Permanent road and campground closures possible at Turkey Rock, Colorado

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Colorado's South Platte area has some of the best granite climbing in the Rockies, not to mention easy access and great campgrounds. Access could change drastically in the years to come if climbers don't get more involved. The following posting comes care of Peter Gallagher, a longtime Colorado climber and Forest Service biologist: The current access status of Turkey Rocks is that the Cedar Mtn Road (Forest Rd 360) is closed and gated approximately 1/4 mile from the intersection with the Stump Rd. It is a 2- to 2.5-mile hike or bike ride each way to the rocks, depending on whether you cut through the Big Turkey Campground, or go up to the traditional parking area on the back-side.The US Forest Service has completed a roads analysis of the roads in this area, and is just beginning an environmental assessment (EA) to determine which roads will be permanently closed, and which will be kept open. In addition, an EA is being conducted to determine whether to de-commission 5 campgrounds within the burn area. These campgrounds are Big Turkey, Molly Gulch, Goose Creek, Wildhorn, and Trail Creek. The official comment period for the campgrounds has already passed, but you can still write and get your opinions on the public record up the point when a decision is signed by the Forest Supervisor. There was a public "scoping" period for the roads analysis in April (http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/psicc/hayres/scoping.doc), and there might be another for the EA - you should call the Hayman Restoration Team Office in Colorado Springs at (719) 264-6154 for information.I have received many calls, both at home and at work, regarding when — or if — the Cedar Mtn Road, as well as other climbing access roads, are going to open. I think I can fairly say that if you don't get involved in the process, you may not be happy with the outcome. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) affords you, the PUBLIC, the opportunity to participate in analysis of the factors that go into making these decisions on YOUR public lands. Decision alternatives are developed based upon ecological and socio-economic factors, AND from the responses the FS receives from YOU. Don't miss out on the opportunity. Don't be intimidated to call the office, but writing a letter is much better - it becomes an official document that is included in the administrative record of the EA. But, don't be a jerk, either. Well-thought-out and reasoned letters will serve the climbing community much more than a rant that can easily be dismissed as coming from some crack-pot. Believe me, I've tried a fair amount of ranting in my 13 years in the FS (those who know me know it just my nature), and it gets you absolutely nowhere with the decision makers.