What’s Up With the GMUG?

By: Alison Gallensky, Rocky Mountain Wild

Hiking on the GMUG
Hiking on the GMUG, USDA Forest Service

This morning I literally got to give an elevator speech about one of the projects I am working on and that I am passionate about. When I arrived at the Alliance Center this morning, a colleague from another conservation organization asked me what I was working on this summer. I said I was working on the GMUG among other things and he asked What’s Up with the GMUG?  Let me tell you about it…

What is the GMUG?

  • GMUG is an acronym for the Grand-Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests. This is a sprawling set of three National Forests in southwest Colorado that are managed as a single unit.
  • These forest cover amazing diverse landscapes. The high mountains above Telluride that glow at sunset are in the Uncompahgre National Forest. The amazing wildflowers near Crested Butte are part of the Gunnison National Forest. The lakes and grasslands on the top of the Grand Mesa are in the Grand Mesa National Forest.
  • For more information about these wonderful places, see the Forest Service GMUG

What is going on with the GMUG?

  • The GMUG is revising its management plan. This document determines how the forest will be managed for the next 20 years or more. The plan guides what areas the forest can be developed and what areas will remain natural. It guides the Forest Service on how to manage rare and endangered animals and plants.
  • The current version of the management plan was completed in 1983. Think about how much our use of National Forests and scientific understanding has changed in the last 34 years.
  • The GMUG planning project is just starting. The Forest Service is currently assessing the state of the forest, what is still relevant in the current plan, and what needs to change.

How can I learn more?

  • The GMUG National Forest website on Forest Planning is very informative and includes a short video about the forest planning process.
  • Rocky Mountain Wild is working with a coalition of conservation organizations to influence the Forest Service to prioritize conservation goals in the planning process. High Country Conservation Advocates is leading the coalition and has a helpful Forest Plan Revision webpage.
  • Attend a public open house meeting. The National Forest is hosting a series of eight public open house meetings across southwest Colorado. The first meeting is July 25, 2016 in Delta, Colorado. A meeting in Grand Junction will be held on August 3. See the GMUG Get Involved – Forest Plan Revision website for the full schedule with meeting times and locations.

How can I get involved?

  • Sign up for e-mails from the Forest Service here.
  • Attend a public open house and let the National Forest know you care about protecting rare and endangered species, preserving healthy, unfragmented habitat, maintaining wildlife connectivity, and ensuring that development is done in a sustainable and responsible way.
  • Follow Rocky Mountain Wild to learn about future opportunities to engage.

Thanks to Josh Kuhn of Conservation Colorado for inspiration. What have you been up to?

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