A group of 21 Republican lawmakers from the Senate and House sent a letter to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper May 20th calling on him to oppose a new BLM “travel plan” for parts of the Western Slope that could close up to 2,000 miles of rural roads or trails in Grand Junction and Mesa Counties. Lawmakers said that the restrictions “will have a potentially devastating impact on the regional economy, our legal rights and our heritage.” The letter-signers also asks Hickenlooper to protect the state’s economy and rights by withholding approval of the BLM plan. The letter stems from concerns the management changes are causing among Western Slope residents, elected officials and stakeholder groups — including advocates for the disabled — who see them as an unwarranted effort to limit access to areas where locals and visitors recreate, hunt and fish and, in some cases, make their livelihoods. Roughly 60 percent of the routes currently controlled by BLM’s Grand Junction office would be closed. And the plan’s 20 year duration means that any mistakes made now will be felt for decades. The letter stresses that all Coloradans have an interest in maintaining access to these lands, not just those living in or near Grand Junction, given how critical they are to the state’s economy and outdoors-oriented lifestyle.