CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION
From: Jerry Panek
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 3:25 PM
To: Sexton, Kristen -FS
Cc: Betty Wierth
Subject: Re: South Platte Trails
I don't mean to be a pain, however this time of year we get dozens of calls a week asking about the Gultches. Its been two years since Park County sent in their paperwork from what I understand. Something seems to be wrong or lost. This is taking very long even for this proccess. Is there a way to find out where it got derailed and get it back on track? We have been fielding calls for over five years. Taking the time to fill in users on whats happening and why the proccess is taking so long. Without better info we will need to forward the calls just to save our staff time, not to mention the bad PR we are getting on forums for not trying to get the trails open.
From: "Sexton, Kristen -FS"
To: Jerry Panek
Cc: "Hyatt, Jeff -FS"
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2012 10:36 AM
Subject: RE: South Platte Trails
Yes, we did receive a proposal from the county just over a year ago.
Unfortunately, we have a substantial backlog of these kinds of applications due to a substantial lack of funding to this program area. Staffing for these types of applications are generally restricted to a couple dozen days per year. So yes, it take a long time to process this type of application, especially when there may be substantial environmental analysis to complete with a lack of funds and staffing to process these types of proposals.
I know this doesnt help you with your processes and staff work but the work load associated with this application is not currently funded or scheduled for this year. We are still hopeful to at least begin the process to move forward with the county’s proposal sometime this summer.
We do appreciate all your efforts and concerns but please bear with us during these difficult budgetary times.
South Park Ranger District
Pike & San Isabel National Forests
Cimarron & Comanche National Grasslands
As of January 27, 2011, Park County is still waiting for the Forest Service to do the paperwork on the adoption of trails in the Wildcat Canyon.
The Park County Comissioners have submitted the application to adopt the easements for the South Platte River to the Forest Service .
The Park County Commissioners have started the process of working with the Forest Service to adopt the Hackett and Longwater trails below the Teller County closure fences. This is in its preliminary stages, but it is a positive move forward. We will post information as we receive it.
To the volunteers, who donated their time and energy to trail work on July 18 and 19, thank you. With a small group of hard-working volunteers, the final work on the Teller County portions of both Longwater Gulch and Hackett Gulch was completed. On July 22, Teller County Officials and Forest Service Officials were driven over the trails to get their required approval. Teller County Officials and the Forest Service Officials gave their approval and the Teller County portions of Metberry, Hackett, and Longwater Gulches are now open. Hip, Hip, Hurray for the hard work and dedication of the volunteers.
Only the Teller County portions of these trails are now open. The Park County portions of these trails, the last portions of the trails that lead down to the Platte River, are NOT OPEN. Hackett and Longwater are open only to the Park County line. The Park County line is approximately .25 miles to .5 miles from the river. Metberry is still open to the river.
The volunteer effort to open the Park County portions of the trails will continue. The Park County Commissioners have not determined whether they will open the Park County portions of these trails. They would be opening these trails to provide access, recreation, and tourism to their county. We believe, once the Park County officials see the efforts and the maintenance provided by the volunteers, that they will want to open the remainder of the trails. The closures at the county line, although not popular with many, must be honored. We have the opportunity to show that we are committed to opening these trails. If the closures are not honored or damaged is perceived, Park County may decide against obtaining the easements necessary to open the trails. Park County must be assured that we, the off-road community, will stand behind our work and not abandon the task of maintaining the trails. Park County will not open the trails if they perceive that it will cost them labor, man hours, or money. It is a 100 percent volunteer effort that Park County will be using to open these trails. If they do not believe the volunteers are capable, they will walk away. We must police ourselves. The counties expect us to be responsible and the future of the trails depends upon it. If you see violators, take pictures, get license plate numbers or OHV numbers and report them to the Sheriff’s office. Because these trails are county easements, the County Sheriff can prosecute violators.
Opening these trails has been a very long and slow political process that has taken 100's of hours of volunteer time and years to achieve. It may be difficult to see the cable closure across the trails, but please respect the closures. With enough patience, energy, and time, we believe the trails will open down to the river.
“Character is what we do when no one is looking.” - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
There is evidence that motorcycles and ATV’s have been driving around the gates on Hackett Gulch. If you know any motorcycle riders or ATVers, that use this area, please encourage them to pass the word about the closures.
The home owners on FS 360 just west of Four Corners have asked ATV's, Motorcycles, and Jeeps to slow down, please. These home owners are not against motorized users driving across their land. They are asking that we respect them. As always, a very small percentage of inconsiderate users are causing the problem. The speed limit on these types of roads is 10-15 mph. Under the current very dusty conditions, please drive slower. Please pass the word to slow down. There may be children playing. The important issue is that we respect the land and other land users.
Wildcat Canyon Rules and Regulations
*Please stay on the trail as marked.
*Please do not short cut switch backs or through the trees.
*No shooting across the river or within 150 yards of a campsite, occupied or not.
*Do not drive up or down the river.
*Cross the river only at established crossings. There are no crossings at Metberry Gulch.
*Pack out your trash.
*Leave your camp site cleaner than you found it.
*No camping within 25 feet of the river bank.
*No bog or wet area "play" or travel is allowed.
*Campfires must be attended at all times.
Advise for travel in burn area
-Trees can fall at any time so be aware of possible hazards.
-Bring a saw or axe to clear downed trees from the trail.
-A trail may be clear on your way in and blocked on your way out, so be prepared.
-Flash flooding is a possibility. Watch the weather and leave during heavy rains.
-Enjoy your trip, drive responsibly and help keep trails open.
To volunteer, you must be signed up. Being on the volunteer email list is not the same as signing the Teller County Volunteer Agreement. If you did not sign up in person, then you are not signed up. If you signed up once, then you are signed up until you hear otherwise. The list is submitted to Teller County, 10 days in advance. You must be signed up before then.
Sign up sheets are available at any Predator 4 Wheel Drive, LLC location. High Country 4x4 in Englewood has graciously agreed to be a sign up location. For their hours or location, call Jason at 303-761-7379.
The work being performed is hard, physical, and dirty. We are moving burnt trees, cutting down trees, building roads, building soil containment structures, and putting up post and cable.
To be added to a volunteer email list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject of volunteer and I will add you to a volunteer email. Thank you!