Colorado county loses appeal over BLM road-closing plan

By Michael Doyle | 06/11/2024 01:35 PM EDT

The travel management plan closed 158 route miles of trails in Moffat County to off-highway vehicles.

A sign for Moffat County and Colorado.

Moffat County in Colorado is the state's second-largest county by area but has a population of only about 13,000 people. Jimmy Emerson, DVM/Flickr

An Interior Department panel has rejected an effort by Colorado’s sprawling Moffat County to challenge the Bureau of Land Management’s plan for roads and trails on nearly 350,000 acres.

While the county officials living in the state’s northwest corner contend the BLM’s “travel management plan” strangles access to ranching, energy resources and recreation opportunities, the Interior Board of Land Appeals concluded in a June 3 opinion that the county lacked the legal standing to file its challenge.

“Identifying resources and stating a need to access them does not demonstrate that the county has a legally cognizable interest, much less any injury to an interest caused by BLM’s decision,” the two-member IBLA panel stated.


The administrative law panel added that “although it claims that BLM’s decision limits needed access to agricultural land, minerals, water for grazing, and areas for hunting, [the county] does not identify who needs to access these resources for their use.”