MONTE VISTA – Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas on Thursday announced the availability of the draft Rio Grande National Forest revised land management plan (forest plan) and the accompanying draft environmental impact statement for a 90-day public review and comment period. The 90-day public review and comment period will begin on the day the Notice of Availability is published in the Federal Register.
The forest plan is an overarching document that guides all management decisions and activities on the Rio Grande National Forest, such as the preservation of cultural and historic resources, grazing, timber production, recreation, and wildlife management. The draft environmental impact statement analyzes the environmental, social and economic effects of the proposed forest plan.
“This proposed forest plan was developed by working together with local counties, neighboring forests, and state and federal agencies,” said Rio Grande National Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas. “Over 100 meetings have been held to date and several more will be scheduled as we continue to involve the public in the management of their national forest.”
The Rio Grande National Forest is revising the 1996 forest plan because the forest and surrounding areas have witnessed significant economic, environmental and social changes since the current plan was published in 1996. In addition, the revised plan will align with new laws, executive direction, and agency policy, and incorporate public input, new science, knowledge and technology.
Resources not analyzed in the draft environmental impact statement includes oil and gas leasing availability, suitability of range lands for grazing, travel management, and minerals.
The draft document reflects the impact of timber harvest, livestock grazing, and recreation on local economies, the need to maintain these, and create more opportunities where available. Changes to fire management direction are also addressed to provide opportunities to use fire to benefit resources where feasible.
The Rio Grande National Forest will schedule public meetings in early November to share information and answer questions concerning the proposed forest plan and draft environmental impact statement. The dates and locations of these meetings will be publicized through local media and on the Rio Grande National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/riogrande. The draft documents are available for review and comment online.
Comments may be submitted by email to [email protected]; by fax to 719-852-6250; or in writing to Rio Grande National Forest, Attn: Forest Plan Revision, 1803 West U.S. Highway 160, Monte Vista 81144.
For more information, visit the Rio Grande National Forest website or contact Forest Planner Erin Minks at 719-852-6215.