CREEDE— Mineral County Commissioners welcomed Sheriff Fred Hosselkus to the first of the month meeting on Jan. 2. Hosselkus, like other department heads, had very little to speak to commissioners about except some issues he has been dealing with in regard to ATV use on Forest Service roads that are usually closed for winter.
Hosselkus explained that his department recently responded to two incidents where ATV users were on Forest Service roads near Wolf Creek that have “over the snow” restrictions.
“Normally, these roads would be closed to vehicles this time of year, but because of the lack of snow, people can get back there,” said Hosselkus. Commissioner Scott Lamb asked whether the Forest Service had placed their regular closure signs on the roads, to which Hosselkus responded that yes, the roads were closed with signage. “The one guy went into the back country and got stuck and by the time we got there to help him out, he had already pulled himself out,” said Hosselkus.
The other incident involved an ATV user traveling on a road that runs below the Alberta Reservoir and is usually closed to any type of vehicular use in the winter time because it would interfere with skiers on the Alberta run. “The guy was driving along the road and people were throwing snow balls at him,” said Hosselkus.
Commissioner Lamb stated that the lack of snow is going to be the catalyst for several issues they may have to deal with this year and told Hosselkus that things may get worse before they get better. “I imagine that people just want to be out on the roads with the nice weather and no snow, but the fact is the roads are closed for winter use,” finished Hosselkus. Commissioners thanked him for the report and welcomed Emergency Manager Terry Wetherill.
Wetherill began by presenting the board with a proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) which would be used to define the roles of each participating official including the commissioner chairperson, which will be determined at the mid-month meeting, Sheriff Hosselkus and Wetherill. The MOU states, “The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding is to provide guidelines concerning the direction and control of the Mineral County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and staff supervision of its personnel and administrative activities under the dual authorities of the board of county commissioners and the sheriff of Mineral County.”
Commissioners read through the proposed document, highlighting some small changes that mainly consisted of grammatical errors before giving Wetherill the approval to finalize the document. “I will have this ready for a signature by the mid-month meeting and we can move forward,” said Wetherill. In the event of an emergency, the selected commissioner chair will have to sign off on a state of emergency with the collaborated approval of the sheriff and Wetherill before requesting FEMA funding.