Road closures pit county against Forest Service

Posted: Mar 29, 2011

Written by

Ed Quillen, High Country News

One Colorado county might be gearing up for a confrontation with the federal government over road closures on public land.

Montezuma County -- its seat is Cortez -- sits in the southwest corner of the state, and its sheriff, Dennis Spruell, told the Denver Post last week that he is pondering certain matters of conscience. Among them is whether he should issue tickets to U.S. Forest Service personnel who are closing back roads as part of a new travel management plan, and whether he should cut the locks on Forest Service gates that block vehicles. He says he'll do what his conscience tells him is right.

It might seem odd that people who live on land taken by the U.S. Army from Mexico, land that was surveyed by federal employees and acquired from the Utes by other federal employees, etc. would be talking about "encroachment." But there are some deeper theories that don't involve conspiracies. One such theory is that the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are unconstitutional.

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