County Commissioners making a joke of OHV discussion

Some of you may recall the Nestle discussions. Through informal surveys in the community, The Citizen and during public hearings I stand by this stat: 90% of locals opposed privatizing the valley’s drinking water. But, the commissioners voted unanimously to sell it off. I am reminded of this ugly period as I read this in The Mail:

Chaffee County commissioners, during their work session Monday in Salida, scheduled two public hearings to receive input regarding the possibility of opening all county roads to off-highway vehicles.

Bob Christiansen, director of general administration, said the meetings will be from 8 a.m. to noon July 7 at Buena Vista Community Center, 715 E. Main St., and from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Salida SteamPlant, 220 W. Sackett Ave.

I’d like to repost a couple letters that were written to The Citizen in recent weeks:

From William Mills Three public meetings to gather public comment on the opening of County Roads to OHV’s took place February 1, 8, and 15, 2012. County staff generated a comprehensive 33 page report March 14, 2012 clearly identifying the pros and cons of opening each road. Eight review areas were used for each.

On February 28, 2012 the Town of Buena Vista adopted resolution No. 22 establishing its opposition to opening of Chaffee County Roads to OHV traffic. The City of Salida adopted resolution No.36 opposing the opening of Chaffee County Roads OHV’s on June 5, 2012.
Get real, Mr. Holman. We are a county of hard workers. If you aren’t capable of moving this county forward, please, take your step backward and let us, the hard working citizen’s move it forward!

To the same point:

from Mike Smith “The Salida City Council and Buena Vista Trustees recently passed memorandums and resolutions opposing opening any additional Chaffee County roads to unlicensed off-highway vehicle (OHV) use.  Many county residents spent hours providing input during the three public meetings held over the past months in which a clear majority in each meeting stated opposition to additional OHV use.  No Chaffee County commissioners chose to attend those meetings.  That input was supposedly summarized for their consideration.

Instead of considering this input and acting upon it in good faith as our representatives, Chaffee County commissioner chairman, Frank Holman, has directed county development services staff to explore the possibility of opening all county roads to additional OHV use.  His lack of respect and consideration for the majority of his constituents and fellow political leaders is amazing.”

Our  commissioners are making a mockery of the OHV discussion. A walk down the street should tell them that times are different, and clearly the majority of people living here don’t want OHV’s on county roads. Before some of you start up with the redneck refrain about “this place becoming like Boulder” I’d suggest you look around America. It’s all different. I may sound like a broken record, but I grew up with motors and there are simply too many people in the world to let OHV drivers run wild like we did in the 1970′s. Lastly, a majority of OHV drivers have proven their disrespect for local residents.

That said, I’m not opposed to OHV’s. They are a reality in the rural west. Yet, Summit County has somehow found a balance through segregation (I thought we had as well?). There are many land use models we could replicate and pursue from other areas, but choosing to seek a balance and acknowledging the rules already enacted by Chaffee town governments is proving to be the biggest challenge for our commissioners.

The tension that comes from mixed use is often driven by poor planning. By disrespecting their constituent’s desires our Commissioners are creating an environment ripe for un-needed tensions. Guess what? We all get along fine. But, if our county officials again push through their own agenda, then the day a shirtless 12 year old on a quad (with his little brother on back) gets hit by a truck will be the day when our commissioner’s arrogant rubber will meet the road.

Residents have voiced their opinions through a valid democratic process, and their voices are being ignored.

Please let us know your thoughts.

The Citizen is happy to provide a forum for comments and discussion. Please be civil, truthful, and relevant. Please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. Real names are appreciated.

45 Responses to “County Commissioners making a joke of OHV discussion”

  1. cory

    Personally, I object to the opening of the county roads to OHV's for the social welfare perspective. It is obsurd to me to think that just because you buy a piece of recreational equipment, that the government has some responsibility to provide you with a place to use it.
    Furthermore, I see this as an attack on the private citizens of Chaffee County as we are forced to share our roads to unlicensed, uninsured vehicles, and are left to fend for ourselves in the quagmire of the legal world should a OHV/licensed vehicle accident occur.

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  2. Michael Haynes

    Could not agree more! Commissioners, listen to your constituents, you know, the ones who live here... not the OHV crowd who want to trailer in, raise the dust all weekend then trailer out leaving the mess.

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  3. Brenda Wiard

    Less noise and dust is better. Let's limit OHV use and prevent our area from being overrun with motors like poor Moab, St. Elmo, and the Taylor reservoir area.

