DENVER, Colo. -- Colorado State Senator Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction) today issued the following statement, responding to reports that the Bureau of Land Management may be backing away from at least some of the road and trail closures it proposed as part of a new management plan for federal lands in Mesa and Grand Junction Counties. Widespread concern about the closures led more than 20 Colorado legislators to call for a delay in the plan’s approval, so all the issues can be thoroughly debated. Talks have been ongoing between county officials, the governor’s office and BLM. But Senator Scott expressed reservations about any “deal" that's being made.
"While I’m pleased to see that public pressure has BLM giving ground on some of its proposed route closures, those spinning this as a major step forward don’t speak for the majority of Mesa County residents I’m hearing from. The agency never has made a convincing case for why these access points should be closed. This just seems like another way for the agency to arbitrarily exercise power, while pleasing a vocal minority of extremists who want to limit public access to public lands. And the push to limit access couldn’t come at a worse time, given the obvious need to more actively manage these lands and the important part that open access plays in our economy and way of life.
The inevitable shifts in power that are coming, from the federal level down to Colorado, will change the landscape of everything that is taking place today. Any compromise on these closures will bring only a temporary delay as long as all the decisions are made in Washington. The resources that have been drained from Mesa County and the state as a result of this unnecessary conflict are appalling, and could have been much better used in many areas of need within Mesa County. I also fear that trust between government and the people has been lost as a result of this conflict, creating divisions in rural Colorado at a time when we need to be more united than ever."
SO, maybe the rules need to change at the top, then down to the local level for area needs addressing.