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Sheriff Calls For Closure of Black Bear Pass After Latest Accident

Posted in News on August 3, 2015
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Photographers: Ken Brubaker

Black Bear Pass, a favorite trail among the Four Wheeler staff and countless off-road enthusiasts is now in jeopardy of being closed down. The Sheriff in San Miguel County, Bill Masters is calling for a permanent closure of Black Bear Pass to all motorized vehicles after a recent accident on the historic trail. Arguably one of the most awe inspiring scenic and challenging trail in the world draws thousands of wheelers every year, driving anything from rented Jeeps to full-tilt trail rigs over the tight switchbacks that suspend wheelers above the beautiful town of Telluride, Colorado.

While rigs often don’t make it out of Black Bear Pass unscathed, the latest mishap occurred when a couple from Florida rolled their vehicle off the side of the trail which left the trail closed for several hours while rescue teams were dispatched to extract the stuck couple. Reports say the Florida couple tried to turn around after coming to the famous “steps” and while avoiding a rock the driver says the embankment gave way causing the vehicle to slide off the road before rolling several times before finally coming to a stop on its roof. The local Search and Rescue team, EMS, Fire and the Sherriff’s department were on scene to extract the injured couple in 90 minutes.

One accident may not seem like a good enough reason to close a trail to everyone; but this one might be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Sheriff Masters said, “At this time of year we are seeing hundreds of vehicles traveling on this extremely hazardous terrain. It’s not safe, and it’s not safe for our community when all of our resources are tied up for an incident like this.” This isn’t the first time Sheriff Masters has been concerned with the increase in accidents and travel. Earlier this year he spoke out about the increased abuse of local campgrounds and increase in trash left in untarnished areas.

Hopefully the local 4x4 clubs, visitors and wheelers across the land can come together before these drastic measures are taken.


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