The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest Service has begun efforts to revise the Forest Plan.
The revision process begins with the assessment of current conditions and identifies if there is a need for change in management direction. This is a public process that invites input from forest stakeholders, landowners, local/state/federal government officials, Native American tribes and others. The assessment process relies on existing information, including best available science, and invites interested stakeholders to provide additional information and feedback about what they think the Forest Service should address in revising the Forest Plan.
According to Samantha Staley, Forest Planner, "Essentially, this is the opportunity for the public to help identify what's going well and what's not going so well on the forests."
She went on to explain, "Changes have occurred on the landscape since the original 1983 Forest Plan was written, such as the current bark beetle epidemic and other forest health issues, and incredible growth in recreation. We also have better scientific information now, and better approaches to adaptively manage our changing resources."
Scott Armentrout, Forest Supervisor, noted that the planning effort is "not starting from scratch. More than 1,000 stakeholders participated with us in the 2000s for our last revision process. We are starting with their work and building from there." Forest resource specialists have been actively updating draft assessments to snapshot current conditions of the forest resources.
The Forest Service will take three years to revise the plan. Public engagement is a key element in this effort.
A series of public open houses is planned for later this summer to help citizens understand the assessment process, review preliminary assessment information with resource specialists, and to provide input into the assessment process. Specific information on where and when these meetings will be held will be provided at a later date.
For information on the Forest Plan Revision process and updates for public meetings, please reference the GMUG NFs website at: www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ForestPlan.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the Delta County Board of Commissioners called a special meeting to consider the board's response to the Bureau of Land Management's preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) concerning the lease parcels proposed for the December BLM sale.
Several people from the North Fork were present to provide input.