Peak & Prairie
August / September 1999
Saying It Boldly: CMAs and Forest Plan Revisions
by Jean Smith, Ecosystem Mapping chair
In their new book “Continental Conservation,” Michael Soulé and John Terborgh note that:
Civilization has set aside only 5 or 6 percent of the earth’s land in relatively strict protected areas for nature—for the 30 million or so species that depend on undeveloped lands and waters. This is not enough... Tired of being on the losing side of [the] sad game of endless appeals, compromise and attrition, a group of conservation scientists and activists met to design a more effective way to protect nature, wilderness, and biodiversity. The principal rule of this approach is to honestly and boldly say what is necessary to save living nature in North America—how much land is required, where it is, and how the implementation should be phased over the coming decades.
This is a mighty vision and an enormous challenge—the business of saving living nature. It takes both the expansive, biologically based vision, and the willingness to make hard decisions about today’s activities on the land.
Colorado is part of that vision. We can influence the future management of several national forests. The Pike and San Isabel, San Juan, White River and the Grand Mesa Uncompahgre Gunnison National Forest—totaling approximately 9.8 million acres—are all revising their forest management plans within the next few years. Citizens’ Management Alternatives (CMAs) are being created by coalitions of conservation groups, including Sierra Clubs, for all of these—that’s a lot of conservation.
To initiate the Pike and San Isabel CMA, a series of regional workshops have gathered input from groups and individuals. Working with maps, marking pens and mylar, participants drew their practical vision of forest management on the maps. You will not be surprised to learn that:
People value wilderness and opportunities for quiet use and solitude.
Adequate protection and habitat for wildlife is important.
Protection of watersheds for municipal water supplies is a concern.
The hundreds of miles of roads and trails open to motorized use should be balanced with an increase in nonmotorized recreation.
Intensive recreation is a growing problem.
Extractive uses of the forest (logging, mining, etc.), less pervasive on the Pike and San Isabel compared to some Colorado forests, are of less concern.
Endangered or sensitive species, especially large predators, need protection.
Riparian areas are under severe pressure and need more protection.
These concerns and values resulted in many areas being suggested for USFS management as wilderness, backcountry nonmotorized recreation, municipal watersheds and wildlife habitat.
You can have a part in the CMA process for the Pike and San Isabel by attending any of the following events.
Pueblo: Friday and Saturday, August 6 and 7
Supported by the Colorado Mountain Club, the Arkansas Valley Audubon Society and the Sangre de Cristo Group of Sierra Club.
Pike and San Isabel CMA Task Force Workshop, Sunday, August 22
Anyone interested in actually crafting the CMA is invited to this organizing workshop.
Denver, Tuesday, September 7, 6:30 p.m.
“Imagine a Wild Future” slide show followed by a CMA workshop. Sponsored by Audubon Society of Greater Denver, and several metro Denver Sierra Club Groups.
Contact Jean Smith for to RSVP or get details of any of these events: firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-388-3378.
August 1999 Online Newsletter - Peak & Prairie Home Page - Rocky Mountain Chapter Home Page