Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
BLM to expand buffer around historic trails from a quarter-mile to 5 miles
The plan covers topics ranging from energy development to livestock grazing to sage grouse habitat in the 2.5 million acres in Fremont, Natrona, Hot Springs, Carbon and Sweetwater counties. But one of the most significant aspects of the plan deals with historic trails. Currently, as established in the 1987 plan, the trails have a quarter-mile buffer on each side to limit development. However, Yannone said more people now use the trails and there is a better understanding and appreciation for the trails’ views — instead of just the physical trails, or ruts, in the ground. The preferred plan for trail management calls for five miles on each side of the trails. The proposed buffer is seen by many people as the crux of the new trail management plan and has garnered criticism and praise. Fremont County commissioners think the buffers in the preferred alternative are too large. “We can’t live with that 10-mile impregnable barrier across our county,” commission Chairman Doug Thompson said, noting that there needs to be a way to create corridors and roads while still protecting the trail system. Thompson doesn’t want the historic trails to stymie future development or take away potential income from the county. He said disallowing structures and developments within several miles of the trails isn’t acceptable. “That’s very extreme,” Thompson said. Fences or energy development below the hills might not be seen from the trails and should still be allowed, he said. There also are public health issues, specifically snow fences, which might obstruct the views but are needed to ensure safety on highways...more