The Rio Grande National Forest Needs Your Help!

Attend an Upcoming Public Meeting to Ask for Stronger Conservation in the Management Plan

Say Yes to Clean Water, Wildlife Habitat, and Wilderness, support Alternative D

The Forest Service is holding four public meetings to solicit feedback on the draft management plan. The draft plan proposed by the Forest Service – known as Alternative B – calls for too much logging and too little protection for water and wildlife. Alternative D, in contrast, would recommend 285,000 acres for wilderness and protect five special interest areas that were researched, vetted, and proposed by local conservation organizations, and designed to conserve unique landscapes.

Alternative D, if adopted, would protect and help restore cutthroat trout populations, and conserve wildlife habitat and the beautiful mountain scenery that makes the Valley so special.  Plus, it protects these special areas from extractive industries like oil and gas leasing and potential development.

Please attend one of the four upcoming meetings and request that the Forest Service choose Alternative D:

  • Wednesday. November 1 at the Creede Community Center from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 2 at the Rio Grande County Annex in Del Norte from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 8 at the Guadalupe Parish Hall in Conejos from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 9 at the Saguache Community Building 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Suggested talking points:

  • I support Alternative D because it conserves places I care about a lot as recommended wilderness areas and special interest areas.
  • Alternative D will keep the Valley how it is. It will ensure that we have a dependable and clean water supply and it will conserve the beautiful mountain scenery, trout habitat, and wildlife.
  • I support the designation of five special interest areas in Alternative D. These are the Summer Coon/La Ventana Area, Jim and Carnero Creek Trout Conservation Areas, Chama Basin Watershed Protection Area, and Spruce Hole/Osier Wildlife Connectivity Area. These five special interest areas allow a variety of uses while ensuring that the truly special features within this national forest are protected.
  • While I support all the areas recommended for wilderness in alternative D overall, I especially want to see the following areas recommended for sure:
    • Wason Park Recommended Wilderness: This is a 22,000-acre west-side addition to the La Garita Wilderness. Wason Park’s aspen-covered slopes provide outstanding habitat to bighorn sheep and other wildlife. It also has outstanding backcountry recreation with scenic waterfalls and access to the La Garita Wilderness.
    • Antora Meadows Recommended Wilderness: A critical area for regional wildlife connectivity and conservation, this 27,700- acre roadless area will help fill the largest gap in protected areas in the Southern Rockies between La Garita Wilderness on south and Collegiates and Sangres to north. Protecting it will increase conservation of imperiled or at-risk species including Rio Grande cutthroat trout conservation population; habitat for lynx, wolverine, and Mexican spotted owl. In addition, it’s got lots of trails and is great for recreation.
    • Saguache Creek Recommended Wilderness: This 27-100-acre tract is mainly grasslands and ponderosa pine, ecosystems that desperately need more protection. It also, like Antora Meadows, helps fill in major gaps in regional protected areas networks and offers outstanding recreation.
    • Pole Creek and Sheep Mountain Recommended Wilderness: These tracts should be protected as two separate areas to accommodate existing motorized use in between. Protecting the areas will contribute to regional biodiversity as it has one of few known Uncompahgre fritillary populations and stone crop gilia occurrences, high use by lynx, and habitat for the elusive and imperiled wolverine.
    • Sangre de Cristo Additions Recommended Wilderness: The proposed additions to the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness (Butterfly Creek-Miller Creek, Cotton Creek, Kit Carson Peak and Blanca Peak additions) will effectively extend the wilderness to logical landscape boundaries to protect the scenic integrity of the stunning mountain backdrop and strengthen protection for the two most visited peaks in the Sangre’s.

For sample letters supporting Alternative D and rideshares to the public meetings, contact Susan Pierce at susanpierce@gmail.com.  For further information on the citizen’s proposal, visit the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council’s web page.