The Elk in and around Steamboat Springs Co. are in desperate need of your support! We have a City-funded trail network going through the NEPA process that will completely decimate our herds over a vast area of public National Forest Land. At this moment the trail building community is getting a couple letters a day into the Forest service in support of this trail network. I know as hunters we like to stay quiet and mostly solitary but we NEED to get loud and join forces if we expect to keep the hunt and our hunting lifestyle alive into the future.
We have already seen the elk population plummet on Buff Pass because of the trail network that went in last summer. This next Madd-Rabbit trail network is massive and extremely damaging to Elk Habitat.
Visit www.KeepRouttWild.com for details about our desperate fight to save the herds.
Here is a link to the Madd-Rabbit proposal https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd568674.pdf
This is a link to the trail system they have approval for and almost complete. We are witnessing a huge impact already from these. https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd553389.pdf
Please write an email to the below addresses. Or send it to KeepRouttWild@gmail.com and I will forward it to the decision makers involved.
Bullet points to hit.
1. We value our wildlife and undisturbed habitat over new trails. 2. The elk population surrounding Steamboat plummetted because of the Buff Pass trail network and new trails must stop immediately before all the huntable populations are gone forever.
Also, visit https://www.keeprouttwild.com/take-action/ to see our mission statement.
Email addresses to send your letter of support for wildlife to.
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you! And please forward this to five people who you think might be able to help the cause.
Cedar Beauregard Keep Routt Wild 735 Pahwintah St. P.O. Box 770974 Steamboat Springs, CO 80477-0974 (970) 879-0953
I've watched this phenomenon develop and grow (I started bowhunting in that area in 1974). We did it to ourselves. Where there used to be one or two hunter vehicles at a trailhead, now there are 25 or more. In the valley where we used to camp there would be a couple other camps. Now every pulloff has a big camp, mostly nonresidents. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a group of "Born and Raised" wannabes hiking around and bugling all day back in the Zirkels (where the Born and Raised boys proudly publicize). I sure wish it was like the Good Old Days, but those are gone and not coming back in our lifetime. To be fair, the "elk" are doing just fine in the area despite the new trail systems. It's the "elk hunters" who are used to hunting the areas where the new trails are proposed that don't like the idea. I get it.
Now, on the other side of the coin, The USFS manages for multiple use. They get nothing from hunters besides headaches, resource damage from illegal off-roaders, forest fires, trash left behind. There are three large wilderness areas around Steamboat, plus a ton of USFS roadless areas, which offer backcountry experiences for hunters. But there is a shortage of the types of trails this plan will offer, based upon the demographics. There is a growing demand for this alternative recreation opportunity, which the city and the USFS recognize because those folks are howling for it. The jillions of people moving to Steamboat and surrounding mountain resort comunities aren't hunters. They are outdoor recreationalists - the REI crowd. Same with the millions of people on the Front Range who recreate in the Steamboat area on weekends.
If you ask the USFS and city policy-makers, they will tell you that hunters are declining overall, while the demand for this type of nonconsumptive recreation is growing exponentially. These are the families who shop in town, who vacation and stay in the $$$ hotels and eat in the restaurants and patronize the rafting companies, etc... Hunters stop at the grocery, the liquor store, and the gas station, then head out.
I feel your pain, Cedar, because my hunting spots have been wrecked over there. But it isn't by the trails - it's from thousands of bowhunters. In the area where I'm hunting now since giving up over there, there are tons of ATV trails, which the elk are accustomed to and don't run from. They just listen to them ride by and go on about their business. But the ATV traffic and big ATV camps bums-out hunters who then head for the "wilderness", which is fine with me. I hear ATVs daily but rarely see another hunter in the woods. Look on the bright side: this new trail network may discourage a lot of hunters, which in turn may make the hunting better and may keep the elk in the area longer.
In Colorado, you cant go further than about 12 miles in most elk units without hitting another road/trail system.
I dont think Montana wants that do they?
