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Expansion of Phil's World Bike Trails Remains In Limbo

Bureau of Land Management
Creative Commons

The Bureau of Land Management has not decided yet whether to move forward with its planned expansion of the increasingly popular Phil’s World bike-trail system east of Cortez. In February, neighbors of the site filed a petition for a stay and a notice of appeal. On Tuesday, BLM recreation planner Jeff Christenson of the Tres Rios Field Office told the Cortez City Council that the Interior Board of Land Appeals will decide by the end of April whether to grant the stay or move forward with the expansion, long sought by cycling aficionados. Christenson said a handful of neighbors of the site have concerns about how doubling the length of the current trails would affect wildlife, in particular mule deer. They worry that deer will be pushed onto private land, causing damage. They say the population is already in decline and increased numbers of trail-riders will further harm it. But Christenson said an environmental analysis found there would be no significant impact because the affected area is only about .1 percent of critical range for deer in this area. Christenson also told the council that the BLM is gearing up for the annual 12 Hours of Mesa Verde Mountain Bike Rice, coming to Phil’s World on May 12th . Christenson said when the race began in the 1990s, it drew about 50 participants. Now organizers turn people away when the number of competitors reaches 900.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal, and was the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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