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Colorado Closure

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Please help. Some of the residents up in the area of Bailey have grouped together and are trying to shutdown the forest to all dirt bike, atv and any and all off road vehicles.

There is a scheduled Forest Service meeting for this Tuesday May 14,2002.

As it stands now (Harris Park had a community meeting Saturday- and the odds were 10 to 1 in favor of a closure.) The forest service is under the

impression- there aren't people out here wanting to keep it open. This isn't true- I believe the people who'd be against the closure just don't know this is going on.

The forest service are considering closures not only in Harris park but also in Slaughter house and in areas around Woodland park.

For those of you with email- mailing lists could you please notify your members of this.

To help we need you send an email to the US Forest service:

rhickenbottom@fs.fed.us All you need to say in your email is:

Subject: Harris Park and Slaughterhouse Forest

Body: We do not want the forest shutdown and feel there are other

means of controlling the illegal riding and illegal fires.

The more people we can get to send emails to the forest service the

better chance we have to prevent the forest being shutdown. We all

pay taxes and we all have the right to use the forest, so if you can

help it would be much appreciated!!

One more thing, if you can forward this email onto others you know

that like to dirt bike, atv or go off roading please do so.

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It took five minutes for me to write a letter, if that. I hope others will do the same. :)

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Sent my email. I hope it helps. Where is Bailey? Is it near the Springs? If so, what else can I do to help. Also, is it good riding? I have never been there.


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Just sent my email. I also copied about 20 other people I ride with locally here in the Springs. Hopefully I can get them to respond.


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I just sent an e-mail. Hopefully it will help. Maybe someday people will realize that most of us are responsible and courteous riders. It seems that many people think we are out to destroy nature. Why would we do that? In my opinion we try harder than most groups to preserve nature so we can continue to enjoy it whether on a motorcycle, bicycle, horseback, or hiking. I guess I'm somewhat vented now, but for crying out loud, any time anybody is restricted from enjoying our open lands especially when there are already established trails, it pisses me off!!

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Done. Man, that is hitting close to home. I'm afraid that they are going to do the same to Rampart soon. There are many homes being built in that area and I doubt that as more people move in, they will be willing to put up with the noise. I feel if you are going to build no close to a national forest area that you know is very popular with the OHV entusiasts, you should not have the right to close it down. Especially if it has been there for decades before you.

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We have similar problems here in NSW, Australia.

One tactic the State Government uses is to declare a State Forest area a National Park, the tracks are then locked with gates, and then some of the area becomes wilderness (it doesn't matter if it has been logged, or recreationally used for 100 years !).

Fortunately we have "The Outdoor Recreation Party" with a member in the Upper House of State Government to review government policy. This party is an umbrella group to represent Four Wheel Drivers, Shooters, Fishers, Trail Bike (dual sport) Riders, Gold and Gem Fossickers, Mountain Bikers etc.

You will need to become political to fight land closures and you will need to form a coalition with other land users to get the required numbers to make a difference.

Good luck. Kimball

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It sounds like things are a little in the air on this one. People attempting closing public land should learn something; there will be an opposition. I can understand a temporary closure due to fire dangers. Reading the following statement from the FS a few things stood out to me. Illegal trails and the resulting damage from their use. As a body we must be self policing. Always stay on designated trails. Every time somebody screws up an area it is another point to be made for the advocates of closures. My family always leaves an area with garbage left behind by others so we, and our kind, project a positive image.

Last weekend the boys and I rode Slaughter House Gulch. I came around a turn and saw 2 ladies on horseback. I immediately shut the bike down and had the boys follow suit and got off of the trail. As the ladies passed us the one had problems getting the horse to walk by the bikes. Seems that people do not normally do this courtesy for them. She stated, “The horse is not used to the bikes sitting still because they are normally flying by with no regard”. I apologized for this and feel that my little bit of politeness left a positive impression on her that will hopefully stick. I was actually surprised that most others do not practice proper trail etticate. Most all of the people I meet in this sport are very nice people.