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  4. Cutler Ferchaud

    I can't believe that elected officials choose to ignore the people who voted for them. Do they not realize why they are where they are? Impeachments and recalls are happening more often these days. Pay attention you idiot commissioners.

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  5. Jim Rees

    Bill, I couldn't have said it better. It seems to me the commissioners, and the chair in particular, wish to drag the OHV issue on and on until they can get the decision with which the chairman will be pleased. That is certainly not representing the wishes and needs of the county, nor does it demonstrating the type of leadership which the residents of Chaffee County expect of their elected officials.

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  6. Terry Deveney

    Totally agree with Brenda Ward. Actually, totally agree with everyone so far!

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  7. Paige Judd

    I think Jim Rees hit the nail on the head when he said the commissioners appear to want to "drag the OHV issue on and on until they can get the decision with which the chairman will be pleased." It's like doing surveys until the respondents tell you what you want to hear.

    I hope that if more community input meetings are scheduled, that the following two things happen. 1) The commissioners actually attend the meetings rather than send a proxy. 2) The meetings are scheduled on evenings or weekends rather than during the Monday thru Friday work week. It will be easier for those of us in the working class to attend if the meetings are not during the hours that most of us are trying to make a living.

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  8. jer graves

    i'm surprised that people are surprised that they're being ignored by thier elected "officials"...really? in this day and age?

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  9. katherine mccoy

    Here's an email I just sent to the County Commissioners about the upcoming OHV public hearings. I encourage anyone that shares this concern to also email or call the Commissioners.

    Dear Commissioners Holman, Geise and Potts,

    We respectfully ask you to reconsider the July 7 date for the two public hearings on the OHV on county roads question, announced in the Mountain Mail today.

    We greatly appreciate your concern to find a more convenient meeting time for the public.

    Unfortunately a summer weekend is not convenient for a very large proportion of Chaffee County's citizens. And Saturday July7 is the 3rd or 4th MOST BUSY Saturday of the summer, surpassed only by Memorial Day and Labor Day Saturdays.

    Many families have already scheduled family trips or recreation get-togethers. Many working people are taking the entire week off and adding the bookend weekends as a vacation.

    But an even greater conflict is experienced by the very large proportion of Chaffee citizens that work in retail, recreation and tourism businesses and services. SATURDAYS ARE HUGE – think of the rafting companies, OHV supply and rental, mountain bike shops, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, liquor stores, gas stations, auto parts stores, motels, B&Bs, commercial campgrounds, clothing boutiques, gift shops, hardware stores, plant nurseries, museums – and even Walmart, Alco and Family Dollar. All of these owners and employees need to work on one of the busiest days of the year and cannot spare 4 or 8 hours to attend these hearings. And EMS, Search and Rescue and outdoor volunteers already have commitments to serve the public that day.

    Your original idea of a WEEKDAY NIGHT was SO MUCH BETTER for all of us that serve the public. Please reschedule to a less busy weeknight after the July 4th mega-week.

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  10. Jay Moore

    Unlike what has made it to the street, compliments of the Mail, the City Council of Salida, unlike Buena Vista, did not, and does not oppose the opening every single county road to OHV's. We are only opposed to the opening of 173, 175, 176, 181, 182 184, 185. All of these are near Salida and have the potential to affect the many trails around the city. Our local constituents made this quite clear to Council.

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  11. Citizen Team

    Regarding the scheduling of (more) meetings on this topic, please consider that one of the motivations for The Salida Citizen was to create a venue that would allow people to comment on issues. These comments are then easily available for review by our elected officials.

    To this point, thanks to Councilmen Moore for the clarification above.

    If you can attend the meetings that's great. In the mean time, be assured that we will send this article to the commissioners so they will see the comments. With this in mind, feel free to forward the URL of this story, copied below to everyone you know so they may also comment.

    Thanks for caring. -bd

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  12. Cynda Green

    From my experience in Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County, political bodies such as the County Commissioners have a propensity to schedule important public hearings at inconvenient times. I don't think it's a coincidence. I was hoping for more transparency in Salida...

