High Country Conservation Advocates has a rare opportunity to protect, restore and significantly expand diverse wildlands across three National Forests in western Colorado. In early 2017 the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forest (GMUG) will be initiating the public component of Forest Plan revision. The GMUG is currently engaged in pre-assessment work, and HCCA will continue laying the foundation in 2016 for a successful public Forest Plan revision process in 2017. Because Forest Plans are revised, at the most, every fifteen years, this process will shape management decisions and on-the-ground conditions for years to come. The GMUG’s 33-year old Forest Plan is outdated, increasingly irrelevant, and unable to manage the tremendous user growth and environmental changes that the landscape has experienced over the past three decades.

Beginning in September, HCCA will solidify early “pre-planning” advocacy efforts to shape a new direction for forest management through stakeholder identification and coordination, public education and outreach, research and technical comments, and on-the-ground advocacy. In early 2017, in conjunction with the publc launch of the assessment component, HCCA will lead advocacy efforts to develop a Forest Assessment Report and subsequent identification of what “needs to change” on the GMUG to shepherd forest management into the 21st century. As the GMUG transitions from assessment to revision in 2017, HCCA will continue advocating for a revised Forest Plan that prioritizes landscape-level conservation.

But we need your help! Revising the Forest Plan will require committed activists, like yourselves, to learn about the process, write comments, attend public meetings, document resource conditions, sit down with agency staff and elected officials, and keep the pressure on the Forest Service to develop a revised Forest Plan that champions conservation, wildlands protection and sustainability. Interested in learning more? Contact Public Lands Director Matt Reed at matt@hccacb.org.