8 Feb 2011, 9:48pm
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Protesters march against Forest Service

Demonstrators at Dolores office oppose road closures, travel plans

By Kimberly Benedict Cortez Journal, Durango Herald, February 05, 2011 [here]

DOLORES – Unsatisfied with progress being made through government channels, members of the public took matters into their own hands Friday, participating in a protest march against U.S. Forest Service actions on public lands.

Carrying picket signs and banners, more than 100 people marched from the intersection of Colorado highways 145 and 184 to the Dolores Public Lands Office, where a short rally was held to express public dissatisfaction with road closures and policy changes on public lands.

The event was organized by Doug and Kim Maxwell and Louie and Hellen Edwards. Officers from the Colorado State Patrol and Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office monitored the route.

“It’s one right after another the government is taking away, and it has got to stop,” Doug Maxwell said before the march began. “We want to possibly get national attention to the issue and get the whole nation to wake up to what is going on.”

Public discontent with Forest Service decisions has been growing in the wake of the release of the Mancos-Cortez and Rico-West Dolores travel management plans over the last four years. The fervor reached a new pitch last fall when the Forest Service released the Boggy-Glade travel management plan, which called for the elimination of motorized cross country travel and game retrieval and the closure of 155 miles of Forest Service roads.

Displeasure with the plan led Montezuma County commissioners to create the Public Lands Coordination Commission to study the impact of Forest Service decisions on the county.

“These are our public lands,” said Dennis Atwater, a member of the commission who spoke at the rally. “They are supposed to belong to the public, and the federal government cannot own these lands. This is not a short war. It is a long war. We are not asking for anything that doesn’t belong to us.” … [more]



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