Summit County dirt bikers, homeowners may coexist at landfill property
summit daily news
Vail, CO Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY – Dirt bikers may regain access to Summit County Landfill property by July 1 if the county approves a management plan soon to be submitted.
The Summit County Off-Road Riders group has worked with local government and residents to come up with a plan that allows them to ride with minimal impacts to neighbors and the environment.
“Everybody’s working pretty well together,” Summit County undersheriff Derek Woodman said.
The riders have plans to move the riding area and parking lot to where there are less noise impacts and to collect user fees for maintenance.
Mary Patterson, a SCORR member who’s been coordinating the management plan, said she was “horrified” to see that people were riding over wetlands areas last year – and the plan is to include strict boundaries for rider access.
“The days of unmanaged off-highway riding are really over,” she said.
John Fitzgerald, president of the nearby Summerwood Homeowners Association, said that while residents aren’t keen on having any dirt bikes operating at the landfill site, the SCORR members were attentive to their concerns for something “tolerable.”
“We much prefer them to be someplace else, but I don’t see that we’re necessarily going to cause that to occur,” he said.
He said he’s met with the group a half-dozen or more times in the past several months.
SCORR members demonstrated the potential noise reduction at the new riding area Thursday by running the motors of a couple of bikes there.
“If bikes are no louder than those two bikes were, and they maintain the location, I think it will be a great improvement over the unenforced, unplanned, unmanaged situation we experienced in the past,” Fitzgerald said.
Assistant county manager Thad Noll said the Summit County commissioners will decide in the coming weeks whether to approve SCORR’s management plan.
“What they would love to see would be a room full of people saying, ‘That could work for us,’ on both sides,” he said.
The area has been closed to off-road use since Jan. 1.
Woodman said there have been a number of instances of people using the area illegally.
“Obviously with the transition of weather and the newness of the enforcement component of it, we’ve just been doing education,” he said. “Most people did not know that it was closed.”
He said two signs alerting people to the closure have been taken, and new ones should be back up in the next few days.
Patterson said people have ridden off-highway vehicles in the area for more than 30 years and are “quite passionate” about having access.
She said the area includes trails that are much easier – and less dangerous – for beginners.
Proposed hours for the area are to be from dawn to 8 p.m., with a $75 season pass available.
A motocross course and parking lot are expected to be built before access is restored. Anyone interested in riding in the area or getting involved with SCORR is encouraged to e-mail Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org