And Lou is spot on.
My camp is ALWAYS cleaner when I leave then when I arrive.
Again, no disrespect intended.
As far as the revenue contribution to the state economy from nonresident hunters vs other recreationalists, some recent studies don't agree with your estimates. But for Parks and Wildlife funding, nonresident elk tags are the fat cash cow, no doubt.
Thanks for keeping things tidy!
JMO... At some point, we’re going to have to welcome the “REI Crowd” as allies in fending off development. Those folks vote, too.
Best to befriend them and demonstrate to them that we’re Good People, and not just a bunch of bloodthirsty Redneck Trumpists who can offer no solid, common ground.
But I’m with Lou; too many people have taken up Bowhunting. At least for my tastes... LOL
I took up a roundball muzzleloader to get away from the centerfire crowds and switched to a recurve when I was able to hunt a good 20 days a season.... and I used to run into one or two other hunters a year. Now there are 3-4 semi-permanent camps in that drainage. Not what it was...
And it’s easy to blame non-residents because they’re only going to hunt one season anyway; but JMO, it’s the opportunistic locals who buy a “bonus” cow tag so they can scout pre-Rifle, maybe take a cow, and who can run into town for a bull tag after the fact in the event that lightning might strike.
No idea how often it happens, but I’m certain that it does.
I live, hunt and fish up in Routt County and it is shocking how many people come here year round.
I took a look at the proposals and they kind of make sense. We aren’t going to be able to stop the growth or be able to go back to how it was 20, 30, or 100-500 years ago. As much as we would like to.
We probably should figure out how to work with them to find common ground.
These USFS trail proposals aren't in wilderness. Pitting hunters against other recreationalists who want to enjoy their nonconsumptive pursuits in ways the general public perceives to be coexistence is a lose-lose for hunters in the long run.
These days, I wouldn't put it past them.
I have no problem with sharing the woods and building trail, there are thousand of acres of areas that could be built that have minimal influence to local wildlife...You just have to take the time to look at what is beneficial for users and wildlife. You are not going to replace those areas... habitat loss and encroachment are two of the largest reasons for decline in populations throughout the west...
What are we missing here? Almost the entire Mad Rabbit project is non-motorized trails. Does this mean that cows won't drop their calves or the calves will die of fright if someone rides by silently on a mountain bike or if some hikers stroll past? Maybe that's why there are no elk in and around Estes Park.. ;)
Looks to me like many of these trails will provide access for hunters willing to ride a mountain bike, and to hike into what are now some deadfall-choked areas. Lack of access is cited as one of the biggest reasons for the decline in hunters across the country. Especially for the aging hunter demographic overall.
Estes is a ridiculous argument.... Hows the elk herd in Denver, used to be all kinds of plains elk there....
They aren't building condos or golf courses or shopping centers or parking lots as part of the Mad Rabbit project, only hike-bike-ski trails and a little bit of OHV trail. The true habitat disruption will be nearly nonexistent.
I cited the Estes Park reference as an example of why non-hunting recreationalists have virtually no impact on elk calving, breeding, overall population, vs. the invasion of thousands of hunters in Routt and Jackson counties who directly and relentlessly pursue them from the last Saturday in August until mid-November. They adapted in Estes and they've adapted in Routt and Jackson counties, albeit in different ways because of hunting pressure.
Some folks are using the "habitat loss" argument in this issue as a Red Herring, and its pretty transparent to anyone a step back from the controversy. The only people who appear to be against this project are some hunters who don't want bike trails near their hunting spots.
Understandable and I probably wouldn't want it either. But you guys need a better rationale than "habitat loss" amd potentially "plummeting" elk populations, neither of which are supportable arguments from a biological perspective.
And trust me, mountain bikers and hikers staying on the trails wont screw up the hunting a fraction much as all those hunters do now. The recreational ATV riders where I hunt now sure don't push the elk anywhere. In fact, the elk population in the unit is growing. They're not perceived as a threat, just as hikers and bikers and skiers are no threat. But ATVs make a wonderful hunter repellent.
