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Access Alert: Jones Park, Upper Bear Creek to be closed

Colorado 14ers access and fee issues only, please
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Re: Access Alert: Jones Park, Upper Bear Creek to be closed

Postby Jim Davies » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:40 am

Yes, it was a good session. Lots of people showed up, and lots of good discussions, hopefully demonstrating the amount of public interest. I'm going to make up an email with my comments. I'm hoping we can keep some (if not all) of the trails open.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Re: Access Alert: Jones Park, Upper Bear Creek to be closed

Postby Jim Davies » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:29 pm

Just a reminder that you can email comments until April 30th. There is a link you can use on this page:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/psicc/home/?cid=STELPRDB5397304
I feel it's important that we let the Forest Service and CSU know how valued access this area is, so even if you just say "I wanna hike there" that would be helpful.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Re: Access Alert: Jones Park, Upper Bear Creek to be closed

Postby Monte Meals » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:56 pm

Jim,

Thanks for keeping us updated on this issue.

At the hearing, I kept hearing that the Forest Service was under a court ruling to protect the
threatened, greenback cutthroat trout under the Endangered Species Act even though the greenback
is not a native (an exotic) species to Bear Creek.

The Endangered Species Act was *never* intended to protect non native species.

I kept asking why the Forest Service lost the ruling and the closest answer I got was
"Somebody screwed up."

Is this true? If so, was it somebody at the Forest Service or somebody at Fish and Game?

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Re: Access Alert: Jones Park, Upper Bear Creek to be closed

Postby Jim Davies » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:20 pm

The Forest Service settled the lawsuit last fall, but otherwise I don't know of any extra obligation that they're under. They agreed to close the Bear Creek trail to motorized use, and to do a study. From the CBD press release:
Under the terms of the agreement filed in federal court today in Denver, the Forest Service is required to prohibit off-road vehicles on nearly all of the five trails that run through the Bear Creek watershed. Before any part of those closed trails can be reopened, the Forest Service will have to consult, as required by the Endangered Species Act, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that trail use would not harm the threatened fish.

Nothing there about shutting out hikers or mountain bikes, or prohibiting off-trail hiking, or closing trails outside the Bear Creek watershed.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Re: Access Alert: Jones Park, Upper Bear Creek to be closed

Postby Jim Davies » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:05 am

Friends of the Peak (fotp.com) has posted their comments on the proposal.
http://www.fotp.com/9-news/topics-of-interest-20121218065158/bearcreekcomments
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Re: Access Alert: Jones Park, Upper Bear Creek to be closed

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:16 pm

God this thing is a mess.

And it's not about a fish. It's about humans, human bickering, attorneys, laws, policy, theory, and money.

Sure hope the fish survives this round.

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Re: Access Alert: Jones Park, Upper Bear Creek to be closed

Postby Jim Davies » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:39 am

The mess just got worse.
http://www.gazette.com/articles/trails-153929-dirt-service.html
Dirt bike riders plan to sue the U.S. Forest Service in an effort to compel the agency to ban all users from trails in the Bear Creek drainage area that were closed to vehicles last fall as part of a court settlement to protect an endangered fish.

Way to go, guys. This is not going to encourage cooperation with other user groups at all.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Re: Access Alert: Jones Park, Upper Bear Creek to be closed

Postby George Kaplan » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:13 am

Jim Davies wrote:The mess just got worse.
http://www.gazette.com/articles/trails-153929-dirt-service.html
Dirt bike riders plan to sue the U.S. Forest Service in an effort to compel the agency to ban all users from trails in the Bear Creek drainage area that were closed to vehicles last fall as part of a court settlement to protect an endangered fish.

Way to go, guys. This is not going to encourage cooperation with other user groups at all.


Just saw that too. Geez, why didn't they at least give the Forest Service a chance to finish the public dialogue period? It's still going on until the end of the month.

