New Camping Regs Set for Thunder Road, East Naturita Road
by Gus Jarvis
Oct 31, 2012 | 803 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Part of 2011 Thunder Trails Project Plan

NORWOOD – New camping regulations will go into effect on Thunder Road (Forest Service Road #609) Nov. 1, and the East Naturita Road (Forest Service Road #642), with camping within 300 feet on portions of the two roads restricted to designated campsites.

The new restrictions will apply to the entire length of East Naturita Road and a two-mile segment of Thunder Road. The seven miles of Thunder Road south of the designated camping segment are not subject to the new camping regulations.

Norwood District Ranger Judy Schutza said Tuesday that past off-road vehicle travel in the area damaged vegetation, created ruts and resulted in soil loss. By creating designated camping areas in the areas affected by the new restrictions, she hopes vegetation can rehabilitate, wildlife habitat be improved and vehicle travel managed.

The decision to enact these camping restrictions, along with the designation of two campsites,  was made in the September 2011 Thunder Trails Project decision, which included extensive public involvement and a year-long environmental analysis.

“This is a time of transition,” Schutza said. “People have camped wherever comfortable in the past, and there has been some overuse. By designating sites, it will be better for the vegetation, and minimize the impacts of wildlife.”

Along Thunder Road, two sites have already been designated for camping. In late summer 2013, an additional 10-15 sites will be identified within a new camping area.

“We designated existing campsites that people have used for years,” she said. “In addition to the 10 campsites that have been designated along the East Naturita Road, visitors will also be able to camp with their vehicles in the East Naturita Parking Area.”

Finally, the project will conclude with construction of 18 miles of new single-track trails and a parking area adjacent to Thunder Road. The district anticipates this work will be completed by fall 2014.

“We decided to designate the campsites before we would build the trails,” Schutza said. “We are looking at building the trails next summer. There’s going to be single-track multi-use trails that will be open for mountain bikes, for hiking, for motorcycles, and for equestrian use.”

The designated camping areas, Schutza said, are clearly marked and considered dispersed camping sites, meaning the only amenity provided at each camp is a fire ring.


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