parking area on Rabbit Ears Pass. There are good hiking and mountain biking opportunities in the area.

Projects this summer include the installation of a pavilion at Dumont Lake on Rabbit Ears Pass. Stewart said that project is being built with $20,000 from a private donor.

To contribute input on how future dollars are spent at recreational sites, people can visit fs.usda.gov/goto/MBRTB/RSA. The Steamboat Springs Forest Service office can be reached by phone at 970-870-2299. Comments are most useful if received by April 29.

According to the Forest Service, useful input could include the following.

• What services are important at developed recreational sites (signage, parking, water, trash, restrooms, picnic tables, Forest Service staff presence)?

• Would you be willing to pay more for services at developed recreation sites?

• What specific sites are important to you and why?

• Do you prefer a primitive or maintained recreation experience?

• How do you feel about management of Forest Service sites by private, for-profit entities?

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland