May 01, 2013
OHV Group: Ban Bikes from Greenback Habitat? Then Ban Everyone Else, Too
By Tim Romano
Greenback cutthroat trout were placed on the Endangered Species List 46 years ago. Efforts to restore the fish were a modest success — or so everyone thought until last year, when genetic testing revealed we'd been stocking the wrong kind of fish. Fortunately, there is still one tiny piece of water called Bear Creek where a genetically pure strain of greenbacks live. It's only four miles long, and researchers estimate there are fewer than 800 greenbacks living there.
Last fall the U.S Forest Service closed all trails around the Bear Creek drainage to all vehicles to limit erosion and reduce sedimentation in this critical habitat. In retaliation the Colorado Springs-based Trails Preservation Alliance sued the agency — not to re-open the trails, but to block all access to the area, including by foot.
In their notice to sue filed last week, the Colorado Springs-based Trails Preservation Alliance and two other groups argue there was not a rational basis for the Forest Service to immediately close specified trails to motorcycles while allowing other uses to not only continue, but increase, while leaving the trails in place to continue producing sediment.
The suit asks for all trails in the (Bear Creek) watershed to be closed to all users immediately and for “expeditious completion” of a watershed assessment being carried out by the Forest Service.
“I want to see them closed until they can be re-routed completely out of the Bear Creek drainage,” said Colorado Springs dirt bike enthusiast Don Riggle of the Trails Preservation Alliance.
If this lawsuit actually goes through and the USFS closes these trails to all use, folks who might want to respectfully tread near the creek won't be allowed to.