Limited travel for 20 years |

Limited travel for 20 years

David L'Heureux

GYPSUM – Even though Tenderfoot Gulch comprises the western edge of Hardscrabble, its federal “travel designation” is different.”That area has been under a limited travel designation since 1984,” said Dorothy Morgan with the Bureau of Land Management. That means travel is allowed on existing trails only. Until recently, the rest of Hardscrabble had an open designation. However, travel there must now be confined to existing routes, also.The main reason for the limited designation in Tenderfoot was the fragile nature of the crypto-biotic crust that makes up the surface layer there, said Morgan.”Unfortunately, it wasn’t strictly enforced over the years,” she said. “At our travel assessment last summer, we heard from people that they wanted something to be done in the area.”Morgan said her agency has known about the problem for years. “There were so many places where people rode off established routes, it was overwhelming,” Morgan said.Work done recently by a youth group, the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, should give people a better idea of what trails are open, Gypsum-resident Jimmy Copple said. “Prior to their arrival, there was no good indication of what (people) could and couldn’t do,” said Copple, who lives near Tenderfoot and uses the area for recreation. “Now it is crystal clear to anyone that they are not to be tearing up and down those hills. People cannot claim ignorance anymore.”Ignorance has been a big part of the problem, youth corps’ worker Joe Hand said.”You can tell that people want to go up in areas because it looks like its fun,” said Hand. “But they don’t understand that the damage takes a long time to reverse.”Vail, Colorado

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