County Commission takes clear stance on proposed Shoshone Forest travel changes

The Park County Commission took a straight-forward approach in its comments to the Shoshone National Forest on proposed travel management changes. The county wants to see zero road closures and is all for the creation of loop trails. The Commission's comments on the proposals are due by Dec. 1. The recommendations they spoke of today will be drafted in a letter to be formally approved in their next meeting. The commissioners said they want to see as many opportunities for people to get into the backcountry open as possible. Commissioner Loren Grosskopf said 85 percent of the forest is roadless or designated wilderness, so leaving the other 15 percent open to roads as much as possible is important. "They have no good justification for closing those roads," Commissioner Tim French said. In the northern portion of the forest, the SNF is proposing to close a couple spur roads in the Clark's Fork area as well as the Sweetwater Creek Road and the Elks Fork Road. Sweetwater Creek Road is currently already closed for a washout. Grosskopf said the forest has said it is not "sustainable" to keep the roads open, which the commission took to mean there wasn't funding available to pay for the needed maintenance. Grosskopf said, however, that economics isn't mentioned in the forest's official definition of sustainability. French and Commissioner Bucky Hall recommended the commission go so far to express a willingness to step up and work with other organizations, such as Jeep or ATV clubs, to come up with the funds to make it work. French noted that the county has done something similar in the past. The Commission also will recommend approving several other proposals that open up long-unused trails or that make trails that are already being used official; these include a road in the Lime Creek area, a connector on Carter Mountain, Aspen Trail, Gooseberry Road and Grass Creek Road. The proposals are a follow-up to the recently completed SNF Land Management Plan . #reboot