Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison–Forest Planning, Oh My!

By WSCC 4 years ago2 Comments

Let’s reminisce for a minute. Remember when “Thriller” was a #1 hit? That was 1983. Remember when Sally Ride became the first woman in space? Also 1983. Remember the last time the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forest Plan was revised? You guessed it–1983.

We’re a little overdue.

Forest plans guide the management of National Forests, and are usually updated every 15-20 years. Three phases make up a Forest Plan: assessment, revision, and monitoring. For our own GMUG National Forests, the Forest Service began the assessment phase in 2006, but put the process on hold due to a change in federal regulations guiding Forest Plan revisions. So yet again, in 2017, the GMUG National Forests are in the assessment phase.

Part of the assessment process is soliciting public input. You can email the GMUG Forest Managers directly, submit a comment, sign up for the GMUG Forest Planning email updates.

******UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 2018*******

The GMUG Planning Team recently released the Draft Wilderness Evaluation. According to the USFS Wilderness Process Guide, this goal of this study is to “evaluate each inventoried area and consider the characteristics of that space in terms of wilderness – Does the area appear affected primarily by the forces of nature? Is there evidence of human activity? Are there opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation?”

Do you have your favorite place of solitude around the GMUG Forest? Your input is critical! The deadline to comment on this draft is SEPTEMBER 5! Get all the details on the GMUG Planning Website.

The U.S. Forest Service released their Proposed Wilderness Area Evaluation Draft last month, and all of the hikes we have gone on are included in the proposal. The proposed areas were ranked as possessing a low, moderate, or high level of Wilderness characteristics. For a reminder, the 4 characteristics of Wilderness are:
1. Untrammeled by Man
2. Natural
3. Undeveloped
4. Outstanding Opportunities for Primitive Recreation and Solitude
For a description on some of the areas in our watershed, written by WSCC members, follow this link. Please use this as a resource to write a comment or comments.
Mail: Samantha Staley

Grand Mesa Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest All Units
2250 South Main Street , Delta, CO, 81416

In the subject, put the area you wish to comment on + Wilderness Evaluation Comment
ex:) Electric Mountain Wilderness Evaluation Comment

Find the Draft Evaluation here. 

Submit your comments by September 5 here!

******UPDATE – MAY 2018*******


JOIN WSCC AT A COMMENT WRITING WORKSHOP ON MAY 22 AT 6PM AT EDESIA COMMUNITY KITCHEN. We’ll explain more about the Forest Plan Revision process and the Scoping process and how you can provide a substantive comment.

The scoping process helps the USFS determine what actions are needed for the forest plan, potential alternatives to include in the draft stages, potential issues related to the proposed action, and more. Specifically, the process is looking for feedback on three distinct areas: Need for Change, Vision and Distinctive Roles and Contributions, and Management Area Framework. More information on these topics can be found in the Forest Plan Revision Scoping Document here.  Importantly, in order to officially object to the draft decision when it is released, you must comment during scoping!

The USFS GMUG Planning team hosted two webinars with information on the Scoping process. Watch the recorded webinars here or or check out the GMUG’s Guide to Scoping here.


Additionally, the Western Slope Conservation Center has teamed up with conservation partners across the region to submit a Citizen’s Conservation Alternative to the GMUG Planning Team. Read all about the proposal here – GMUGREVISION.COM

******UPDATEJANUARY 2018*******

As part of the GMUG Plan Revision, the GMUG planning team will kick off the 4-step Wilderness Process with webinars on January 11 from 4-5pm and January 12 from 8:30-9:30am detailing the Wilderness Inventory. The Wilderness Inventory will detail areas that: are at least 5,000 acres OR are adjacent to existing wilderness, do not have roads that are open to motor vehicles, and do not have other “substantially noticeable” human impacts on the land. Learn more about the Wilderness Inventory process here. 


Thursday, January 11th

4:00-5:00 p.m.

For audio, please call in to 1-888-844-9904, participant code 8454465#.

Friday, January 12th

8:30-9:30 a.m.

For audio, please call in to 1-888-844-9904, participant code 8454465#.


******UPDATENOVEMBER 2017*******

On November 6, GMUG released the draft Assessment Reports for Forest Plan Revision. There will then be a 30-day comment period, where USFS will be seeking public input. These assessments and public input will inform the next phase of the process, Revision and Plan Development.

The USFS will host two webinars to walk you through the format of the Assessments and answer any questions you might have. Please consider joining us:

Draft Assessments Webinar

Tuesday, November 7th

5:00-7:00 p.m.

Draft Assessments Webinar

Thursday, November 9th

2:00-4:00 p.m.

For audio, please call in to 1-888-844-9904, participant code 8454465#

For audio, please call in to 1-888-844-9904, participant code 8454465#

Stay tuned for more from WSCC!

******UPDATE – AUGUST 2017- Miss the GMUG Open Houses? Have no fear! Catch an upcoming webinar hosted by the USFS to learn more about the process!

Tuesday August 22 at 5:00 p.m. to 7:00p.m. (

Thursday August 24 from 3:00p.m. to 5:00p.m. (

You can also view the poster presentations featured at the Open Houses RIGHT HERE.**********************

WSCC is also seeking public lands enthusiasts to provide input and share your knowledge to help us make recommendations for management of specific areas within GMUG. To get involved, please email

Event  Date Time Location County
Public Open House 07/25/2017 5:30p.m. to  7:30p.m. Lincoln Elementary School Kiva (Common Space). 1050 Hastings St. Delta, CO Delta
Public Open House 07/27/2017 5:30p.m. to 7:30p.m Fred R. Field Western Heritage Center VanTuyl Room. 275 S. Spruce St. #A. Gunnison, CO Gunnison
Public Open House 08/01/2017 5:30p.m. to 7:30p.m. 4H Center, Mt. Sneffles Room (South Room). 22739 US-550, Ridgway Ouray
Public Open House 08/03/2017 5:30p.m. to 7:30p.m. Lincoln Park Barn. 910 N. 12 St, Grand Junction,CO Mesa
Public Open House 08/10/2017 5:30p.m. to 7:30p.m. Wilkinson Public Library, Program room      100 W. Pacific Ave, Telluride, CO San Miguel
Public Open House 08/14/2017 5:30p.m. to 7:30p.m. Montrose High Scool Cafeteria. 600 Selig Ave, Montrose, CO Montrose
Public Open Hpuse 08/15/2017 4:30p.m. to 6:30p.m. Lake City Community School, Common Space. 614 Silver St,              Lake City, CO Hinsdale
Public Open House 08/17/2017 4:30p.m. to 6:30p.m. Saguache, Meeting Room at Road and Bridge 305 3 St, Saguache,CO Saguache
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  • As someone that has visited many national parks and forest I am glad to see our country taking care of these resources. I look forward to being able to visit this area again soon in my travels.

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