What do you see out in the national forest? Tell the Forest Service what you think about the conditions you see and what should change in the revised Forest Plan. Photo: Lydia Stern

The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forest launched revision of its 34-year old Forest Plan this summer, presenting a rare opportunity for the public to shape policy and actions on our local forests for decades to come. Last month, the GMUG released Draft Assessments for a number of forest-related topics, from aquatic ecosystems to wilderness. Of particular importance for our local environment and community are the topics of Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy and Minerals, Recreation, Timber, and Designated Areas (Wilderness, Wild & Scenic Rivers, etc.). HCCA encourages you to submit comments to the Forest Service on these Assessment topics, or on others that interest you. Assessment is a critical part of the planning process because it determines the need to change the current Forest Plan.

Consider making the following points in your comments:
  • The Assessments are notably silent on climate change pollution and its relationship to activities on the GMUG. The Forest Service must present climate pollution information from fossil fuel development in an Assessment.
  • The GMUG should use the Social Cost of Carbon and Social Cost of Methane to inform and improve its policies and management.
  • The Assessment should consider Forest-wide standards with stipulations for coal leasing that limit uncontrolled methane venting from North Fork coal mines.
  • There is a need and opportunity for additional Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers on the GMUG.
  • The Draft Assessment for Recreation states that the public wants more motorized trails, but this is unsubstantiated.
  • Dispersed campsites need better management, especially those around Crested Butte.
  • Timber production should not be allowed in roadless areas.
  • If there are other issues you would like to raise, please do so!

To read the Draft Assessments, click here. To learn more about HCCA’s role in forest planning,click here.

Your feedback matters! Please submit comments by Friday, December 8 to the GMUG by clicking this link. Tell the Forest Service what you think about conditions you see on the Gunnison National Forest and what should change in the revised Forest Plan.

Support Our Utah Public Lands

While HCCA is a local organization that focuses on protecting our backyard in the Gunnison Country, but we cannot ignore recent developments affecting public lands in Utah. (Left Photo: Brett Henderson)

Yesterday, Donald Trump traveled to Salt Lake City to announce his attack on our national monuments. Through two presidential proclamations, Trump shrunk the size of Bear’s Ears National Monument by more than 80% and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by roughly 45%. Both of these areas hold geologic treasures, abundant rock art, dwellings, terraces, arches, canyons, dinosaur fossils, ceremonial sites and cultural sites of significance to a variety of Native Americans.

Through Trump’s move, both areas could be opened up to new uranium and coal mining operations, while losing significant protections for their natural wonders, paleontological sites, recreation areas and wildlands.

As an environmental advocate, YOU can still take action and speak up on this! Spread the word via Facebook, your local news outlets, and show up to speak up for these iconic public lands. You can also start by signing this petition from the Wilderness Society.