The U.S. Forest Service is seeking public comment on the proposed construction of a wooden hut for recreational use by bicyclists during the spring and summer.
The temporary structure, proposed for the north side of the La Sal Mountains, would be part of a developing mountain-biking system linking southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado.The shelter would be built by San Juan Hut Systems of Telluride, Colo., which applied this spring to the district ranger office of the Manti-LaSal National Forest for a permit to assemble a hut in the Fisher Mesa area.
The company last year erected a tent shelter in the Fisher Mesa area as part of the system, said Pat Spahr, district forester.
Spahr said the hut system takes bicyclists from Telluride onto Uncompaghre Mesa to Gateway. The route drops into Brown's Canyon, then climbs to Fisher Mesa above Castle Valley. From there, the trail connects with the Sand Flats Road east of Moab, where the BLM maintains the Slickrock Bike Trail.
"There's a lot of mountain biking going on here, and I think it's a neat deal to be able to put together a trip like that," Spahr said. "It expands the possibilities, the options, for people coming here to bike."
The permit would allow construction of a single hut measuring 16 by 16 feet wide and 13 feet high, for occupancy of 10 or fewer people. Self-contained toilet facilities would be built next to the hut, and the developer would be required to remove all human waste and dismantle all structures in the fall.
"This is a minimal structure, so the main thing we're looking at (in terms of impact) is the health and safety of people using the hut and toilet facilities and water," Spahr said.
"We need to make sure access to the hut is minimal, so we're not building a road or anything to the hut. Also, we're looking at moving it every year so that the site doesn't get beat down."
Spahr said a specific site has not been selected and ideas are welcome.
The hut system would be available for general use by the public for a fee. Reservations and arrangements for payment of fees would be handled by the company.
To comment or request more information, write: Pat Spahr, District Forester, Manti-LaSal National Forest, 125 W. 200 South, Moab, UT 84532; or call 259-7155.