The federal pursuit to push us off public lands, one road at a time, has now reached into Montezuma County.
However, officials there have decided to reclaim the road rather than allow the Forest Service to block users and demand commercial and recreation travel fees like some roadside troll.
Montezuma County Commissioners are claiming historic rights to the Dolores-Norwood Road that they say precedes national forest creation in 1905.
The 55-mile road in question links the three counties of Montezuma, Dolores and San Miguel Counties but also crosses through the San Juan and Uncompahgre National Forests. It’s used to access private property, oil and gas development, and is a major thoroughfare, according to the Cortez Journal.
The road dispute came to a head during a recent commission meeting, when Forest Service Official Derek Padilla told officials the county had overstepped its boundaries by posting signs telling drivers to share the road with all-terrain vehicle users.
Padilla insisted all-terrain vehicles are not permitted under their travel management rules.
Responded the county: Your travel management rules are WRONG.
The whole matter could be completely resolved, explained County Attorney John Baxter, if the feds simply step away from the road and sign jurisdiction back to the county:
“We say it’s ours. If you think it’s yours, then maybe you should take us to court.”
We’re getting seriously annoyed with all of this road rage from the Forest Service and BLM, exerting unnecessary control over roads or simply shutting them down to choke off energy development and recreation access.
Rather than permitting the feds to continue with these Western Slope eviction notices that are kicking us out of our own backyard, we’re glad to see someone is standing up to the trolls.