“Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
The secret’s been out for quite some time, Gunnison County is a sportsmen’s paradise, boasting some of the best backcountry hunting and fishing in the state of Colorado and arguably, the country. With numerous storied wilderness areas, miles-upon-miles of incredible and publicly accessible cold water fishing and plenty of wide-open public land to explore, sportsmen have good reason to work towards protecting the wild public lands and waters that make Gunnison County what it is.
Named by the Boone & Crocket Club as one of the top 125 counties for trophy hunting of all-time (68th), there’s good reason that many people wait years to hunt this storied and undeveloped landscape. Until the extremely controversial “spider bull” was killed recently, Gunnison County held the world record typical elk, taken in what is now the Raggeds Wilderness in 1899. While Gunnison’s hunting fame is centered on elk and deer, the area also offers great hunting for bighorn sheep, black bear, mountain lion, waterfowl and grouse.
The following Travel Management Comments were submitted by Colorado BHA on May 7, 2014 on the Burn Canyon Travel Management Plan, near Norwood, Colorado.
Uncompahgre Field Office
On behalf of Colorado Backcountry Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, we would like to thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Norwood-Burn Canyon Travel Management Plan EA.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a member-driven sportsmen conservation organization dedicated to speaking-up for the solitude, challenge and overwhelming reward that hunting and fishing our wild public lands and waters provides. These traditions depend on large blocks intact tract of wildlife habitat, with minimal modern disturbances. The Burn Canyon area offers this type habitat and hunting opportunity. Thus we felt compelled to comment.
True to Colorado BHA’s boots-on-the-ground ethic, our comments are based on on-the-ground knowledge of members who hunt, fish and watch over this country. Based on these observations and what’s been proposed, overall, we feel that the plan does a worthy job of seeking to balance the needs of wildlife and motorized recreationists. However, we’re concerned that the plan prioritizes motorized and mechanized trail development and that the wildlife impacts of this new development need to be more carefully taken into account and reflected in the plan. What follows is a list of these points.
The following letter was recently submitted by White River National Forest Habitat Watchman, Bob Shettle, in regards to a proposed 10-mile motorized trail development that would intersect a large tract of critical roadless big game wintering habitat.
Concerning the Basalt to Gypsum motorized singletrack #41619. This trail, and the bandit trails it hopefully replaces and eliminates, run through the heart of prime big game habitat. I have hunted Colorado GMU #444 for the last 20 years, and I am concerned over the increasing motorized access (some legal, some not) and subsequent decrease in animal presence in the area in which I hunt, chiefly the north side of Basalt Mt., Cattle Creek area, and the south side of Red Table Mt. This planned trail goes smack through the north part of unit 444 and into unit 44. From past history, I believe this trail will exacerbate displacement of wildlife, and produce more conflicts with hunters. Also, if history is any lesson, maintaining the decommissioning of the 20 miles of unauthorized trails will be impossible. The Forest Service and BLM are already shorthanded in the enforcement department, and current budget cuts are making that even worse. Hoping that the motorized community will self police has proven to be an exercise in futility.
The following letter from CO BHA Board Member, David Lien was published by the Durango Herald, April 6, 2014.
Recently, the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers held their North American Rendezvous in Denver, where some 300 members from across the country celebrated BHA’s 10-year anniversary. The protection of backcountry habitat for elk and other wildlife, in places like the Hermosa Creek Watershed near Durango, is the driving force behind BHA. U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, joined us in Denver and talked about fishing the Western Slope’s many streams and rivers, and how his Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act will help preserve some of those waters for future generations.
February 12, 2014
RE: Comments on State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan
CPW Staff & Commission,
Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) would like to thank the department for inviting us to be a part of the advisory group for the State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). The public input and discussion that took place through the advisory group meetings represented a diverse group a recreation interests and as a whole, staff has done an excellent job of ensuring that the document reflects the discussion from this process.
We would like to touch-on two additional items of importance to Colorado BHA: