Letter: Make Sutey horse-friendly
On Aug. 5 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) closes its first public comment for the recreational use prior to assigning designations of two parcels of land acquired in a recent land exchange, one the Sutey Ranch Parcel in Missouri Heights, in the heart of horse country, and the second, the Haines Parcel on Prince Creek Road. The public scoping meeting was held July 24, and we now have 12 days left to identify issues, concerns and potential impacts for BLM analysis.
These two decisions are at the heart of protecting the historical horseback riding on the Crown with truck and trailer parking access in the Haines Meadow and horseback riding and hiking on the Sutey Ranch.
For the Haines Parcel, the RFVHC maintains that horsemen need the historic truck and trailer parking on the Haines Meadow for easy access to the Crown, middle country riding terrain. Our parking will not interfere with bike trails. On March 12, 2018, Pitkin County BOCC and OST wrote a letter to the BLM supporting our request.
The RFVHC asks the BLM that Sutey Ranch become the one place where you can ride horses and hike without mountain bikes. Most beginner/intermediate horseback riders and their horses may not be experienced enough to deal with fast moving mountain bikes. The Sutey Ranch is perfect for the novice horses and horseback riders.
Quoting from conversations with BLM Grand Junction Office — “multi-use does not mean every use.” The “unmet demand” for horseback riding on trails is underserved, at this time. The BLM set a precedent in Grand Junction by changing a few multi-use trails to hiking and horseback riding only. This designation has been accepted by all user groups.
Please keep the Sutey Ranch separate from the 3,500-acre Red Hill Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA) emphasizing mountain bikes.
We ask for special protections for the water, by keeping and using the vested, existing water rights on the land. We ask for special protection for the wildlife by enhancing the habitat to improve the biodiversity of the Sutey Ranch Parcel. We would love to see the sage grouse, the coral colored milk snake, and the Brewers Sparrow on our next horseback ride across the Sutey Ranch. We need support from you, asking the BLM to preserve and protect our Western Heritage through the tradition of riding horses on the land for generations to come.
Finally, we ask that you write a letter for the Sutey Ranch to be designated the one place where we can ride horses without mountain bikes. Comments may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to BLM, 2300 River Frontage Road, Silt, CO 81652, Attn: Sutey/Haines Management Plan. The BLM must receive comments by Aug. 5, 2018.
More information about the parcels and the planning process is available at https://go.usa.gov/xnvM5.
Karin Reid Offield
President, Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council