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  13. Lee Hart

    "Residents have voiced their opinions through a valid democratic process, and their voices are being ignored."
    Yet again.
    Perhaps they need hearing aids. The audacity to reject resolutions from the county's two municipalities defies more than logic. It goes against the good old-fashioned neighborly common sense values these guys pretended to revere when they ran for office.
    And can we please refrain from Nestle references. My blood still boils about that complete and total miscarriage of public process. Hey, anyone notice the farm land that's been dried up and put up for sale thanks to Nestle. (evident even before this drought took hold) Starting to make the 285 corridor around Nathrop look more like the dust bowl corridor in the San Luis Valley.
    It's like these commissioner are on a scorched earth campaign in a last desperate attempt to keep 21st century governance and planning approaches at bay.
    And as for a holiday weekend meeting . . . anyone consider that perhaps that could be the most convenient meeting time for the folks the commissioners are trying to please to come to town to pack the hearing. Time will tell.

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  14. Mike Lakritz

    as chair of summit county's countywide planning commission and a good friend of bill's and also both an avid motocrosser as well as non-motorized trail user (mtb, hike, fish etc) i feel like quickly chiming in...

    as a motocrosser i have worked for many years up in summit to help manage our motorized trail network. i want to make a quick distinction between local mx'ers/quad riders who regularly ride the trails and our fully maintained and county sanctioned mx track during the week, and the crazy number or weekenders who come into town, usually on quads. there IS a distinction as the local motocross groups have actively worked with the mtb groups, the forest service and the county to create a fairly well managed plan to keep motorized users happy and the rest of the trail users happy as well.

    let's be honest, motorized and non-motorized do not generally mix well on the same trails. summit county planners, commissioners, trail groups etc have worked hard to try to segregate uses as much as possible and provide enough access and great terrain (a fully maintained outdoor style motocross track, motorized single track and fire roads and trails) for the motorized users so they always feel like there is plenty of access and variety and skill levels to ride.

    we had many a public hearing, many meetings bringing various trail use groups together and everybody worked TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY to find a good balance for everybody involved. Are there people unhappy on both sides? sure, but this has been working pretty well in summit for a number of years. and now with the managed track (no different than any bike park or pump track) it just adds to the options for a user group that doesn't always mix well with the general public and allows them to do their thing with minimal impact to other trail users.

    now, there is a whole 'nother issue with the out of towner weekend 4 wheeler groups and even more so with the hunter groups that are using quads in numbers that nobody could ever have predicted. sadly, these groups who do not always understand the etiquette or rules or access restrictions here have been a much greater source of problems and conflicts than most of the local ohv and mx users. there are of course problem users in every group, but what we have created in summit county is working pretty well and we have a lot of happy trail uses of all types.

    having a county commissioner just stick his finger in the public's eye on issues like this is really quite sad and pathetic and an abuse of the position as an elected official. listen to your constituents, work with them, try to find solutions that really work for the many different groups and businesses and the people in YOUR community.

    but opening all public roads to ohv use? there's no way that can work, especially in a community like yours.

    mr, holman, you don't seem to understand your position very well. you are elected to represent your community, not push an agenda that goes counter to the views of what seems to be a large majority. find a better way to manage ohv use in your county instead of creating a motorized free-for-all.

    and though i don't know you at all, please don't take offense when i say you sort of sound like a dick. (i followed the nestle issue closely as well)

    sincerely, summit county countywide planning commissioner chair,

    -mike lakritz

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  15. Mike Smith

    This began as a fairly straightforward process to determine if additional county roads should be opened for OHV use. If this process had been followed and effective leadership had prevailed, then we’d be done. No additional roads would be opened.

    In announcing the additional meetings to discuss opening ALL county roads to OHV use, Bob Christiansen, director of general administration, said “This is kind of an elongated process. This is almost the end of the beginning.” No further explanation was offered. So now, the process has degraded to let’s make it up as we go until we can figure out how to just do what we want.

    This is not effective leadership and this is not representative government. The lack of respect for all of the input received continues to be amazing, and this arrogance seems to be systematic throughout the Chaffee County administration.

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  16. Katherine McCoy

    Just a footnote to Mike Smith's preceding comment (and to all the other good points):
    "The lack of respect for all of the input received continues to be amazing, and this arrogance seems to be systematic throughout the Chaffee County administration."

    I'm in complete agreement that our elected County Commissioners seem to regard public input as irrelevant.

    But I would also like to support the County Staff that I've had the pleasure to work with in recent years. They work hard and are infinitely patient, while each fills two or three job descriptions due to staff reductions. It appears that County staff are also experiencing the same lack of respect and poor leadership from the Commissioners.

