A draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area (NCA) and the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Area was released May 17 for a 90-day public comment period.
The draft RMP is available for review online.
The Uncompahgre and Grand Junction field offices of the BLM suggest that for detailed information including how to provide comments or obtain a copy of the draft RMP, visit http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/nca/denca/denca_rmp.html. Also, entering BLM UFO in a search engine and navigating to the draft RMP will work.
To be considered, comments must be received by Aug. 22. Comments received will be used to help develop a proposed RMP/final EIS, which is scheduled for release in May 2014, field office staff said.
Also, there will be two public open houses hosted by BLM field office personnel where questions can be answered in person. They will take place from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., June 17, at the Colorado Mesa University Center in Grand Junction and June 19 at Bill Heddles Recreation Center in Delta.
The Dominguez-Escalante NCA includes public lands in both the Uncompahgre Field Office and the Grand Junction Field Office. The entire 120,012-acre area, which includes the 66,000-acre wilderness area, is jointly managed by the two field offices.
The draft RMP examines five management alternatives for the NCA, from a "no action" alternative to an active management regimen.
According to BLM field office personnel, 14 different characteristics and uses of the NCA lands were evaluated and weighed on various scales to arrive at the five alternatives. Those characteristics include wildlife, water and scenic areas. Uses of the land focus primarily on recreation, from hiking and horseback riding to river rafting to mechanized and motorized travel. Other land values, including cultural, paleontological, geological and historical, are included in the balance of alternatives.
"We welcome all thoughts and comments, but specific comments will be particularly useful in helping us refine the draft into its final form," said Katie Stevens, NCA manager. "Comments that provide the basis or reason for a preference or recommendation are the ones that really help us refine the plan. New information is also helpful."
In evaluating the draft RMP, interested public will find the range of alternatives detailed beginning with the "no action" alternative A to the BLM's "preferred" alternative E. The alternatives progress from a low-management, highly-regulated plan to a more active focus on trails and road use.
BLM staff say that hunters will find no changes in the rules that have governed that activity for the past 20 years, but in some cases hunters will want to note where travel restrictions apply.
Road closures are included in each of the five alternatives. Alternative A proposes four miles of closures; alternative B proposes 282 miles of closures; alternative C, 351 miles closed; alternative D, 250 miles; and alternative E, 230 miles.
According to a BLM advisory on the draft RMP, "The Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area Advisory Council, which is composed of 10 members of the public who represent various communities and interests throughout the surrounding three-county area, will also hold meetings to discuss the draft RMP."blog comments powered by Disqus