Community members will gather around a South Sand Wash recreation area map during a May 4 public meeting to learn about proposed improvement projects and provide input on moving forward with the improvement plan.
Amber Delay/Craig Press
The Little Snake Branch of the Bureau of Land Management is seeking community input on a recreational area management plan for the South Sand Wash Off-Highway Vehicle Open Area.
BLM is working with the Craig Chamber of Commerce and the Northwest Colorado Outdoor Coalition to begin the process of developing a recreational area management plan for the South Sand Wash OHV area.
Chris Maestas, a public affairs specialist at the Little Snake field office, said the BLM office has already mapped the Sand Basin recreation area and the plan includes an improvement to the area.
“We’re just trying to make it a better experience for everyone,” Maestas said.
Two public meetings were held on May 4th and 5th in Craig and Maybell to provide information about the project and gather feedback from the community. The recreation management plan will be the action plan for working on future goals in this recreation area.
The two public sessions are the start of the public scoping process that will help prioritize the improvement projects in the plan. BLM is also collecting feedback via email and mail through June 3rd.
Over the summer, BLM will be in touch and come up with alternative plans based on feedback received from the community. The recreation area management plan and the associated environmental impact assessment are to be drawn up by autumn. BLM hopes to have a plan finalized by late fall.
Under the National Environmental Policy Act, federal agencies are required to evaluate the environmental impact of proposed actions before making decisions. The sand wash basin is designed for multiple uses, so recreational improvements must also consider the surrounding areas, wildlife, and herd management.
“If we want to make improvements, we have to look at everything,” said Maestas.
There are many ways the management plan aims to improve the open OHV area such as: B. the improvement of camping infrastructure, the maintenance of recreational facilities and the long-term sustainability of the area. The plan will also identify areas that could benefit from improved signage and interpretation resources.
Examples of what type of infrastructure improvements could be included in the plan would be an established campground, a large staging area for OHV users, pit toilets and shade structures. There could also be potential for an OHV rental facility.
Examples of the types of resources that could be included in the improvement plan would be brochure maps, ATV trail guides with trail ratings, and information on interpreting resources along the trail system.
The area improvements are designed to support greater recreation efforts in Moffat County to support economic development in the community while protecting natural and cultural resources.
According to public meeting presentation materials obtained from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, $689 billion is generated nationally from outdoor recreation and 4.3 million jobs have been created nationwide in outdoor recreation.
The economic impact of outdoor recreation is having a significant impact across the state. In Colorado, outdoor recreation generates $37 billion in consumer spending annually and contributes to 511,000 jobs.
Comments may be emailed to [email protected] or sent to Attn: South Sand Wash OHV Area Recreation Plan, Little Snake Field Office, 455 Emerson Street, Craig, CO 81625. Written comments must be received by June 3rd.
Visit go.usa.gov/xzFer for more information.