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Re: Access Alert: Jones Park, Upper Bear Creek to be closed

Postby Jim Davies » Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:53 am

The Forest Service has issued an "emergency closure" of all trails in Jones Park, the Buckhorn Trail west of Captain Jacks, Bear Creek Trail from the Buckhorn junction upward, and the Forester Trail and Pipeline Trail from Frosty's Park downward. Conveniently, these include the area they wish to close permanently for protecting the fish.
http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/psicc/alerts-notices/?aid=20288

BearCreekClosures.jpg
BearCreekClosures.jpg (292.32 KiB) Viewed 602 times


Also, a few weeks ago they issued the final version of the watershed assessment and recommendations. As far as I can tell, it is completely unchanged from the preliminary version, so essentially all the public comments were ignored. Sigh.
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/psicc/home/?cid=STELPRDB5397304
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Re: Access Alert: Jones Park, Upper Bear Creek to be closed

Postby illusion7il » Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:38 pm

Jim Davies wrote:The Forest Service has issued an "emergency closure" of all trails in Jones Park, the Buckhorn Trail west of Captain Jacks, Bear Creek Trail from the Buckhorn junction upward, and the Forester Trail and Pipeline Trail from Frosty's Park downward. Conveniently, these include the area they wish to close permanently for protecting the fish.
http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/psicc/alerts-notices/?aid=20288

BearCreekClosures.jpg


Also, a few weeks ago they issued the final version of the watershed assessment and recommendations. As far as I can tell, it is completely unchanged from the preliminary version, so essentially all the public comments were ignored. Sigh.
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/psicc/home/?cid=STELPRDB5397304



If I am reading this map correctly it shows ALL of Captain Jacks, ALL of the Jones park down hill, and ALL of the Pipeline trail is now CLOSED. These are mountain biking classics. I will admit that I have stayed off these areas over the last year or so due to all the erosion.

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Re: Access Alert: Jones Park, Upper Bear Creek to be closed

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:49 am

illusion7il wrote:
Jim Davies wrote:The Forest Service has issued an "emergency closure" of all trails in Jones Park, the Buckhorn Trail west of Captain Jacks, Bear Creek Trail from the Buckhorn junction upward, and the Forester Trail and Pipeline Trail from Frosty's Park downward. Conveniently, these include the area they wish to close permanently for protecting the fish.
http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/psicc/alerts-notices/?aid=20288

BearCreekClosures.jpg


Also, a few weeks ago they issued the final version of the watershed assessment and recommendations. As far as I can tell, it is completely unchanged from the preliminary version, so essentially all the public comments were ignored. Sigh.
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/psicc/home/?cid=STELPRDB5397304



If I am reading this map correctly it shows ALL of Captain Jacks, ALL of the Jones park down hill, and ALL of the Pipeline trail is now CLOSED. These are mountain biking classics. I will admit that I have stayed off these areas over the last year or so due to all the erosion.


Question:

One section of Gold Camp Road (not in the NFS purview) is completely washed out below Tunnel #2. Upper Columbine is in excellent condition. Buckhorn and upper Jacks are in good condition, and they are in better shape than they were at many times in the past. I do not know the current status of lower Jacks or the Bear Creek drainage. High drive suffered worse damage in the washouts of August 2011 than with the current event last month.

The link says the closure will remain in effect until October 2014, unless otherwise rescinded.

Does it seem to anyone else, that it is completely unreasonable to close the entire area for a period of one year due to "flood damage"?

If so, is there anything we can do to make this agency responsible and accountable for its actions?

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Re: Access Alert: Jones Park, Upper Bear Creek to be closed

Postby Jim Davies » Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:58 pm

Unlikely, unless you think our "congressman" might get involved. The FS seems determined to go through with their Bear Creek closure plan despite what the public thinks. I sincerely believe that the flood damage is just an excuse to close the trails early (before the new Buckhorn-to-Seven-Bridges or Bear-Creek-to-Buckhorn connector trails are built, for example). A year is ridiculous - someone we know stealth-hiked both Bear Creek and Seven Bridges last week, and reported no significant damage to the bridges or trail. In fact, the flooding might have cleaned out sediment from Bear Creek and thus improved the habitat for the trout.

Speaking of the motorcycle connector, the last time we were up Seven Bridges, there were flags coming down the scree field below Kineo that I'm guessing are intended to be the route of the connector. They came down to Seven Bridges in the scree field, just before a short climb at the west end that leads back into the wooded area. This seems like the prelude to a disaster - if motorcycles start having to climb within the scree field on Seven Bridges, it's going to destroy that part of the trail. IMO the connection should be further west, after the trail reenters the trees (and preferably close to where the trail crosses the creek, so the motorcycles won't have to climb the steeper slopes on Seven Bridges west of the scree). I have a bad feeling about this...
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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