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Uncompahgre Field Office

  

Uncompahgre Field Office

RECREATION

  

Seeking shade on Sidewinder

 

Horseback ride in the UFO

 Mountain biking 
 

OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLES

OUTFITTERS & PERMITS

UFO HOMEPAGE

GUNNISON GORGE

RECREATION PASSES

Public lands within the UFO support a variety of land, water, and snow activities, including camping, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, rock climbing, off-highway vehicle use, and target shooting.  Local rivers and streams offer ample opportunities for boating and cold-water fishing, and attract high visitation from across the state and nationally.  Migrating and resident wildlife provide plentiful opportunities for observation, photography, and hunting (when area visitation typically peaks).


Visitation  &  Land  Use

The greatest number of recreational visits occur on BLM lands adjacent to communities.  The cities and towns of Montrose, Delta, Norwood, Paonia, Crawford, Hotchkiss, Cedaredge, Orchard City, Olathe, Ridgway, Telluride, Naturita, and Nucla are all near public lands commonly employed as “backyard” play areas by local residents.  This recreational use continues to expand exponentially along with the growth of the communities.  The communities benefit directly from the visitation and tourism associated with public lands. 

In fact, recreation has emerged as the predominant activity on local BLM lands and national forests.  Most data on public land use and activities is an approximation, relying heavily on field observations and the professional judgment of recreation specialists.  It is estimated that the UFO receives around 349,000 visits per year.

 

Recreation  Management  Areas

During land use planning, the BLM designates Special Recreation Management Areas (SRMAs), where recreation is the principle management focus, and funding and personnel are directed toward fulfilling the commitment to provide specific “structured” recreational opportunities.

The UFO currently manages two SRMAs: 

 

SRMA

LOCATION

ACRES

San Miguel River

Deep Creek to Piñon

39,367

Dolores River

(UFO portion)

UFO boundary to Bedrock

13,334

Any area not identified as an SRMA is designated as an Extensive Recreation Management Area (ERMA).  Within ERMAs, recreation is unstructured and does not require intensive management or significant investment in trails or facilities.  This type of custodial or “dispersed” recreation management provides minimal visitor services and few developed recreational facilities.

Comparison of ERMAs and SRMAs 

 

 

ERMA

SRMA

Management

Unstructured

No identifiable market demand for structured recreation

Structured

Tied to identified market demand for structured recreation (activities, experiences, benefits, and the maintenance of recreation setting character)

Objectives

Reactive & Custodial

Directed at taking care of dispersed recreation-tourism activities

Proactive

Directed at producing specific recreation opportunities/outcomes

 

Developed  Recreation  Facilities

In certain locations, the BLM has constructed recreation sites and facilities in order to enhance recreation opportunities, protect resources, manage activities, and reduce user conflicts.  These infrastructure developments range from campgrounds to simple bulletin boards at trailheads. 

Developed recreation sites occur mainly along the San Miguel River SRMA and in the Dolores River SRMA.  There are several campsites along the San Miguel River corridor which have boat ramps, changing rooms, cabanas and picnic tables, grills, kiosks, parking areas, and toilets.  The Dolores River SRMA has picnic tables, cabanas, parking area, boat ramp and a visitor information kiosk.

Other dispersed staging areas and trailheads in the UFO consist of kiosks, picnic tables, and parking areas, as well as one developed site along the Uncompahgre River with cabanas and picnic tables, informational signs, benches, toilet, and non-motorized paved trail.

 

Special  Recreation  Permits

The BLM requires special recreation permits (SRPs) for commercial uses, competitive events, organized groups, and recreation use within certain special areas in the UFO, including rivers, backcountry, and camping areas.  Most SRPs issued by the UFO are for river activities and upland hunt outfitting services.

The UFO currently has approximately fifty commercial permits issued, which include guided fishing, white water rafting, vehicle shuttles, big and small game hunting, mountain lion hunting, horseback trail rides, jeep and motorcycle tours, camping, archery tournaments and mountain bike rides.  Fifteen percent of SRP fees are expended on program administration, with the remainder going toward visitor services, monitoring, and maintenance.

Commercial Outfitters should visit the Commercial/Special Recreation Permits page prior to conducting activities in the UFO.  In addition, organized groups (including school groups) may have to obtain a river outfitter license from the state of Colorado.  Information about state requirements is available at:  parks.state.co.us/boating/riveroutfitterlicensing/ or by contacting the State of Colorado directly.


 

UFO RECREATION/TRAVEL MANAGEMENT MAP 3.4MB

UFO OUTFITTERS & PERMITS

BLM NATIONAL RECREATION

BLM COLORADO RECREATION

INTERAGENCY RECREATION PASSES

 

 Hiking Symbol

NATURAL CONSERVATION & WILDERNESS AREAS

Gunnison Gorge NCA and Wilderness

Dominguez-Escalante NCA

Dominguez Canyon Wilderness

Tabeguache Area

 

international boating symbol

RIVER ACTIVITIES

Gunnison Gorge

Lower Gunnison River

Dolores River -  BEDROCK TO GATEWAY

San Miguel River

Recreational Placer Mining

 

Camping Symbol

CAMPING

UFO Camping Areas

BLM Camping Regulations

 
international biking symbol

TRAILS

Buzzard Gulch Trail System

GGNCA Trails

Paradox Trail

Sidewinder Trail

Tabeguache Trail

 

Off Highway Vehicle Symbol

OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLES

OHV Information

UPDATED! Flat Top/Peach Valley Trail Brochure

Elephant Skin Off-Trail Issues 3.8MB

Travel Management

 

international auto touring symbol

SCENIC & BACKCOUNTRY BYWAYS

Grand Mesa

San Juan Skyway

Unaweep-Tabeguache

West Elk

Colorado Byways

 

 
 

Barbara Sharrow, Field Manager

bsharrow@blm.gov

Phone: (970) 240-5300  |  TDD: (970) 240-5366  |  FAX: (970) 240-5367

2465 S. Townsend Ave, Montrose, CO  81401

Office Hours: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Click on the address above for a map showing the location of

BLM Uncompahgre Field Office administrative headquarters

 

Whitewater Rafting