The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) and Gunnison County are co-hosting a public open house to discuss Forest Plan revision. The meeting will be held on Thursday, July 27 in Gunnison at the Fred R. Field Western Heritage Center (275 S. Spruce St.) from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Please attend and show support for a healthy and sustainable forest!

Background

The GMUG recently kicked off a process to revise its 34-year-old forest plan, which is outdated and unable to address today’s environmental stresses like climate change and increased recreation. The first step in creating a new forest plan is to identify concerns and opportunities through public meetings in local communities, which will help the Forest Service assess current conditions on the forest. The July 27 open house in Gunnison is designed to help citizens understand the assessment process, review preliminary assessment information with resource specialists, and provide early input. This meeting is a great opportunity to show support for landscape-level conservation and low-impact recreation!

Public Meeting Talking Points

  • There is a need and opportunity to expand and protect additional wilderness on the Gunnison National Forest. Wild, roadless lands are essential to wildlife and sustainable recreation.
  • There are numerous areas on the GMUG that have garnered wilderness recommendations from the public and the Forest Service in the recent past, including in the 2005 Mountains to Mesas citizen proposal, the draft 2007 GMUG Forest Plan, and the Gunnison Public Land Initiative. The combination of established local interest, previous agency recommendations, and positive public opinion supporting wilderness demonstrate a need and opportunity for expanded landscape-level conservation.
  • The Forest Service’s assessment should consider climate refugia, migratory corridors, landscape linkages, rivers and streams, and other features that enhance species protection and habitat connectivity.
  • Trails and dispersed camping sites, especially around Crested Butte, Taylor Park, Tin Cup and Pitkin, are heavily used and in dire need of maintenance. Groups of active volunteers exist within Gunnison County to help with this type of work, which should be planned, coordinated and executed in coordination with the Forest Service.
  • Low-impact backcountry winter snow sports are growing in popularity and support many local businesses. It is essential to protect key areas for human powered winter recreation.
  • Forest management should focus on protecting and restoring forest health by encouraging and managing natural fire, not by incentivizing timber harvesting. Any logging on the GMUG should be located where it will do the most good to protect public safety and infrastructure while maintaining favorable ecological conditions.

To learn more about the forest plan revision process and HCCA’s engagement, please click here.

HCCA is also seeking public lands enthusiasts to provide input and share your knowledge to help us make recommendations for management of specific areas on the Gunnison National Forest. To become involved, please email matt@hccacb.org.