Community input sought on Sand Wash Recreation Area Management Plan |

Community input sought on Sand Wash Recreation Area Management Plan

Community members gather around a recreation area map for South Sand Wash during a public meeting on May 4 to learn about proposed improvement projects and to provide input on how to move forward with the improvement plan.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

The Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake field office is seeking community input on a recreation area management plan for the South Sand Wash Open Off-Highway Vehicle area.

BLM is partnering with the Craig Chamber of Commerce and the Northwest Colorado Outdoor Coalition to start the process for developing a recreation area management plan for the South Sand Wash OHV area.

Chris Maestas, public affairs specialist with the Little Snake field office, said the BLM office has already mapped out the recreation area in the Sand Wash Basin, and the plan is looking to improve upon the area.

“We’re just trying to make it a better experience for everyone,” Maestas said.

There were two public meetings in Craig and in Maybell on May 4 and 5 to provide information on the project and gather feedback from the community. The recreation management plan will be the action plan for working toward future goals in this recreational area.

The two public meetings are the beginning of the public scoping process that will help prioritize the improvement projects in the plan. BLM will also be collecting feedback by email and mail until June 3.

Over the summer, BLM will conduct outreach and draft alternative plans based on the feedback received from the community. By the fall, the recreation area management plan and associated environmental assessment will be drafted. BLM hopes to have a plan finalized in late fall.

Under the National Environmental Policy Act, federal agencies are required to assess environmental impacts of proposed actions prior to making decisions. Sand Wash Basin is designated for multi-use, so recreational improvements must also take into consideration surrounding areas, wildlife and herd management.

“When we look at making improvements, we have to look at everything,” Maestas said.

There are many ways the management plan aims to improve upon the open OHV area such as enhancing camping infrastructure, maintenance of recreation facilities and long-term sustainability of the area. The plan will also identify areas that could benefit from enhanced signage and interpretation resources.

Examples of what kind of infrastructure improvements could be included in the plan would be an established campground, large staging area for OHV users, pit toilets, and shade structures. There may also be a potential for an OHV rental facility.

Examples of the kinds of resources that could be included under the improvement plan would be brochure maps, ATV trail guides with trail ratings, and resource interpretation information along the trail system.

The area improvements aim to support larger efforts for increased recreation in Moffat County to support economic development in the community, while still protecting natural and cultural resources.

According to public meeting presentation materials, sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, $689 billion is generated nationwide in outdoor recreation activities, and 4.3 million jobs have been created in outdoor recreation across the country.

The economic impact of outdoor recreation has a considerable impact across the state. In Colorado, outdoor recreation generates $37 billion in consumer spending annually and contributes to 511,000 jobs.

Comments may be emailed to or sent to Attn: South Sand Wash OHV Area Recreation Plan, Little Snake Field Office, 455 Emerson Street, Craig, CO 81625. Written comments must be received by June 3.

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