Garfield County Commission favors OHV use on roads surrounding Silt
Garfield County commissioners voiced support Monday for a proposal that would allow people to use off-highway vehicles on county roads surrounding Silt proper.
Though commissioners asked whether these proposed routes were safe enough to allow OHV use, they eventually agreed they didn’t pose any major traffic issues.
“I don’t have any problems with this,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said. “I think it’s good for Silt.”
In 2019, the Silt Town Board of Trustees passed an ordinance allowing use of OHVs in town, Silt Town Manager Jeff Layman told commissioners.
The approval was used as an economic development tool with the aim of allowing better access to federal lands, Layman said. Most of Silt is surrounded by farm and ranch land, including a KOA campground south of the Colorado River. Beyond these areas rests land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management, including Silt Mesa — otherwise known as Squirrel Valley.
“We’re just asking that a couple of those roads be opened up before OHV use,” Layman said. “I have talked with county staff, I’ve talked with BLM Field Manager Larry Sandoval, and we’ve had some nice conversations about how it might look, how it might work.”
The major proposed route would allow for OHV use between county roads 214 and 250 and 298.
Layman said if the proposal passes, the town would likely erect signage to get people to the Squirrel Valley access point safely.
According to county documents, a proposal to open more roads to OHV use throughout Garfield County originally stems from 2016, when former Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill allowing for cities and counties to enact their own OHV regulations.
In light of the new law, an OHV user group presented an ordinance and proposed OHV routes to the county commission.
Garfield County Deputy Manager Fred Jarman said the group developed a set of criteria regarding which county roads are safe enough for mixed use, if they’re paved, whether they access federal lands and if there’s parking at the federal access points.
Jarman said on Monday that Silt’s proposal fits this criteria.
“I think what Jeff and his board are suggesting is a pretty surgical approach to getting access up in the Squirrel Valley,” he said.
Moving forward, the commission will hold a public hearing and obtain formal action on the proposal.
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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