Sorry for the preaching but with the recent threats of trail closures I feel we are all threatened. I am going to get much more proactive in my sport. On the 19th we are going out to Rampart to work on one of the several work parties they will have this year. I am going to contact the FS and see if they need help with the Slaughter House Gulch work. I am going to join the Blue Ribbon Coalition to become further involved, thanks oldasdirt. The time I feel has come for us to get our #%&* together. Unless we do it is a matter of time before we are on peddle power, in other words a mountain bike.

A good example is gun control, like it or not. If the gun owners had not been organized there would not be any guns legal at this time IMHO. I will bet there are many less motorcycle owners than gun owners. To make it worse I would also be willing to bet there are a lot less organized members of motorcyclist than gun owners, a small voice in the wilderness. To make it even worse yet we are segregated by Street & Dirt.

I made the mistake of ignoring the CA closure posts on this forum. Any closure, unless for legitimate reasons, effects us all. It sets up a guideline for future cases. How can they close one area for this reason and not close the next area for the same reason.

The following was received from Corey of the Rampart Range Committee in reference to the Slaughter House Gulch closure. Thanks to all who offered support.

Here is the response received from the FS.

With our current drought conditions, I would expect that the FS will try to lock up the forest. -Corey

=================== Begin Forwarded Message ===================

To: "Randy Hickenbottom/R2/USDAFS" <rhickenbottom@fs.fed.us>

Subject: Re: Harris Park and Slaughterhouse Forest

Is there a study being done to shutdown these areas for OHV use?

>I have received several notes regarding this subject and I'm unsure

>of the status. If it is being evaluated then please provide the

>scoping documents

On Mon, 13 May 2002 11:21:12 -0600, Randy Hickenbottom/R2/USDAFS wrote:


>Not really. There was a Harris Park homeowners association meeting on

>Saturday, with many diverse interests represented, that I was invited to

>attend. I had the opportunity to hear concerns from many residents. I

>expressed willingness to consider proposals from interested parties. Some

>proposals involved complete closure, some partial, some short term fire

>closure, some wanted no closure.


>My boss (Forest Supervisor) has considered some types of emergency fire

>closure associated with the severe fire conditions we've been having and

>she and I will be discussing this tomorrow. There is currently a Stage I

>fire closure in effect. A Stage II fire closure will probably go into

>effect tomorrow. Depending on worsening conditions, other increased fire

>closures are possible in the future.


>At the meeting I indicated that we will probably begin a planning process,

>for Slaughterhouse and Harris Park areas, within a year. This effort would

>be focused on addressing fire/fuel conditions in the area, as well as the

>proliferation of shooting, illegal roads and trails, and watershed damage.

>This would be an open public NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act)

>process and could take a year to complete.


>Last year we completed NEPA planning for some relatively minor repairs of

>watershed damage (illegal roads/trails/mudholes) within the Slaughterhouse/

>Harris Park areas. This work is focused on reclosing or repairing some of

>the illegal roads/trails that have been created in the past two years.

>This was published in both the Douglas County New-Press (our newspaper of

>record for planned actions) and the High Timber Times. This work is

>scheduled for this summer.


>That's all the work I'm aware of that might fit the context of your

>question. If you wish to see copies of the original scoping documents and

>public notice for the work scheduled for this summer--let me know.


>I hope this helps!



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This the letter I wrote and the response I received. I do not live in the area, can some one help?

As an avid off road vehicle recreationalist I implore you to keep

access open to Harris Park and Slaughterhouse forest. It is important

for the public to have access to these areas, surely there must be a

better way of handling this. This is akin to throwing out the baby with

the bath water. I hope you can find an equitable solution that keeps

access for all to OUR PUBLIC land. Thanks in advance for your


Mitch Riggin...

I notice that you do not enclose your address or phone number. Do you live

in this area? Were you in attendance at the homeowners association meeting

in Harris Park? Have you ridden OHVs in Harris Park or Slaughterhouse

Gulch areas? Finally, do you realize that there are almost NO legal trails

within these areas? There are extensive areas that are heavily damaged by

illegal and inappropriate riding. There are illegal OHV trails created

everywhere!! There are illegal RAVEs and teenage drinking parties held at

all hours of the night. There are informal and unsafe shooting (dozens of

trees shot down, shooting in the direction of homes, etc). These areas

have significant problems!

