The use of unlicensed Off Highway and All Terrain Vehicles (OHVs and ATVs) in Pitkin County is increasing. Currently state law prohibits OHVs from operating on county roads but it is up to the counties themselves to enforce the law. Until recently OHV and ATV use on the county's 254 miles of roadway did not present an issue and the state law has not historically been enforced.
Because OHVs are increasingly being used to access the backcountry via County roads the County is seeking public input during an Open House at the Pitkin County library on March 29th from 4 to 6 p.m. to help formulate an OHV Management Plan. This plan would designate which roads in Pitkin County (if any) would be open to OHV use and create a strategy for management and enforcement.
“The Forest Service already has an OHV Travel Management Plan in place in the White River National Forest and it makes sense to honor the work that the Forest Service has already done,” said Public Works Director, Brian Pettet.
Pettet and representatives from the Forest Service met with County Commissioners on February 28, 2017 to discuss the issue in-depth. The televised work session is available for viewing online on the Pitkin County website: www.pitkincounty.com. Click on ‘Watch Webcasts’ and search for the Feb. 28th meeting link.
During the March 29th Open House Public Works officials will present four possible OHV management scenarios for the public to consider:
Scenario #1 is a 'status quo' approach where all county roads would remain off limits to OHVs and ATVs according to state law.
Scenario #2 would open four roads co-claimed by Pitkin County and the U.S. Forest Service to OHVs and ATVs. These roads include Bear Creek Road in the Woody Creek area, Seller Lake Road, Diemer Lake Road and Powerline Road in the Fryingpan River drainage. This scenario complies with the current USFS Travel Management Plan.
Scenario #3 would open 86 miles of county roads to OHVs and ATVs, including the Pitkin County Portion of Pearl Pass Road, more roads in the Fryingpan drainage and some roads in the Prince Creek/Dinkle Lake area above Carbondale.
Scenario #4 would open all county roads with less than 100 vehicle trips per day to OHVs and ATVs. This option includes opening the backside of Aspen Mountain to the vehicles.
For those who cannot attend the open house there is an opportunity for the public to comment online at www.pitkincountyconnect.com.