Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests Will Revise Forest Plan

The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG), located on the western slope of the Colorado Rockies, are initiating the forest planning process pursuant to the 2012 National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule. The revised Forest Plan will describe the strategic intent of managing the Forests for the next 10 to 15 years and will address identified needs for change to the existing Forest Plan, including recreation which may impact future OHV access.

The plan revision process encompasses three stages: assessment, plan revision and monitoring. This notice announces the initiation of the assessment phase, which involves assessing ecological, social and economic conditions and trends in the planning area and documenting the findings in an assessment report. The assessment report is expected to be completed by January 2018. The GMUG will then initiate procedures pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and prepare and evaluate a revised Forest Plan.

ARRA has had concerns that the 2012 Planning Rule clearly provides that preservation trumps social and economic factors, including recreation, contradicting the Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act, the statute that authorizes many Forest activities. While this Forest Plan revision will not specifically make decisions with respect to the management of individual roads or trails, such as those that might be associated with a Travel Management Plan, the Forest Plan revision will likely provide broad, strategic guidance.

Public Involvement

It is important that OHV enthusiasts get involved early and stay involved in the forest plan revision process to help protect access! This summer and fall, GMUG will hold public open houses (dates and locations TBD) to share some initial assessment work and early ideas about needs for change in the Forest Plan. The public is encouraged to participate and provide contributions to the meetings. Some information that GMUG states that they would like to know includes, “what changes have you noticed on the Forests? What issues should a new Forest Plan address? How and why?  What is working with current management? What isn’t?”

We’ll keep you posted on further developments in the forest revision process. Public meeting dates and comment submission deadlines will be initially posted on the GMUG Forest Plan Revision Website when they become available.

Comments

Send written comments to gmugforestplan@fs.fed.us; 970-874-6698 (fax); or to Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests, Attn: Plan Revision, 2250 HWY 50, Delta CO, 81416.

Additional Information

Federal Register Notice

For further information, please contact Clay Speas, Acting Renewable Resources Planning Staff Officer, at 970-874-6677 or cspeas@fs.fed.us. If you are interested in being included in direct GMUG notifications, please send an email to gmugforestplan@fs.fed.us.

About ARRA

Americans for Responsible Recreational Access (ARRA) was formed to ensure that Americans are not arbitrarily denied the right to responsibly experience and enjoy the public lands that belong to the citizens of the United States. The members of ARRA, which include horseback riders, personal watercraft users, off-highway vehicle and snowmobile riders, and vacationing families, have joined together to provide input on decisions regarding land use designation, recreation opportunities, and preservation. Its members seek responsible consideration of competing activities, which are based on sound environmental principles.

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