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  17. Billy Carlisle

    Access to County Roads
    Chaffee County is in the middle of a huge amount of public land. Most of us moved here so we could enjoy the recreation opportunities that abound in the National Forests and other public lands around us. The pioneers that came here before us came to make a living in and around these lands. We will be land locked in our communities by the extreme environmentalist, if we stand by and let them do it to us. Chaffee County is 80 to 85% public land. What will it do to your lifestyle as larger and larger blocks of that land become inaccessible by road? Why is a four-wheeler or jeep any less worthy to use our county roads than a hiker or a cyclist? The extreme environmentalist do not have science on their side; they will never the less continue with their tantrums until they drive us out of the forests. Who has decided and by what process that rafting and kayaking are ok, and four-wheeling is not? Who will be leading the charge whey the hikers want the bicyclers out of the forest, and off our roads?
    The interests that are pushing the agendas to keep ordinary people out of the forests are elitists that jet set the globe and have common folks like us carry their gear around for them, when they visit the forests. They make big donations to liberal politicians and then use the leverage that money gives them to take public lands away from the common people. The National Forests and other public lands were set aside for protection, yes, but also to be there for the generations that followed to enjoy. Think of the things you enjoy about rural living in Colorado, and then think how you will react when the eco-freaks decide your use is no longer acceptable to them.
    Camping and hiking become harder to accomplish when you can’t get your gear and your family to the edge of the forest. People with money have the time and specialized gear to overcome these problems. Quad runners can be the common man’s horse. Why wouldn’t we want ranchers and working class people to have access to our county roads? Why would we think they should have less access than horses, bicycles and jeeps?
    There are plenty of Wilderness areas, National Forests, and Bureau of Land Management parcels where rugged people can hike and camp in obscurity and privacy. I believe further restrictions on these lands will make them inaccessible to average folks and ultimately ruin them. One day we will lament that our children and grandchildren have no interest in our forests. It will be because we cut ourselves off from the forest to make them play grounds for the well-off who can hire rafting guides and horse guides to take them in. You will not always be single, young and in top shape. The restrictions we allow will find us all eventually.
    Billy Carlisle, Salida, CO Citizen

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    • cory

      You're mudding the waters by mixing in jeeps and OHVs. The registration, licensing, and legal requirements are dramatically different. My point is that the folks who live here are being asked to share the road with non-insured vehicles and the commissioners are deciding whether or not we have to swallow this risk.

      Ultimately, they are choosing recreational welfare at the skin of our backs. If you want to by an OHV, fine...but don't come to uncle sam with your hand out expecting a place to play with your toy.

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  18. Bill Smith


    As yet, I don't think there has been a proposal to restrict OHVs. At least I haven't seen one presented, although I am sure there are some folks thinking about it. You talk about further restrictions, but that is not what I have been hearing from folks. What I have heard isn't about further restrictions, but keeping things the way they are today. I think it is disingenuous and a distraction to make this about further restrictions.

    There are trails all over the county and on each on different access is allowed, sometimes no bikes, sometimes no horses....

    The question we are dealing with is County Roads. Not "taking public land away from us." (which is not a liberal plan, but rather a tea party plan - to sell off public land to private interests.)

    Let's keep on topic.


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  19. Billy Carlisle

    The contention that the commissioners have not had nor scheduled meetings for public input is incorrect and the statements to that effect are unfair. There have been several meetings out near the places where the affected roads and communities are. There will be meetings Saturday the 7th. I have seen occasions when the commissioners scheduled additional meetings to make sure all voices were heard. Some of us may be disatisfied with the out come of all of this, but to say that we have not been heard is dishonest. Personally I think all the same complaints could be levied against bicyles, horses, and dirt bikes as I am hearing about Quad runners. However, I think any of these folks can share low volume low speed county roads if they operate courteously and lawfully.

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  20. cory

    I agree that the attacks on the public meetings as somehow nefarious are misguided. It takes much more effort to be a commissioner than to type your thoughts on to a local blog. Of the above folks who are making this about the commissioners, I see none of them running for office or organizing a recall. Some even brought up Nestle. Plenty of people were upset about the decision. Plenty of time has passed, but very few signed up as candidates or to organize a recall. So it goes. I guess it's more fun to just talk about it.
    I also agree the complaints about one form of transport can be levied against the others. In fact, complaints about crowds, dust, noise and trailers are the same reasons brought forth for the closing of the Crest trail to bikers. So it goes.
    Ultimately, laws are in place for all these forms of travel. It is not about limiting access for any one of these groups, it is about one group asking for a hand out from our local commissioners while the citizens of Chaffee County will have to bear the increased risk and associated costs. So it goes.