Your first post is so off base and out of touch with reality.
I’d suggest you do a lot more digging into what these people represent and the legislation that they fight for before you remove your panties.
We finally found elk the last week in a jungle that we have never needed to enter in the past 25 yrs, although it held elk.
I like the idea of traditional 2 week season. Admittedly, self serving but I can't see it ever having enough support to happen.
At least the people using the proposed trails would stay on them, unlike bowhunters.
Laughable and unrealistic...and currently they don't...
Personally I tend to listen to the advise of several successive biologists, that have expressed the same concern. Some might believe that ATV's, bicycles have no effect on wildlife. I however disagree, It's my opinion, you can believe what you want. Sit next to your peaceful trail and hunt, I for one will be far away because that's where the elk are....
I know a couple of the guys that are behind this... all are stand up guys, hunters, runners, cyclists, athletes.... they wanted to have a diverse group that way the discussions aren't one sided just about local hunters and their honey holes. That way they aren't just bowhunters complaining online about whats wrong with too many tags, too much season, etc. etc. None of them are against the trail building just making the process take a slower look at the real impact rather than building 50-60 miles of trail every year.
Most won't give a crap because they don't live here, but as a multi use trail user, even I think it has gotten to the point of absurdity. Having hundreds of miles of multi- use trail systems on every major drainage within 4 miles of Steamboat isn't enough? They can't even finish the concrete core trail through the entirety of the town which a ton of 2A money was originally supposed to be allotted to do.
I generally stay out of wilderness to hunt because I don't like people.
Just out of curiosity, what does the EIS for Mad Rabbit say about potential impacts on elk?
EIS = Environmental Impact Study
But WTF does that have to do with some low-impact biking and hiking trails around the Steamboat Human Zoo?
But I agree with needing to burn.
LOL....Classy response... stooping to the name calling level... I'll bow out on this one....its getting a little childish for my taste...welcome to the internet!
Sadly, those guys that busted ass for years taking elk the hard way are facing this dilemma. Those trails will allow more access which in turn will alter game movements without question. Sad deal.
If I added one word to my original post "tend" to stay on trails would you have still objected? Probably so.
You're likely correct. While I agree that likely rephrased to be a completely correct statement, I also realize that it only take a few bad apples to screw it up for everyone. That's kind of the point of it all. Beyond the "mad rabbit" trail there is also discussion of developing some illegally started trails, which set a precedence I don't think anyone wants to follow. Its okay, you made an illegal trail, we'll just develop it any way. Many trails have been already built through core habitat areas, but its okay because they got a donation to replace habitat somewhere else. For the record I have no problem with most of the trails. 90% of the Mad Rabbit is fine. Trails through certain core habitat areas are unacceptable in my opinion.
I get the need to recruit other users to help promote the preservation of public lands. I'm all for it, but there needs to be a compromise and serious thought put into it, especially when it comes to the future of North American wildlife, they are a huge source of funding for conservation and betterment for all end users. Fact is hunters and fisherman fund a huge portion of conservation efforts now with licensing fees for pursuing said wildlife.... Trail building funds also are set aside from those dollars.... It will inevitably hurt both sides (hunter and other recreational user) from the loss of wildlife...
I don't know about other locals but I have access to some great ground below said trail systems on private. Since the trail development my hunting has become epic as the animals avoid the trail system like the plague..... While the property provides secondary habitat in the interim, I think it's important to preserve that natural habitat because eventually that private sanctuary I hunt will likely get purchased, condos built, sidewalks paved, parking lots, barking dogs...and they'll have to move again, even farther....that's the nature of the beast. A consistent fractional sacrifice of habitat will eventually lead to a significant portion being lost over the course of time....
I assume that's kind of what Thrasher is getting at... its not the immediate future, its a ways down the road, generations maybe... I think Teddy Roosevelt also looked at it that way...
He didn't complain much back then.