GMUG Forest Plan Revision is (Almost) Here!
HCCA and the public have a rare opportunity to protect, restore, and significantly expand diverse wildlands across three National Forests in western Colorado. The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forest will be initiating Forest Plan revision this autumn. 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 The GMUG’s 33-year old Forest Plan is outdated, increasingly irrelevant, and unable to manage the tremendous user-growth and environmental changes that the landscape has experienced over the past three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. Our Public Lands Program is leading 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. Our efforts will lay the foundation for a revised Forest Plan that promotes conservation biology, secures protections for non-motorized areas, is based upon the best available science, and prioritizes landscape-level conservation.
Because the first year of the revision process lays the groundwork for the final GMUG Forest Plan, our ability to proactively engage the Forest Service, public, elected officials, and conservation community from the outset is key to a successful outcome. The revision process is expected to last four years, but the critical “assessment” component of revision is commencing this autumn. Assessment is the cornerstone of a revised Forest Plan that will set management direction for wilderness, recreation, wildlife habitat, water, and extractive uses. HCCA’s expected outcome at the end of the next year is a Forest Assessment Report that provides an accurate appraisal of conditions across the 3,161,900 acres of the GMUG, offering the compelling impetus for a forward-thinking, sustainable, and conservation-centered revised Forest Plan. The outcome of this work will be a resilient forest landscape that is managed for conservation and imbued with wilderness and wildland values.
For more information on the planning process, visit: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/gmug/landmanagement/planning.