The Summit Board of County Commissioners is considering closing portions of three county roads in Breckenridge, CO, to winter motorized recreational use.
The roads under consideration for closure are Baldy Road, Boreas Pass Road and Gold Run Gulch Road, all of which provide access to national forest lands. The closures, if passed by a county resolution, would achieve consistency with U.S. Forest Service transportation regulations, which already prohibit motor vehicle use, such as snowmobiles, on national forest lands during the winter.
"Staff is recommending to the commission that they pass a resolution to close portions of these roads to be consistent with Forest Service regulations," Summit County manager Gary Martinez said following a Tuesday commission workshop session in Breckenridge. "Snowmobile use is what sparked this conversation, which has dropped over the years because you can't take your snowmobile onto Forest Service land anyway. You're kind of restricted to these roads, which aren't much fun for snowmobiling."
The town of Breckenridge made the road closure recommendations in April following the Forest Service's adoption of its Travel Management Plan and Golden Horseshoe Management Plan.
Those plans identified about a dozen county roads that either wind through or lead to national forest lands as permitted by an easement with the U.S. Forest Service. However, there aren't any regulations or signs in place stipulating appropriate and prohibited uses.
The portion of Gold Run Gulch Road being considered for winter closure runs from Lewis Garage to the Peabody Placer trailhead near the Breckenridge Golf Course. Although Martinez said snowmobile use is what sparked the conversation, the closures would prohibit all motorized vehicles.
That recommendation is due in part to several cars and trucks that have accidentally accessed groomed trails managed by the Gold Run Nordic Center via Gold Run Gulch. Those vehicles have damaged trails and disrupted Nordic center operations, according to a report from Summit County's Open Space & Trails Department.
Baldy Mountain Road, from the trailhead at Emmet Lode to the communication towers, and Boreas Pass Road, from the trailhead to Boreas Pass, are being considered for closure because they provide direct access to national forest. The goal is to prohibit snowmobilers from accessing those areas, which are popular among snowshoers and backcountry skiers.
Pennsylvania Creek Road also is slated for winter closure to motorized use. Pennsylvania Creek runs through town and county property, but is maintained by the U.S. Forest Service. None of the proposed road closures will affect landowners with property located beyond the closure points.
The Summit commissioners will propose a resolution during a still-to-be-determined, regularly scheduled meeting, Martinez said. A proposal will feature a public hearing to provide residents an opportunity to comment on the proposed closures.
Landowners with property located beyond road closure points will not be affected by the winter closures, according to the town of Breckenridge's recommendations.