Take Action: Protect Nonmotorized Silverton Trails

By February 18, 2020 Lands Protection

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released a new plan for trails around Silverton that sacrifices backcountry quiet and wildlife viewing in favor of more motorized trail use.

Most dramatically, BLM wants to open an additional motorcycle route through the pristine upper reaches of Minnie Gulch to the Continental Divide and open dozens of miles of foot, horse and mountain bike trails to e-bikes.

If backcountry quiet, wildlife habitat preservation and traveling on trails free of motorized use are important to you, then NONE of the BLM’s five Alternatives are acceptable. BLM has thus far ignored the explicit requests of the San Juan County Board of County Commissioners for “no more” motorized routes. It has also ignored the input of Ute tribal elders asking BLM to leave the cultural significant traditional Ute trail through Minnie Gulch closed to motorized use.

To preserve areas in the Silverton area as motor-free and and wildlife-friendly, your input is more important than ever! YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR OPINION KNOWN by February 22!

Personalize Your Comments

Our recommended comments are detailed below. Communicate these in your own words on the BLM’s e-Planning Website  – please remember that “non-substantive” comments such as “no” or “yes” are disregarded. Note: you do not need to fill in the “chapter” or “section” reference fields in the BLM form.

Most of us either live in or visit the Silverton area- base your comments on your personal experiences for greater impact. 

You have to make your comments by clicking on the red button below- if you comment on this page the BLM will not see it.

Talking Points:

  • Preserve Minnie Gulch as a non-motorized trail. Minnie Gulch is culturally important to the Ute Tribal Nation both as a trail and a landscape of significance. It is also an important wildlife corridor and one of the few watersheds on the east side of San Juan County that is free of motorized use.
  • Allow e-bikes on existing motorized routes only. With hundreds of miles of existing motorized route opportunities for e-bikers in San Juan County there is no need to open foot, horse and mountain bike trails to e-bikes with designated speed ratings up to 28 mph.Specifically, the proposed trails in the Molas Lake area and in the Baker’s Park area (Hancock Gulch east of 110) must NOT be opened to e-bikes. Four of the five Alternatives would allow e-bikes on ALL trails that allow mountain bikes – these are unacceptable scenarios that would increase user conflicts with fast-moving e-bikes. Now is the time to say “NO” to allowing e-bikes on all routes.
  • Support wildlife habitat and migration corridors. An increasing amount of research indicates that recreational use (especially noisy and fast-moving motorcycles and e-bikes) is detrimental to numerous species including San Juan County’s resident elk herd.  Advise the BLM that neither new trails nor changes of designation from quiet-use to motorized in significant wildlife zones should be allowed.  Specifically, in this trails plan, we recommend:
    • Not constructing the southeastern trail segments of the proposed Baker’s Park trail system (1 TP, 2TP & 13TP)
    • Preserving Minnie Gulch (2TE) as a non-motorized trail.


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