GMUG Forest Plan Objection Resolution Meetings

By WSCC 1 month ago
Landscape view of forested slope, mountain in distance and blue sky with clouds
Landscape view of forested slope, mountain in distance and blue sky with clouds

The final chance for individuals and organizations to comment on the GMUG Forest Management Plan was during the February 21 and 22 Objection Resolution Meetings. WSCC Board members Russ Zick and Mike Burkley had an opportunity to clarify WSCC’s objections that we submitted along with our coalition partners back in October 2023. Specifically, the two main objections centered on the Plan’s Timber Suitability and Recommended Wilderness. 

Timber Suitability: Our coalition partners contended that the suitability analysis was flawed because it included, for instance, steep slopes and lands with high erosion potential, and did not exclude land with high scenic integrity, thereby categorizing many sensitive areas as suitable for timber. Additionally, an economic analysis for timber suitability, which is typically required, was not conducted for this Plan. Another major concern expressed by many is that the Plan does not provide sufficient protections for old growth forests.

Recommended Wilderness: WSCC addressed the lack of recommended wilderness areas ultimately included in the Plan, especially those areas that the GMUG identified in their own analysis as having HIGH wilderness characteristics. In the North Fork, these include Coal Mountain/Mt. Lamborn and Mendicant Ridge recommended wildernesses. Coalition partners, including The Wilderness Society, Wilderness Workshop, and Great Old Broads For the Wilderness and representatives from Gunnison County also presented a strong objection for lack of recommended wilderness lands in the GMUG’s preferred alternative. Most of the emphasis to the lands of interest in our area were on lands with high wilderness characteristics in Gunnison County – which were in the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative (GPLI) – which WSCC supports. The portion of Coal Mt/Mt. Lamborn area in Gunnison County is included in the GPLI; but WSCC has also been recommending the portion that is outside Gunnison County also be included in the GMUG plan.

For two full days of sessions that also included topics such as recreation, climate change, threatened and endangered species, and wildlife management. The GMUG Objection Resolution Manager took notes and clarified some of the concerns. Their stated goal is to finalize their review of these objections by this spring and have a final plan published by this November.

  News, Public Lands
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