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  21. Billy Carlisle

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Cory. I don't buy your thought about special treatment or a hand out, however. Roads are a complex issue and I wish I understood them better. I do think fairness does mean that all citizens should have reasonable access to roads. I think about Amish and their buggies. They probably are not very compatible with others in their area because they move slower than cars. As a society, we have thought commerse and fairness depended on equal access to roads. I agree with that concept, even if, I have not made it clear in this writing. The expense issue you raise I differ with. Our county is financed mostly by sales taxes and a lot of those are paid by outsiders. The ATV crowd shops and eats just like the rest of us and I suspect they pay their freight in the form of sales taxes. They are not soliciting hand outs; at least, I do not think they are.

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  22. Billy Carlisle

    Bill Donovan, obviously you are entitled to your opinion and it is nice that their is a format available here for public discourse about important community issues. Your opening comment appears to be judgemental, biased, and unfounded attack. "County Commissioners Making a Joke of OHV Discussions". Some of the disclaimers you made on this site, I am guessing your chose the words, seem to be ignored by your own blog. I think that very heading lacks civility and fairness. Re-read your own disclaimer and tell me if you think your opening invitation and blog honor the spirit of "Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic, be responsible, share your knowledge, and please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. Real names are appreciated, but not required." The commissioners put a lot of work into this process. I don't think they are joking around. Your comment about Nestle was incorrect and prejudicial and incorrect. The commissioners did not sell off Chaffee Co. water. The people that leased or owned the right to use the water sold it, if anyone did. Colorado water law allows for that. Many think our water laws in Colorado are the best in the country. I hope theyare right.

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  23. Doc Sarvis


    I am going to take issue with one comment you made. "The commissioners put a lot of work into this process." I think that is the problem. The commissioners have not put a lot of work into this, the public has. The public showed up to the meetings. The commissioners did not. Staff put together a report, a very detailed report, and from their comments, one has to believe, the commissioners read it and did not understand it, didn't read it or read it and ignored it.

    Now they want to have another meeting and this time they will show up and listen to the public. But the public has already done this and now are asked to do it again, exactly because the commissioners did not put work into it the first time.

    From the folks I have talked to this is one of the biggest complaints.

    Another is that there is no way anyone could read the staff report and walk away thinking that a majority, or even a significant minority, would support opening all roads in the county to OHV. The report was clear in that the majority of speakers were against opening more County Roads to OHV.

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  24. Billy Carlisle

    Doc Sarvis, I take your points. I just don't think the commissioners necessarily need to be at everyone of those work sessions for work to be done and public comment to be gathered. The process is still ongoing. What I am seeing appears to be thorough and thoughtful.

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  25. Bill Donavan

    Billy, I appreciate the criticism, but I stand by the headline.

    With others I have helped create The Citizen. However, on occasion I also post pieces (with my name on them) as opinions. My apologies if the line is not as clear as it could be. Mr. Holman had to go in front of the county engineer, whose employment he oversees, for approval of a gravel pit because he wanted to dig a hole...wait, maybe that's a bad example. My point is that it's a small town and our rolls can seem fuzzy sometimes. You and I have sparred in Tai Kwon Do many times right? The Citizen is steeped in metaphor and irony.

    To suggest that opening all county roads to OHV use is a logical next step (regardless of the extensive work already done by our municipalities through a public process) is ridiculous. I moved here from extremely conservative OHV-centric NW Montana, and even those good ol boys would appreciate that opening all county roads to OHV use is an unworkable proposal, and in this case, represents a blatant disregard for public process.

    If you want to keep fighting this my friend, reach out to me offline as these are old fights in the west amigo. Segregation of user groups is a decades old solution that works. Do some homework please.

    Billy, I am proud of my community for using democratic, civil and very public processes to resolve contentious issues, so when that process is apparently thrown out the window by an elected official who (one can only presume) has a special interest, I get angry, then I get curious. Then, my wife gets angry because I do things like start online citizen journalism web sites.

    Mr. Holman's seat is up for re-election this fall. So, hearing from him on this topic would be enlightening. The primary issue is that there are constituents who feel their views are not being heard.

    It's fair to ask why, and accurate to say we had a public process that created a workable solution.

