Rio Grande National Forest Draft Plan Comments Due December 28

Waterfall on Clear Creek near Creede Colorado. Photo from USFS.

The Rio Grande National Forest, located in southwest Colorado, is one of the wildest and most remote forests in the lower 48 states. It encompases the headwaters of the Rio Grande River, one of North America’s major river systems.  The Rio Grande National Forest is full of natural wonders: 14,000-foot peaks, world class trout streams, a beautiful waterfall on North Clear Creek, Wolf Creek Pass critical wildlife corridor, and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, to name just a few.

The Forest Service is in the process of revising their plan for managing the Rio Grande National Forest. Earlier this fall, they released a draft of their revised management plan. Rocky Mountain Wild is working with a coalition of conservation organizations to influence the Forest Service to create a plan that preserves the biodiversity and natural character of the forest.

We need your help! The Forest Service has asked the public to provide comments on the draft plan and Environmental Impact Statement. Our coalition has reviewed this plan and feel it should be improved. Please let the Forest Service know you agree.

Send your comment letter to:   rgnf_forest_plan@fs.fed.us. Please also send a copy (cc) of your comment letter to our local partner organization San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council e-mail: info@slvec.org

Or postal mail your comments to:

Rio Grande National Forest
Forest Plan Revision
1803 US Hwy 160
Monte Vista, CO 81144

Your e-mail or letter must be sent or postmarked no later than December 29.

Your comments will have the most influence if they are personal and specific. If you have visited the Rio Grande National Forest, please share any experiences you have of the Rio Grande Forest (hiking, fishing, sightseeing, hunting, backcountry skiing, etc.). Consider including the following points in your comments:

  • To support connected landscapes they should protect an important wildlife corridor between Colorado and New Mexico, by including in their final plan the Spruce Hole-Osier-Toltec connectivity area along with all of the special area recommendations in Alternative D.
  • To preserve healthy habitats they should include strong standards and guidelines for protecting pure cutthroat trout, for protecting fens, a unique type of wetland, and for protecting high quality denning habitat for Canada lynx.
  • To ensure responsible development they should provide direction to apply protective stipulations to any oil and gas leases that might be approved and to exclude oil and gas development from sensitive areas.
  • To protect key species they should protect Canada lynx and boreal toad, by including in their final plan a recommendation to protect the Snowshoe Mountain addition to the Weminuche Wilderness along with all recommendations for wilderness in Alternative D.

Read more in this action alert and on our regional partner San Luis Valley Ecosystem Project’s Rio Grande National Forest Management Plan website.

 

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