Public Lands Program

The Gunnison Country! The name is synonymous with wind-swept mountains, rolling sagebrush hills, desolate canyons, clear mountain streams, and abundant wildlife. Part of the allure of this majestic landscape is its public lands, lands that are owned by all of us. In fact, over 80% of lands in Gunnison County are public, and with enjoyment of these lands comes responsibility. Since fighting a planned timber sale on Kebler Pass in the early 1980s, HCCA’s Public Lands Program has been protecting threatened landscapes, preventing harms to important ecosystems, and promoting sustainable enjoyment of the diverse public lands of the Gunnison Country. We invite you to help us in our mission!

Federal public lands are lands held in trust by the state or federal government for the American people. The primary constitutional authority for the management and control of this vast real-estate empire is the Property Clause (Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2). Here in Gunnison County, public lands are managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service. These public lands cover more than 1.6 million acres and include portions of eight Wilderness Areas, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Curecanti National Recreation Area, numerous Inventoried Roadless Areas, and Crested Butte Mountain Resort ski terrain. They’re home to world-class populations of elk, mule deer, black bear, cutthroat trout, Gunnison Sage-grouse, and a dizzying array of wildflowers and forests. They provide outstanding quiet recreation experiences, whether it’s hiking and camping in remote wilderness, hunting and fishing in the backcountry, downhill and cross-country skiing, or exploring the high country for wildlife. These activities, which shape our local economy and quality of life, depend upon healthy, intact, and connected public lands.

HCCA’s Public Lands Program focuses on the public lands of the Gunnison Country, a geographic area encompassing the Gunnison and North Fork of the Gunnison watersheds. Our purview includes all of Gunnison County’s public lands, as well as parts of Hinsdale and Saguache Counties. HCCA ensures responsible management of the Gunnison Country’s public lands so we can continue to have clean water and clean air, healthy, diverse wildlife populations, and opportunities for quiet recreation. To achieve our goals, we collaborate as appropriate with agencies, ranchers, business owners, non-profits, recreationists, and others to ensure public lands are healthy and intact for generations to come. Together we better achieve the shared goals of a prosperous economy, conservation of our natural resources, and protection of our quality of life.

Upcoming Opportunities to Support Gunnison County Public Lands

Have you been following ongoing efforts to build a more sustainable, long-term vision for Gunnison County’s public lands? If you’re like us, you care deeply about balancing the rapid growth we’re witnessing with conservation to protect local lands, waters and...
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Forest Planning Community Meeting This Thursday in Gunnison

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....
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Last Chance to Comment on Gunnison Coal Mine Expansion

We’re just days away from the deadline for submitting comments on the proposed expansion of the West Elk Coal Mine in Gunnison County. Have you weighed in yet? The Forest Service is accepting comments until July 24 on Arch Coal’s proposal to lease 1,700 acres of...
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Contact Matt Reed

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Matt Reed

Matt Reed

Public Lands Director

Matt joined High Country Conservation Advocates as Public Lands Director in January 2016. Matt previously held this position from 2010-2013. He is a 2000 graduate of Gunnison High School and a 2009 graduate of Pace Law School, where he focused on environmental law and policy. Matt is a committed advocate for the public lands of Gunnison County and the Upper Gunnison River watershed, and looks forward to re-engaging with the community on sustainable energy development, recreation management, roadless and wilderness advocacy, wildlife, forest health an other critical public lands issues. Matt’s interests include birding, hiking, the U.S. Civil War, his vegetable garden and coffee.