Please Comment on the GMUG Forest Plan Update
The Forest Service is in the process of updating the GMUG Forest Plan. This document directs how the lands and natural resources in the GMUC forest are managed. The current plan is over 40 years old, and the revised plan being finalized soon will provide a blueprint for how forest land on the Grand Mesa is managed for the next 15 to 20 years.
The Forest Service considers public comments when finalizing the new plan, and we could use your help getting feedback to them.
Submit your comments here:
COMMENTS ARE DUE NOV 12
Your comments will be most effective if you can make them as specific as possible. Things to consider including:
-where you live
-the parts of the GMUG forest that are most important to you
-why non-motorized use of the trails is important to you in winter
You can view maps of the proposed updates (there are three versions: B, C and D) here: https://usfs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=1985b6f7be1744f7a55e5a9bb4300245
Note the green tabs at the top of the page. These tabs continue to the right (past what will be visible on your screen when the page loads). To view the alternative winter ROS plans, you’ll need to click on the green tab at the far right (it looks like a series of lines). Click that tab, and you’ll see drop down menus you can click to view alternatives B,C and D.
Begin by clicking on the Winter Travel Map, which represents the current status of winter travel decisions across the Forest. We believe this map contains an error: part of the Skyway and Ward ski areas are labeled as “Analyzed - Open to OSV” and should instead be classified as “Oversnow Vehicles Prohibited Seasonally” (like the rest of the ski areas).
Action point 1: Ask the Forest Service to correct the Winter Travel Map (map of the current status of winter travel decisions). Tell them that the entire Skyway, County Line and Ward systems should be classified as “Oversnow Vehicles Prohibited Seasonally.”
Next, click on the 2021 Winter ROS Inventory, which is considered the baseline plan. According to the Forest Service, “The Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) is the land classification system the Forest Service uses to describe recreation settings and opportunities across forest lands, ranging from less to more with respect to the level of development, access, and use. (See the National Winter ROS Inventory Mapping Protocol for more background).”
Once you’ve looked at the ROS, check out the three alternative proposals.
Alternative B categorizes the Skyway and County Line systems as “roaded natural” and the Ward system as “roaded natural” and “Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized.” These designations allow for our current operations (this is essentially the status quo).
Alternative C categorizes Skyway and County Line systems as “roaded natural” and most of the Ward system as “roaded natural” with a small section (near Skinned Horse) as “Semi-Primitive Motorized.”
Action point 2: Tell the Forest Service that Alternative C miscategorizes the current usage of the eastern part of Ward ski area. Let the Forest Service know that it’s important to you that the Ward ski area remain non-motorized for winter use.
Alternative D categorizes the Skyway and County Line systems as a combination of “roaded natural” and “Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized.” This alternative contains the greatest area of “Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized” classification in our trail systems, and is the one that GMNC prefers.
Action point 3: Tell the Forest Service that Alternative D is your preferred option for winter travel. Explain that you the classification of “Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized” allows us the greatest area of non-motorized use, and the designation gives us more potential to expand our non-motorized trails in the future.
Action point 4: Tell the Forest Service why the GMNC trails are important to you, and why you think it’s important that they are classified for non-motorized use.