GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – After Mesa County leaders put up a fight, the BLM is agreeing to extend talks about the imminent closure of hundreds of miles of trails on public lands.
Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese spearheaded efforts to keep open about 393 miles of trails. On Tuesday, she sparked discussion between the BLM and the county and enlisted the backing of Governor Hickenlooper’s office.
On Friday, the Colorado BLM state director agreed to defer action on 207 miles of the trails in-question, but the agency will continue to move forward as planned with the proposed closure of more than 1,400 miles of trails. There are about 4,000 miles of trails in total in the Grand Junction area under review.
“The fact that they are able to find over 200 miles of road that we can still continue to talk about in a longer time frame is important for our constituents,” said Pugliese.
The Grand Junction BLM has been working on the Resource Management Plan for the Mesa County area for seven years, including thousands of hours of research and hundreds of hours of public comment.
“I think it’s unusual to make change to decisions or adjust decisions this late, but it’s something we’re trying to do to accommodate our partners and see what we can work out,” said BLM Northwest Colorado Director Joe Meyer.
Pugliese said she’s pleased with the governor’s willingness to step into the talks as well as the BLM’s willingness to make a last minute decision.
Mesa County officials will be holding a town hall meeting at the Old County Courthouse next Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. to hear more on how residents feel about the issue.