Moffatt County's Extreme Proposal
Moffatt County's Plan to Turn Cattle Tracks into
Pushing Oil and Mining Industry Access to
Parks, Wildernesses, and Wildlife Refuges
July 12, 2001,
letter from Moffat County that makes clear the link between the
County's anti-wilderness, pro-oil bias and its RS 2477 claims.
January 2003 Steamboat Pilot article in which a Moffat County
official admits that the county hopes to use RS 2477 to assist oil,
gas, coal, and gravel mining on wilderness quality lands."
July 28, 2003, Craig Daily Press article in which a Moffat
County official is paraphrased as follows: But considering Moffat
County's size as the second largest in the state and the county's
dependence on GAS AND OIL REVENUE, the county should be proactive in
keeping public roads open.
Conservationists Respond: Don't Pave
County (Mis)leads Other Counties
Moffat County successfully pressed other Colorado
counties on August 1, 2003 to endorse a process for Colorado that
could turn cowpaths and hiking trails into paved highways through
national parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas across the
Moffat County's July 16, 2003, letter, which proposes that mere
use of a trail by the public constructs a highway for RS 2477
purposes, thus permitting a county to build a real highway on the
Read a Denver Post August 3, 2003, story about Colorado Counties,
Inc., approving Moffat County's radical approach.
Moffat County also pressed an organization of western Colorado
Counties and interests--known as Club 20--to endorse on
September 5, 2003, a
radical interpretation that could turn hiking trails into paved
highways through National Parks and other special areas. Read
the resolution, which passed but with at least seven counties
opposing the radical approach.
Denver Post article from July 27, 2003,
about Moffat's bogus
At least one Garfield County Commissioner thinks RS 2477 could be
used to build a route abandoned 80 years ago to cut one of
Colorado's largest wilderness areas -- the Flat Tops -- in half.
coverage of his claim, and a
from Rep. Mark Udall.
Political Leaders, Papers, Conservationists Fight Back
Read a press release
from conservationists opposing the Moffat County resolution.
August 1 Denver Post editorial criticizing Moffat County's
resolution as 'radical,' 'absurd,' and a threat to tribal,
wilderness and private land.
Mark Udall's August 6, 2003 letter refuting a number of
mischaracterizations made by counties about his RS 2477 bill.
A county commissioner who is not pleased with Moffat County's
extreme approach on RS 2477 issues posted commentary in The Summit
Daily on August 7, 2003.
Costilla County, Colorado, on August 15, 2003, rejected Moffat
County's extreme approach because it can "harm public lands,
undermine private-property rights and hurt relations with Indian
September 12, 2003 Grand Junction Sentinel editorial criticized
Moffat County's approach as a recipe for endless lawsuits.
A recent court
decision in Utah may limit the damage caused by Moffat County's
proposal. Read a
news article and
from Moffat County's paper, the Craig Daily Press.
WHERE'S THE HIGHWAY?
Yampa River Canyon: Moffat County claims the
Yampa River canyon (above) for more than 20 miles as a 'constructed
highway.' County data gathered to support the assertion claims that
the right-of-way was "built by Indians" in the 1800s and that it was
used in winter to feed cattle when users of this alleged route "drove
on ice." Images (c) 2003, Colorado Environmental Coalition.
COUNTY'S RIGHT-OF-WAY PUSH THREATENS PRIVATE LAND
According to press reports, Moffat County has gone to
Court to push for a right-of-way across PRIVATE land, something the
county commissioners promised not to do when they passed a January
2003 resolution claiming 2,000 miles of routes.
Read a January 11, 2005, article about the suit
, and a
report the following day in which the County Commissioners profess
ignorance about the suit they brought.
Moffat County roads - already more than it can
Press reports from 2006
indicate Moffat County is trying to pawn off maintenance of real
county roads on the state. Why? Because it can't afford to maintain
the real roads it already has a responsibility to maintain. If it
can't afford to maintain its major roads, why is the county pushing to
control thousands more miles of rough trails as "highways"? What will
that do to the county's budget?
Read an account
in the Craig Daily Press.