On the Alien Trail in Aztec, N.M., mountain bikers ride through an oil field and pass a blaring pump jack that emits a haze of exhaust.
Could that scene play out at Phil’s World biking park? The BLM area could also be leased for oil-and-gas development.
But Montezuma County is taking steps to minimize impacts that development may have on the Cortez-area park.
“I would want restrictions at Phil’s World so industry development does not diminish the recreation experience,” said commissioner Larry Don Suckla. “That area is popular with families, provides outdoor recreation for the public, and attracts visitors that contribute to our economy.”
To protect the trails, the county is employing Colorado’s 1041 regulations enacted in 1974. The measure allows counties to regulate areas of state interest through a local permitting process.
“Phil’s World fits into that category and would allow us to put stipulations on development and maintain more control,” Suckla said. “If the community believes the current use is greater than oil and gas, then preserving recreation should take precedence.”
The goal is to find ways that recreation and development can co-exist.
The BLM also is proposing a master leasing plan for oil-and-gas development in La Plata and Montezuma counties, where local committees may determine if areas warrant additional regulation.
The plan formed after local bikers became concerned that development could hurt Phil’s World.
A proposal on a county permitting process for Phil’s World will take place at the planning and zoning meeting at 6 p.m. on Oct. 22. Any new rule would be in addition to the BLM permitting process for drilling.