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  26. Linda Houle

    My family depends on our ATV s for working on our ranch and as is, part of our ranch is Split by the County Roads so we have to go across or down part of the county road to take care of our fields, fences, hay field's and livestock every day of the year. We do not speed or create dusts, we are trying to work. I know of a LOT of other ranchers that are doing the same exact thing.. We pay our taxes, buy our licenses for our ATV's so why can't we use them on the County Roads like everyone else? I will support all of our commissioner's and what ever decision that THEY make. It is not just one person, there are 3 that have to come to this decision. And by the way, THEY did not sell the Water to Nestle, That water right was Privately owned by another individual that had sold the water to Nestle YEARS ago. And Nestle has been a very good Neighbor to us, and the Answer is Yes I live very close to Nestle up here in Buena Vista.

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  27. Billy Carlisle

    The process seems thorough and ongoing. Bill, you are right to say I don't know all the history. I don't know much about how it is done in other municipalities. I am just working from my own logic, from what I have seen, and from a sense of fariness. Saying that there is no process or the process has not fully explored allowing for hearing citizens views on the matter is just not true. The process has been extensive already and is still ongoing. Calling the process a joke bears no resemblance to what is ongoing. Fairness again; Things have been said about the Quads, being slow, dusty noisy etc. Where are the comparisons. Biclyclers and horses are slow, and dirt bikes are noisy. What is it about Quads that makes folks want to pick on them. I have been jeeping and hiking in Chaffee for 7 years. I have not ever been bothered by a Quad driver, nor have I seen evidence of terrain abuse by the Quads. I have never seen one in use in an unathorized area or off road. I have seen a couple of places where Quad activity in the distant past might have been a problem. That by the way could have been jeeps or dirt bikes just as easily. Just saying I have not been here long enough to know the history, but I am not observing any current abuses. Education and reasonable regulation is the way to handle those issues, not prohibition. Just saying, I do not want to say anyone is being dishonest, but the comments about Quads seem a little over the top compared to what I am seeing. Do you think some of the critisms may be exagerated?

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  28. Steve Edman

    Both Linda H. and Billy C. claim that the county wants to ban OHV's used for agricultural purposes from county roads. Is this the issue before the commissioners?

    I'd assumed that the ban would be for recreational OHV's only.

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  29. Jenny Davis

    The use of OHVs for agricultural purposes on public roads is protected by state statute. When the Commissioners first opened some county roads to OHVs in 2005, the ordinance specified that it was not intended in any way to limit the use of OHVs for ag purposes on any county road.

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  30. Pat McGinley

    To all, My wife (Betty) & I spend as much as time outside as possible. We are to the point, that we do not have the time it takes to hike to places like we did in the past. So we bought a four seater UTV. We do not tear the up roads, we do not cause a dust clouds. We simply drive to our goal and go from there.. Our two dogs have their own seat behind us and are keep very safe though out our journey. So please not put us in the group that most OHV guys say are unsafe and damage the environment, we are not.
    Unfortunately I must work for a living and cannot attend any of the meetings and voice my views. I hope there are people that see the other side of the coin that ATV & UTV owner/operators are not all that bad and do care.
    Pat/drive on Ranger

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  31. Steve Stewart

    This has been said many times, but it bears repeating:
    1.The County is not considering any kind of new ban on OHV use on trails.

    2. OHVs for agricultural uses (farming and ranching) are currently allowed on County Roads and will still be allowed whatever the county chooses to do for recreational uses of OHVs

    3. What they have proposed is opening up ALL County roads to UNLICENSED recreational OHVs by ATV riders who do not need any kind of driver's license to ride them. So, theoretically, a 10 year old will be within his or her right to pilot a 500-1800 pound vehicle capable of going 45-60mph on County roads, without any insurance, training, or need for license. Makes perfect sense to me.

