Commissioners approve road resolution in Mesa County

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MESA COUNTY, Colo. Mesa County Commissioners and the Bureau of Land Management are cooperating to make sure public roads stay open for recreation, while also protecting the environment.

"I'm looking forward to working with the BLM on this," said Mesa County Commissioner John Justman. "You know 72% of Mesa County is public lands, which is a huge amount of our county. A wide variety of people get to use it."

The commissioners unanimously approved the resolution Monday morning, reaffirming the county's authority to help manage federal roads.

Members of recreation groups like the Western Slope ATV association said they can't enjoy their favorite sport without access to public roads.

"It's just getting to a point where you have too many people and not enough resources because they're being closed," group member Ken Sanders said.

While creating the new resource management plan, BLM representatives and commissioners will evaluate together whether or not to keep certain routes open.

"We all want the same thing," said Chris Joyner, of the BLM. "We want people to be able to enjoy their public lands and we also got to look at the things that are responsible for the uses of those public lands."

The BLM is required to look at the risks to wildlife and other resources when deciding to keep a road open or close it.

"That means protection of sensitive species, protection of winter habitat, protection of sensitive resources that are easily eroded," Joyner said.

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