Sunday, May 6, 2012

Logchutes downhill on the line...

Now's your chance to let YOUR voice be heard in support of a sanctioned - ONE WAY downhill trail at Logchutes.

Input sought on Log Chutes downhill. One of Durango’s most beloved joy rides could be getting a makeover.

The Log Chutes downhill, a 3.5 mile stretch once used as the Nationals Downhill course, would get a buff and shine and be inducted as an official one-way only trail under a proposed plan by the San Juan National Forest. First floated by Trails 2000 in 2010, the “Log Chutes Downhill Mountain Bike Trail Project” calls for reconstructing and connecting the confusing mass of nonsystem and/or renegade trails that have sprouted up on the Forest Service land, northwest of Durango off Junction Creek Road. The new trail would be designated as a one-way downhill bike trail.

The goal of the Log Chutes plan is to provide a properly designed, safe and legal trail while eliminating potential conflicts with other users. The Forest Service is conducting a public comment period on the proposal through Wed., May 23. Trails 2000 has received grant money from the San Juan National Forest to implement the proposal, should it be approved.

“Right now, the Forest Service is scoping to get public input on what their thoughts, ideas and feelings are,” Jed Botsford, Columbine District Recreation Staff officer, said Tuesday.

According to the Forest Service, public lands across the nation are seeing a growing number of illegal downhill mountain bike trails, and the San Juan is no different. Although the Log Chutes downhill has been permitted over the years for a variety of special events, it is not an “official” Forest Service trail. Despite this, it has seen an increased amount of use as evidenced by truck loads of bikers often shuttling back up the road for another run.

“The sport started about 20 years ago now, but it is gaining more and more popularity every year,” Botsford said.

However, such trails create concerns, not only over resource impacts and poor trail design, but safety. “In our initial scoping, the answer was, ‘Yes, make it a single-direction, single-use trail,’ purely for safety reasons,” he said. “When people are screaming downhill on downhill bikes, if someone is on a horse going up, those two uses don’t really mesh.”

He said he knew of at least three other user-created rogue courses on local public lands – including one in the Middle Mountain area near Vallecito. “They just sort of popped up because demand was there, and people were looking for somewhere to ride,” he said.

The Log Chutes downhill would be the first officially designated trial of its kind in the area.

The proposed alignment would follow an old fire line as well as parts of nonsanctioned roads and trails. The new trail would be adopted into the Forest Service’s system of trails and be consistent with the Forest Management Plan. In reviewing the plan, the Forest Service will look at potential effects on wildlife habitat, recreation and safety, noxious weed infestations, soil and watershed conditions, and cultural resources. Public comments will be included in a forthcoming draft environmental assessment.

Public comment open until May 23 via email at:

or snail mail at:

Cam Hooley
at Columbine Public Lands
P.O. Box 439, Bayfield, CO 81122

Lets make some authentic DH in Durango a reality!

Video by Jerry Hazard

Copied from the current Durango Telegraph:

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