This is not a vote. I am interested in solutions and the suggestions from

folks willing to help develop mutually satisfactory answers to these

problems, but expressions of preference won't help me address these

problems. I suggest the best course is that you get involved with the OHV

folks or Homeowners folks in suggesting solutions.

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I ride in the area and live 5 miles from it. I ride on marked trails. The trails, legal or not, are marked very poorly. The letter sounded as if the entire forest is tore up, it is not. It is not a big area with a trailhead that leads to a left or right which is an 10 mile or so loop. I know of one shooting area, brass and shells at the top of this area. Trees are down and cleared in this area and it would be a safe asumption to a shooter that this is where you shoot. If kids are doing illegal things here then the Park County Sheriff should handle it. Why should law abiding citizens pay the price for this. If the area where the shooting is taking place has been surveyed and deemed unsafe then put up a NO FIREARM sign and close it. I am really starting to think that the area has been mis-managed by the FS and we have to pay for it. Somebody would have to show me the ,"extensive damage", cause I have not seen it! You got a better response than I did and I live here. The following is what I was written and my response.



Thank you for the response. It is hard to be usefull in finding solutions to problems if a person does not know they exist. I also have a concern for this area since I live in Bailey. I heard about this issue from a guy I know involved in Rampart Range. If there is indeed a concern over illegal fires I do knot understand how OHV people could be singled out. Horsemen, backpackers, mountain bikers, etc all have fires, a small percentage I am sure illegal. We all have our fringe element that will have little concern for, and ruin it for others. I noticed shotgun shells and brass all over one area in Slaughter House, stupid.

I believe that all organized OHV people are trying to educate others in proper trail etticate. I hope this kind of an issue will no longer be a problem before long. Peer pressure will hopefully prevail over the hard cases and education to the others.

I would like to take this time offer my labor and others if I can round them up, which I am sure of that I can. I would be more than happy to help the FS straighten this area up. This is a public land and I would like it to remain open to the public and I am willing to contribute to this effort.

If the concern of these people is illegal fires, I do not see this as a justification for a long term closure. The High Meadow and Snaking Fires were man made by kids smoking cigarettes, fact. This area has been there for many years probably long before most of these people have lived there with no major fire, fact. All people who visit the woods, for whatever recreational purpose, will have a fire, some illegal, fact. I live smack in the middle of the High Meadow and the Snaking Fires, literally, and I want this area to remain open. I am slightly offended that others in this community were not notified of this move. I know many people who live here that frequent this area.

If the concern of these people is the illegal trails, this is a concern, for all of us. The signage in this area is poor. Trails are not marked and a guy cannot really tell if he is on a legal trail or not. I do not understand how this issue really effects the people directly who live in the Harris Park subdivision though.

I am sorry but this whole thing smells a little fishy to me. Please take me up on the offer of labor. There are several OHV orginazations who work with the FS to help in the effort to maintain safe and usable trail systems. I am sure it could also be done in this area.

Thank You,

Mike Engelkes

-----Original Message-----

From: Randy Hickenbottom/R2/USDAFS [mailto:rhickenbottom@fs.fed.us]

Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2002 10:12 AM


Subject: Re: Harris Park and Slaughterhouse Forest

For future reference, this is not a voting process. It is more useful to

discuss how to address the many problems occurring in this area of the

National Forest and the concerns of the local citizens.


ENGELKES" To: <rhickenbottom@fs.fed.us>

<Mtnarcher1@pr cc:

odigy.net> Subject: Harris Park and Slaughterhouse Forest


07:34 PM

We do not want the forest shutdown and feel there are other means


controlling the illegal riding and illegal fires.

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It seems to me that Randy is not very helpful. He is directly involved with the situation, is he not? He has replied, "this is not a vote" and "the best course is that you get involved with the OHV folks or Homeowners folks in suggesting solutions." Is he the Forest Service contact person regarding this issue? If he is, it doesn't seem like he is doing his job. Maybe he is, maybe he is just doing it really halfassed. If he is directly involved in the closure, then he should forward our concerns and suggestions to the associations or homeowners group that believe the area should be closed. If he says that he has no say in the closure and he is a Forest Service employee, he is probably full of BS and maybe we should contact his superior for support. Like you said Mike, this all seems kind of fishy.

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