Motocross track closed after Indian site discovered
July 17, 2001
WOLCOTT, Colo. (AP) Federal authorities are closing a popular motocross area after discovering it sits on top of a significant Indian archaeological site.
As a result, the Bureau of Land Management will return a $20,000 state grant a motorcycle group planned to use to improve and expand the racetrack. The track was never formally approved by the agency.
”The intent was to provide a variety of recreational uses within the Bocco Mountain area,” said BLM planner Dorothy Morgan. ”Specific trails were left to future planning.”
Morgan said the agency had no option but to close the area once Ute officials pointed out the significance of the site.
The motorcyclists are frustrated with the BLM’s abrupt about-face, which comes four years after different BLM planners promised to formally approve a track that riders had been using for more than 15 years. The club hoped to build a new parking lot and trailhead, along with 4 miles of track.
Paul Miller, secretary for the group, said a compromise that would have allowed club members to reroute the 15-acre track around sensitive areas evaporated in April after Ute officials objected.
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Howard Richards, director of the Southern Utes’ Department of Natural Resources, said the BLM failed to consult with the tribe, as required by law.
”The area we’re talking about is ancestral homeland of Ute people,” said Richards. ”It’s our home. It was a decision the motorcyclists didn’t want to hear, but we couldn’t allow that activity to happen at any cost.”
Miller said motorcyclists are upset BLM will not disclose the nature of the Ute cultural resources.