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  32. Billy Carlisle

    Scott and Steve, apologies for the long reply, but these do include my responses to your comments.
    I think wise use and protection of our natural resources makes all the sense in the world. I also think that environmental protections are very important. The problem that we have is that the extremist in environmental movement are destroying the environment by taking too extreme a view. One example is how our National Forests are currently being not managed. They have become huge store houses of combustible fuel. Sensible harvest in our forest would keep the fuel loads down and make forest fires easier to control. Another example would be the beetle kill areas. Those areas could be harvested and generous areas around them harvested. The beetles could be controlled but the environmentalists are standing in the way of that. Instead we will get to watch them go up in smoke. Young forests, by the way, generate more oxygen and more harvestable wild life surpluses. I believe that reasonable use of forest resources is the best way to preserve and keep forests health. This would also be an economic boon to the mountain west. I think the extremist in the environmental movement are loving our forests to death, because they are unwilling to accept that timber management is in the best interest of man and the natural environment around man.
    Neglecting our forests is wasteful, but it will also generate a generation that no longer feels itself a part of the natural environment. Keeping the citizens who own the forests out of the forests with wilderness designations and road closings will just put us on a path of benign neglect. In the extreme, I think it could do worse (I hope not), and we could come to loath the people who hope to protect our natural resources. Don’t think me extreme; there are examples of this in Africa. Perhaps we are smarter, but I don’t think we can count on that 100%. There have been countries in Africa where wildlife populations have been devastated right under the noses of the wardens who were fighting to protect them. There are better models where the human populations around preserves become caretakers of the preserves and learn renewable harvest techniques. Education has been more effective than prohibition. It will take all of us to protect the wild lands in the mountain west. Those on the extreme end of the protection movement will be viewed as a bunch of elitists who want to narrowly protect their own uses to the exclusion of the common man’s interests and his needs to make a living. We will make a serious mistake if we continue on this path. The environment will become a battle zone, instead of common ground in which can cooperate.
    I think efforts to limit forest access and close roads in the forest are another facet of over protection. The rhetoric about Quad-Runners has been prejudicial and derogatory. I think this is unnecessary name calling and I think it is dishonest. I spend a lot of time in the mountains hiking and camping. Surely I would have seen these marauding bands of dust churning vagabonds, if they existed. They are not there. I am not sure who exactly wants to keep the Quads off our county roads, but I think there motives are selfish.
    Roads and access are big parts of our common law. Reasonably regulating road use is one thing, but I think singling out a group, like the Quad Runners, and denying them access cuts against the tradition in common law and the law of the land in our country that has maintained fair access for all. Quad-Runners can meet all of the conditions for motorized access, and this cannot be argued for bicycles or horses. Those of us that have been watching out for tractors, horses, buggies, bicycles, and pedestrians for 40 or 50 years cannot understand what it is that makes Quad-Runners particularly dangerous or undesireable.

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  33. Jim Brooks

    As for Nestle,,,
    Their trucks and pumps could be a huge asset to fightiing
    any local forest fire situations..

    As for county road access:
    If there is no age limitation, no license, no regulation and no insurance
    you are on a BICYCLE OR WALKING.
    If your in or on a motorized and licensed vehicle,(OHV'S HAVE A STATE LICENSE STICKER), insured, drivers license, subject to vehicle laws and regulations by statute. Why shouldn't a reasonalbe operator be allowed on dedicated county roads?
    The only danger they present in a accident is to bicycles and walkers,
    Accidents between ohv's any other vehicles..."OHV's LOSE" !
    Thanks for reading..
    Jim B...

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    • cory

      So Jim...
      An OHV crashes into my car and the guy dies and you'll pay the damage?
      Promise to foot the bill for the extra enforcement as well?
      Maybe you can buy all the local law enforcement officers binoculars so they can read the sticker on the OHV's....

      Food for thought: If I'm on an ATV want to get away from a police officer in any of their cruisers, that's not going to be a problem...

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  34. Laura Donavan

    ATVs are difficult to control on paved roads. (read any ATV-OHV manual to understand why or just look it up online) Collisions with cars and other vehicles have also led to many fatalities involving ATVs operated on paved roads. About one-third of ATV-related deaths and injuries are to children under 16 years old. Like other activities involving speed and heavy machinery, riding an ATV can be dangerous and certain behaviors will increase the risk of injury or death. (

    OHV's are loud. New OHV's sold in Colorado cannot exceed 96 decibels how loud is 96 decibels? A car traveling at 65mph (from 30 ft) is only 70 decibles. An OHV is 4 times as loud as that (think power mower, jackhammer, or freight train (at 45 feet)

    My home is in a neighborhood on a county road. A couple kids in the neighborhood sneak their ATV's out occasionally and drive the streets. They don't do it very often but you know when they're tearing it up. There are hundreds of miles of roads set aside already for OHV riders. Not EVERY county road in Chaffee County needs to be another OHV area. It is hard to imagine the impact that allowing OHV's on Cty Rd 162 (St Elmo) and 306 (Cottonwood Pass) would have on everyone.

