The Town’s residents and guests enjoy multiple ways to access the White River National Forest (WRNF) from the Wildridge Community. Two points of access originate in Wildridge: Forest Service Road FSR 717.1B June Creek Spur, and FSR 7-779.1 Metcalf Creek. Both roads ultimately gain elevation and access to Red and White Road FSR 734 and a plethora of recreational opportunities above the Eagle River Valley.
Limited parking is available near the trailhead and sign at FSR 717.1B, accessed off June Creek Point Road. FSR 7-779.1 is managed as a level II road and recommended for high-clearance/4WD vehicles. There is a small amount of parking on the Town of Avon land (Tract I) below the forest boundary and little to no parking available alongside FSR 7-779.1 once you enter National Forest. Please refer to the Important Documents links on the right for the most recent Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) including seasonal dates for each road.
In the vicinity of Avon, winter motorized access to the White River National Forest is limited to FSR 774 connecting to FSR 717.1 June Creek. There are several non-motorized trails in the area. Please visit the WRNF webpage(External link) for further information.
We received dozens of public comments on Engage Avon between 2/23/2021 and 4/28/2021 that can be viewed here. Emails sent to Town Council regarding USFS Roads can be viewed here.
Access to forest land from 717.1B and 7-779 pre-dated the development of Wildridge and was unrestricted for a number of years. This timeline is intended to outline when, why, and how access has changed over the years:
2003 | WRNF begins Environmental Impact Statement process. This formal evaluation process was launched in advance of the 2005 Travel Management Rule, as a way to analyze all forms of travel on the White River National Forest Service. Alternatives to existing use patterns were documented in detail and the public process lasted over seven years.
2005 |Travel Management Rule(External link) approved by federal government. This regulation required forests to develop or update travel management plans. Once the TMP was completed/updated the annual Motor Vehicle Use Map could be issued. The MVUM is the regulatory instrument which designates a system of roads, trails and areas for motorized use by the class of vehicle and time of year. Non-motorized use is managed under other sets of special regulations. MVUM’s only apply to motorized use.
2006 | Town of Avon comments(External link) on the draft EIS. Among other detailed comments, the Town recommended against the decommissioning of FSR 7-779.1 as proposed in certain alternatives.
2011 |Record of decision (ROD)(External link) signed by WRNF supervisor in May. This forest supervisor’s decision included closure of FSR 7-779.1 to all motorized use and subsequent decommissioning. The Town of Avon appealed the ROD. With a negotiated resolution, signed in July 2011, the Town of Avon agreed to formally withdraw the appeal if 7-779.1 could remain open. Both parties agreed to work on a Memo of Understanding (MOU) in order to address resource issues, parking, and improvements. This ROD resulted in the mechanized closure of FSR 7-779.1 in the winter months.
2011 | The Town of Avon appealed the ROD(External link) closing USFS 7-779.1 in June. With a negotiated resolution(External link), signed in July 2011, the Town of Avon agreed to formally withdraw the appeal if 7-779.1 could remain open. Both parties agreed to work on a Memo of Understanding (MOU) in order to address resource issues, parking, and other improvements.
2014 |MOU(External link) signed by Town and USFS. This memo of understanding agreed to road improvements, construction of off-street parking, a process by which the Town would propose winter access, and on-going maintenance.
2019 | MOU expired. Other than the Town of Avon improving the road base within Tract I (Town-owned property at the top of Wildridge where FSR 7-779.1 begins) to and addressing drainage in the immediate vicinity of the trailhead, no other progress was made on the MOU. No scheduled maintenance of USFS 7-779.1 has taken place on forest service lands since at least 2011.
2021 | Request for Updated MOU with Town and USFS. The Town have requested an MOU to confirm the USFS has no plans to close FSR 7-779.1 for summer mechanized access.