The Bureau of Land Management has agreed to allow snowmobile trail grooming this winter in a wilderness study area adjacent to Molas Lake Park, reversing a decision earlier this year to ban winter motorized recreation from the popular 966-acre parcel.
"We're going to move forward with grooming as usual this winter," said Jim Lokey, president of the Silverton Snowmobile Club.
But Connie Clementson, the BLM's Tres Rios field office manager, told the San Juan County commissioners last week that this will be the last winter the Silverton Snowmobile Club will be allowed to groom about two miles of trails in the area, unless Congress releases it from its wilderness study area status.
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., has introduced the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act, which includes language to release 461 acres of the West Needles Contiguous wilderness study area. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, has introduced a similar bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.
"We're working very closely with the Colorado Snowmobile Association to help push that through," Lokey said, citing help from Bennet's and Tipton's staffers.