    Will the sheriff's department be able to enforce OHV safety and regulations with their current budget? We are already experiencing an EMS crisis in the county. What might additional accidents mean to an already taxed system?

    This isn't about ranchers driving across the street to access their fields, or whether all OHV/ATV riders are nice people and obey the laws and are licensed and insured, or that I'm some elitist mom with a couple kids in a (currently) quiet, rural neighborhood, it's about common sense and public safety.

    Regulations are in place for reasons already researched and enforced by the state, and safety is a large part of the program.

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  35. Billy Carlisle

    Laura, yours is the best argument for your side I have heard yet. Yours may, however, be a minority view. I have been asking everyone I know and some I don't know what they think about this whole thing. The consensus I am getting is that a few fringe liberals including quiet use, have decided they do not want there peace and quiet disturbed. Peace and quiet is a reasonable expectation, but you don't have compelling evidence in my view that the ATVers, pose an unreasonable threat to your expectations for peace and quiet. I liked that used facts. The fact that their is a particular rule for ATV noise makes me think that there are at least some ATVs that operate at lawful noise levels. Thanks for providing that information for my side of the argument. I spend a lot of time in areas where ATVs are likely to operate. I meet or pass them on the trails occasionally, I have not found their sound levels unusual or annoying. Maybe I only encountered the normal ones who were operating thier vehicles at safe speeds. Maybe the houligans have converged on your neighborhood. I just don't think your and my personal experiences settle the matter. If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, how much noise did it make. I hope the studies that the county officials are conducting take population density and conjestion into consideration. On the congested roads maybe we should have a lottery to see who gives up their use, rock paper stick maybe. I hope you do not think those comments flippant. It still comes back to whose rights are righteous and ligitimate. In a free society I think we should make reasonable efforts to accomodate bicycles, pedestrians, buggies, horses, cars, jeeps, ATVs, dirt bikes and so on. Who has to give up his rights so that someone else can maintain his particular preferred speed without interference from slowing critters and noisy machines.

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  36. Citizen Team

    It appears the discussion about public representation has been trumped by your collective desire to discuss OHV safety. Let's move the discussion about OHV/quads to Cynda Green's Op-Ed piece.

    If you choose to argue that there is a radical environmental agenda from elitists who wish to lock you out of the woods, please consider that (most Citizen readers) understand that OHV users come in all stripes. Let's recall that nobody is trying to outlaw them in Chaffee County, and there has been a good balance with good communication from users and non-users —until Commissioner Holman presented an unworkable scenario.

    If you would like to discuss Mr Holman's odd lack of representation on this issue, please comment below.

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  37. cory

    Good one Bill! I almost bit. Move the meeting...reschedule...further meetings....shift disussion to another post....
    Your own joke of the OHV discussion :-)
    Intended or not, I laughed outloud!

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  38. Billy Carlisle

    I am all for going over to Cynda's blog. She will be infinitely more fun to talk to than this ongoing banter with Cory. See you there, Billy

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  39. Cynda Green

    I am a writer who researches my investigative pieces. I try to bring common sense to the emotional fray that is way too often initiated by the actions of local bureaucrats. I prefer that my op-ed piece, ("Commissioners Needlessly Chafing Constituents") mentioned and linked to above in the Citizen Team comment, not be referred to as a "blog". Thank you.

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  40. Billy Carlisle

    I really wanted to comment on your Fibark Review. Sometimes those reviews live on and may be used to promote the future evente. It was good and I was glad I got to read it. Billy

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  41. George Hayduke

    Unlike automobiles or trucks, ATVs have handlebars and they do not have rack & pinion power assist steering so it is impossible to stay in your lane while rounding a corner or turning above 20 mph. This causes the ATV to cut into oncoming traffic. Since 4 wheel motorcycles can be safely operated on county roads (if the operator rides slowly ) they should have license plates, turn signals, registration and insurance like all other motor vehicles and the operator should hold the appropriate drivers' license. If our county commissioners acquiesce to special interests creating a safety hazard for existing legal motorists then it is our responsibility to vote them out of office.

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  42. Jim B

    I find it curious that we don't have more accidents with ATV vehicles
    on the existing legal county roads..
    Maybe they know their capability.
    Anyway, its safer on an ATV on county roads than on a bicycle in
    the city of Salida. Especially at night..

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