The Rampart Range Travel Management Plan

by Mike Cussins   January, 2006

Jumping on a trail. Photo courtesy Troy McBain.
The Trails at Rampart are popular with both dirt bikes and ATVs. The new plan has something to offer both groups.

I am willing to bet that most OHV riders in Colorado, as well as many other states, know of or have ridden the Rampart Range Trail system. For some of us, riding Rampart is an almost weekly occurrence during the summer months. It is a tremendous blessing to have such a great riding area so close to the Denver metropolitan area. While you may know of and enjoy the area you may not know what has been going on behind the scenes the last few years regarding Rampart Range’s future. During the course of this article I intend to briefly walk you through what has been going on during the last 18 months as it pertains to the Rampart Range Motorized Trail and Road Analysis/EA or as it is better known The Rampart Range Travel Management Plan, what this means to the area, and what’s going to take place in the very near future.

Introduction

In July 2004 the South Platte Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service initiated an Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate the off-highway vehicle (OHV) trail system, roads and recreational facilities within the Rampart Range Motorized Recreation Area. This study area is approximately 91,000 acres in size and is located within the Pike National Forest and Douglas County, about 15 miles southwest of the Denver metropolitan area. The primary purpose of the project is to develop an OHV vehicle trail and road system that is safe and responsive to public needs and desires, is affordable, and efficiently manages and protects sensitive resources.

The Process

Map of Alternative C
Map of Alternative C

Two open houses were held in July 2004 to provide the public an opportunity to gain information on the project and to share with the Forest Service their information, concerns and ideas. As a result of the open houses and subsequent public input, more than 500 comments were received through early October. That input, combined with researched and technical information, was developed into three Planning Concepts, essentially in map form, which identified some potential options for further discussion and public input.

The planning concepts were then presented at two public workshops in October 2004. More than 120 people attended the workshops and provided additional input. Input on these Planning Concepts was used to hone the concepts into more formal alternatives. In mid to late November 2004, three alternatives were made available for public review and comment. The Forest Service developed these three alternatives to cover the broad range of issues, including No Action (Alternative A). Alternative A is based on the continuation of existing management practices. Alternative B focuses on enhancing access for motorized user groups. Alternative C is based on enhancing the quality of the recreational experience and operational efficiency of the motorized travel system. It is important to note the amount of system roads do not vary by Alternative. Comments were analyzed and incorporated into the Environmental Assessment (EA) document, which was finalized and released for public comment on July 15, 2005. Comments received on the EA were incorporated, as appropriate, into the final decision.

On October 18, 2005, the Decision Notice & Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was signed by the South Platte District Ranger with the Notice of Decision posted as legal notice in the district's newspaper of record (The Douglas County News) on October 27, 2005. A 45-Day appeal period started from the date that the decision was published in the Douglas County News. No appeals were filed during this time. For more information about the Rampart Range Motorized Trail and Road Analysis/EA process please go to www.fs.fed.us/r2/psicc/spl/recreation.shtml or www.fs.fed.us/r2/psicc/spl/rampartstudy.shtml. A copy of the EA can be found here.

The Decision

I am very happy to announce that Alternative C, the OHV preferred alternative with modifications, was chosen as the alternative that will be implemented for the Rampart Range Trail System. On behalf of the Rampart Range Committee I would like to take this time to thank everyone that either went to one of the public meetings and/or contributed his or her comments regarding the Rampart Range Travel Management Plan. This unprecedented event has taken many, many years to come to fruition. By submitting your comments and/or attending the planning meetings you have played a vital role in making this historic and favorable decision a reality. Without your efforts and input this would not have happened.

Public Meeting. Photo courtesy Corey Corbett.
It's up to you, the enthusiast to participate in public meetings to assure your interests are being represented too.

What Does This Mean?

This means that at Rampart Range in the very near future we will have many new OHV recreational opportunities. The Rampart Travel Management Plan opens the door for 20+ miles of brand new Single-track trails, many miles of new Double-track trails, new connecting trails that offer more loop opportunities, more and better signage, more, larger and improved parking areas, a safer, relocated North intersection at Rampart Range Road and CO 67, a new route that connects the Rampart Range and Woodland Park/Divide Trail Systems, as well as many other improvements.

What’s Next?

The Rampart Range Committee will be working hand in hand with the Forest Service during the implementation of Alternative C. This is a very large-scale project that will take around three years to fully implement. The grants have already been applied for and the funding for the first year has been approved. The next step in this process is to develop a plan of action for the implementation of the new trails.

Work party volunteers.
Work Parties are a great way to help out. Subscribe to RampartNews or check www.rampartrange.org for information about when you can participate.

How Can You Get Involved?

I invite you to join us and share in the excitement of being a part of history. As you can imagine over the next few years there will be many opportunities for volunteers to get involved with this project and as well as other ongoing projects. As a volunteer you can decide where, when and how you would like to help out. You can come to the monthly meetings or you can help with the Trail Work Parties or even help out at one or both of our annual Poker Runs. For more information about the Rampart Range Committee, the Trail System or to learn more about volunteering please go to www.RampartRange.org. While on the site please take notice of and sign up for The Rampart News email list. By signing up for The Rampart News you will get the latest information about what is going on at Rampart sent right to your inbox. If you have any specific questions about Rampart Range or volunteering or whatever please email us at info@rampartrange.org.

Thanks again to everyone that has participated up to this point and a hearty welcome to all those who will get involved in the near future. I and everyone else on the Rampart Range Committee are looking forward to working with you during the implementation of the Rampart Range Travel Management Plan.

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