Letter to the editor: Give Forest Service input on plan


Do you enjoy spending time on the Rio Grande National Forest?  Are you concerned about the spruce beetle epidemic, high tree mortality, and how future management of the forest will affect local communities?  Should the forest be wisely managed to provide social, economic, and environmental benefits?  If so, please take the time to comment on the draft Forest Plan.

The Rio Grande National Forest is writing a new management plan that will set the forest’s direction for the next 10-15 years.  As written, the revised plan does not provide enough details with regards to Desired Conditions and Objectives to fully understand how the plan will be implemented into the future and what the results will be long-term.  This is concerning, especially for those businesses that rely on the public lands for resources and/or jobs.

The Forest Service has identified Alternative B as the Proposed Action.  Unfortunately, this proposed Alternative misses the boat when it comes to actively managing the forest, protecting local jobs, and ensuring there is a forest in the future.  I truly feel that Alternative C is a better choice and should be considered the Proposed Action for the following reasons: 1) will salvage more acres in the first decade than Alternative B, helping maintain economic opportunities; 2) continues to treat more acres in the second decade, meeting the needs of industry while creating habitat and protecting communities; and 3) proposes zero acres of new wilderness, making it easier to manage.

So, if healthy forests and the resulting benefits are important to you, make sure your voice is heard.  Take a few minutes to review the plan and if you are still concerned, tell the Forest Service by visiting https://goo.gl/rYf4fb and submitting comments.  The deadline is December 29th.
 
Molly Pitts
Rocky Mountain States Director
Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities
www.healthyforests.org
Salida

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