Thank you, BLM

 

Our dog Bodie, a collie-shepherd rez-mutt mix, may make it to his fifth birthday in October. Or maybe not. He's a car-chasing idiot and nothing we've tried, including a shock collar with five settings that range from tickle to Ted Bundy, has prevented him from racing off after anything on wheels.

We all need some exercise, though, so Martha and I take him for daily walks where he can run around. We try to find places nearby where cars and motorcycles are rare, and something wonderful just happened at one of those places.

This spot is about two miles from town. It's a quarter-mile of rocky rutted road in a narrow stretch between the railroad tracks (out of service for the past decade, so we don't have to worry about Bodie chasing trains) and the Arkansas River (the traffic of U.S. Highway 50 flows on the other side of the water, and Bodie is no swimmer).

The axle-busting road is scenic with great mountain views, and as a riparian corridor, it offers abundant wildlife, from birds to bighorns. Quite often there are anglers along the bank; this is part of one of Colorado's "gold medal" fisheries.

But the road also had the occasional pickup or motorcycle for us to worry about. If we spotted it before Bodie did, we could leash him. But if he saw it first -- and he has sharp eyes and ears on constant alert for wheels to chase -- we had to content ourselves with yelling at him while hoping he didn't get hit.

Now the wonderful event. We went down there to walk yesterday, and the road was freshly blocked by boulders. Plus there was a post erected by the federal Bureau of Land Management, and it bore a narrow vertical sign announcing that the road was henceforth open to pedestrians, equestrians, and bicyclists, but closed to motorized stuff like SUVs, ATVs, and motorcycles.

Thank you, BLM.

Of course, it's too early to celebrate. The way things generally work around here, the sign post will be knocked over or pulled out within a week or two. The blocking rocks will be pushed away so that motorcycles and smaller ATVs can get through.

The BLM will likely return with better blockage, but meanwhile the motorheads will be writing letters to the local paper, complaining about how they've been "locked out of our public lands," and that it's elitist to restrict access to people with $40 shoes rather than $6,000 ATVs. Plus some old-timer learned to drive there with a 1937 Studebaker pickup, and closing the road would deprive him of his custom, culture and heritage.

Some may even get around to writing our congressman, a Colorado Springs Republican named Doug Lamborn who generally sides with the motorheads. I can easily imagine him pressuring the BLM to re-open this quarter-mile of wretched road to motorized vehicles.

But for the time being, the road closure is a wonderful development for us, and thanks again, BLM.

 

High Country News Classifieds
  • DEVELOPMENT & COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST
    Idaho Walk Bike Alliance seeks a lover of bicycling, walking, and all modes of active transportation who willingly puts the car in the garage and...
  • COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
    Friends of Inyo - the Communications Director is a full-time permanent position that reports to the Executive Director and utilizes communication strategies and production skills...
  • INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS EDITOR
    High Country News seeks an editor to oversee the work of our award-winning Indigenous Affairs Desk. This individual will lead a team of passionate journalists...
  • HIKING TO THE EDGE:
    Confronting Cancer in Rocky Mountain National Park. Poetry and photos on survival thinking. E-book and paperback available at Amazon.com.
  • OPERATIONS MANAGER
    Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation has grown into America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 53 state/territorial affiliates and more than...
  • IPLC RIGHTS AND EQUITY PROGRAM ASSOCIATE
    A LITTLE ABOUT US Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FUTURE WEST
    Future West seeks an executive director to lead this dynamic organization into the future. Based in Bozeman, MT this well-respected nonprofit provides communities in the...
  • PART-TIME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Mitchell Museum of the American Indian Location: Evanston, IL Salary Range: $45,000 @ 24 hours per week. send resume: [email protected] www.mitchellmuseum.org
  • COMMUNICATIONS LEAD
    Southeast Alaska Conservation Council is hiring! Who We Are: The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) is a small grassroots nonprofit based out of Juneau, Alaska,...
  • SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR
    Since 1989, The Nature Conservancy in Alaska has been doing work you can believe in protecting the lands and waters that all life depends on....
  • OUTDOOR PROGRAM - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
    St. Lawrence University seeks to fill the position of Assistant Director in the Outdoor Program. To view the complete position description, including minimum qualifications required,...
  • PUBLIC LANDS DIRECTOR
    Job Announcement Conserve Southwest Utah is seeking a dedicated advocate for conservation and public lands Public Lands Director a "make a difference" position Conserve Southwest...
  • FOR SALE
    Yellowstone Llamas Successful Yellowstone NP concession Flexible packages
  • DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT & MARKETING
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners is seeking a full-time Director of Development & Marketing. This is a senior position responsible for the development of all marketing...
  • LEGAL DIRECTOR
    The Legal Director will work closely with the Executive Director in cultivating a renewed vision at NMELC that integrates diversity, equity, and justice. Black, Indigenous,...
  • VICE PRESIDENT, LANDSCAPE CONSERVATION
    The Vice President for Landscape Conservation leads Defenders' work to promote landscape-scale wildlife conservation, focusing on four program areas: federal public lands management; private lands...
  • WE'RE LOOKING FOR LEADERS!
    As we celebrate 50 years of great Western journalism, High Country News is looking for a few new board members to help set a course...
  • WIND RIVER WRITERS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS RETREAT BY THE NATIONAL BIGHORN SHEEP CENTER
    Enhance your writing or photography skills with world-class instructors in the beautiful Wind River Mountains. All skill levels welcome. Continuing education credits available.
  • EARTH CRUISER FX FOR SALE
    Overland Vehicle for travel on or off road. Fully self contained. Less than 41,000 miles. Recently fully serviced Located in Redmond, OR $215'000.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    identifies suspect buried trash, tanks, drums &/or utilities and conducts custom-designed subsurface investigations that support post-damage litigation.