Glade Run has been the site of conflict between off-road vehicle users, mountain bikers and others. The area receives 30,000-35,000 user days a year and hosts three to five major events, according to the agency.
A public meeting to be held March 21 is likely to be the last before the agency issues its final Glade Run recreation and travel management plan. The agency published a preliminary document online in late February.
Glade Run encompasses 21,544 acres, of which 17,935 are managed by the BLM.
"The Glade has been an important area for the community for a long time," said Gary Torres, field manager for the BLM's Farmington office.
It's a popular spot for mountain biking, attracting local residents and even cyclists from Colorado during the winter months. Many locals also enjoy driving ATVs, Jeeps or other motorized vehicles in the area.
Trail use conflicts have arisen in the past 10 years due to poor signage and inadequate trails for motorized vehicles such as ATVs. Many narrow trails enjoyed by mountain bikers have been widened by ATVs, Jeeps and other motorized vehicles.
The BLM's "preferred alternative" plan seeks to strike a balance between motorized and non-motorized users, Torres said. It groups different modes of transportation into zones— called recreation management zones, or RMZs — in order to reduce conflicts.
The preferred alternative would allow motorized use on 44 percent of Glade Run's existing routes.
"We did things that we felt balanced the use," Torres said.
The preferred alternative proposes to have 57 miles of two-track routes and 47 miles of single-track. The BLM expects use by both motorized and non-motorized visitors to increase under the plan.
Torres said the plan should reduce conflicts by using designated routes and better signage, visitor education and more accurate maps.
"Really it is much more helpful when it's clear to everybody where the activities are permissible," he said.
The plan may not please bicyclists or off-roading enthusiasts.
Mike Barnhart, service manager at Cottonwood Bicycles in Farmington, said motorized users tend to widen narrow biking trails. The only solution is to fence them out of certain areas, he said.
"There's plenty of land out there. I don't really understand why there can't be something put aside for a skinnier trail," he said. "What they have offered isn't really a solution."
Barnhart said he recently came upon a pole that had been pulled out of the ground by a four wheel-drive truck to gain access at the Kinsey Trailhead near Foothills Drive. He said off-road vehicles can enjoy the Glade, too, but they should be separated.
"It all has to be shared," he said.
Off-road vehicle advocates could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
The BLM expects to issue a final plan 30 to 60 days after the public comment period closes April 5.
"We're hopeful the public takes this seriously and provides meaningful comments, and we will respond to them," Torres said. "It's crucial they get involved in their public lands. Really the public can drive this by being involved."
Chuck Slothower may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4638. Follow him on Twitter @DTChuck
UPDATED with meeting info:
Glade Run open house
Room 9008 and 9010
Henderson Fine Arts Center, San Juan College
4-8 p.m. March 21
To access the BLM’s preliminary Glade Run planning document: www.blm.gov/nm/gladerunplan.
Public comments on the preliminary plan must be submitted to the BLM by April 5. Comments may be sent by email to BLM_NM_FFO_comments@blm.gov.
Comments may be mailed to Bureau of Land Management, Janelle Alleman, Outdoor Recreation Planner, GRRA R&TMP, 6251 College Blvd., Suite A, Farmington, NM 87402.
For more information, please contact Janelle Alleman at email@example.com or phone Bill Papich at 505-564-7620.