Peak & Prairie
June / July 1999
How Do You Want the Forest Managed?
by Jean Smith, Ecosystem Mapping Chair
If you’ve been following the complexities of forest management, you know that three of the seven National Forests in Colorado have finished their management plan revisions. Conservationists had varying degrees of influence on the Arapaho-Roosevelt, Routt and Rio Grande forest plans through Citizens’ Management Alternatives (CMA)—not enough influence probably, since all have appeals pending.
The White River and San Juan are well into their planning with CMAs as an integral part of the range of options. The White River is scheduled to release its draft plan and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) this June, but the San Juan draft EIS is not due until 2001. The San Juan Citizens Alliance has maps of their CMA on http://www.sanjuancitizens.org/wildsanjuans.html.
The Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnison and the Pike and San Isabel will start their planning this fall, and local groups are gearing up to do CMAs for both of these forests.
On the Pike and San Isabel CMA, the Sierra Club is partnering with Upper Arkansas and South Platte Project. A preliminary draft of the 2.8 million acres of forest and grasslands will hopefully be available by the end of the year.
This is no small undertaking. A CMA Taskforce will take information from a series of regional workshops and four years of on-the-ground mapping, as well as the best computerized data, and fashion it into a conservation plan.
Local folks can have their say...
In these early stages there are two good ways for people to say how they want the Pike and San Isabel managed in the future:
Regional workshops are 3- to 4-hour events, free wheeling with lots of maps and mylar and drawing pens. This is an excellent way to influence the direction the CMA will take. People who have mapped over the past several years or who have a personal knowledge of various areas are especially valuable. Workshops are June 12 in Evergreen and June 17 in Colorado Springs, as well as possible events in Pueblo and Buena Vista (see events calendar).
Mini-alternatives are already in the works by some local groups. The Quiet Use Coalition’s plan for quiet zones in many of the upper Arkansas riparian areas and mountain valleys is already into the hands of the Salida Ranger District. See their web site (http://www.io.com/~holloway/quc/index.html).
In the Wet Mountains, mappers have a plan to recover the integrity of roadless areas that have been entered by motorized trails. This is a hard issue, because the current forest plan allocates a big chunk of the Wets to semi-primitive motorized recreation—motorcycles and ATVs on backcountry trails. The “now” and “future” maps shown give you an idea of the scope of their proposal (shown on page 1).
if you want to help decide the future management of Colorado’s forests so that
intact ecosystems are protected, clean water and clean air is enhanced and
recreation will sustain rather than degrade the land, you can join in.
What you can do:
Attend regional workshops and give your input. See events schedule in the back of P&P.
Host a CMA slide show “Imagine a Wild Future” for your group or community.
Study the current management of your part of the forest and express your opinions to the District Ranger.
Check in with these people for more information, or to volunteer:
June 1999 Online Newsletter - Peak & Prairie Home Page - Rocky Mountain Chapter Home Page