FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 13, 2007 San Juan Public Lands Center to Release Combined USFS/BLM Draft Management Plan for Public Comment
The San Juan Public Lands Center will release a draft Revised Land Management Plan guiding long-term management for some 2.4 million acres of Bureau of Land Management and National Forest lands in southwestern Colorado on Friday, December 14, 2007. An accompanying draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) offers four alternatives proposing differing scenarios for multiple-use management of the San Juan's BLM and National Forest lands. An oil and gas leasing availability analysis is also included as part of the draft EIS.
The San Juan Public Lands Center manages 1.9 million acres of National Forest and more than a half million acres of BLM land, ranging from high-desert mesas to high-alpine peaks. Since the original management plans were finalized two decades ago, new pressures have been put on these public lands. Recreation has boomed, bringing with it environmental and social impacts. Timber-harvest practices have evolved, as new science has become available. Fuels reduction is a new focus, and energy development is of high interest.
Beginning in January 2005, many southwestern Colorado citizens participated in community study groups to help the agencies identify ways to improve the existing plans. "We hope to see those people again, along with other interested citizens, at our new set of meetings early in 2008," said Thurman Wilson, San Juan Public Lands Assistant Center Manager for Planning. "We look forward to hearing everyone's ideas about how to improve the current draft proposal. What we learn over the next three months will help shape the final plan."
The Draft Plan and EIS address the main issues raised by the public, including balancing management between maintaining working forest and rangelands and retaining core undeveloped lands, providing recreation and travel management within a sustainable ecological framework, managing special area designations and unique landscapes, and managing impacts from oil and gas leasing and development. The four alternatives outline different management scenarios varying by land allocations in response to issues and concerns.
Public comments will be taken on the draft plan and EIS for the next 90 days. During that time, public meetings will be held in the following communities to allow the public to learn more:
* Cortez - Wed., Jan. 16, 2008, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Cortez Holiday Inn/Cortez Conference Center, 2121 East Main;
* Durango - Wed., Jan. 23, 2008, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Durango Community Recreation Center, 2700 Main Avenue;
* Pagosa Springs - Tues., Jan. 29, 2008, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Pagosa Springs Community Center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd.;
* Silverton - Thurs., Jan. 31, 2008, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Silverton Town Hall, 1360 Greene Street;
* Rico - Wed., Feb. 6, 2008, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Rico Town Hall, 2 North Commercial.
Comments will be accepted until March 12, 2008, and can be offered via Web site at: http://ocs.fortlewis.edu/forestPlan
, by FAX to: 916-456-6724, or by mail to San Juan Plan Revision, P.O. Box 162909, Sacramento, CA 95816-2909
The draft Plan and draft EIS can be viewed and downloaded in Portable Do###ent Format (PDF), at the following Web site: http://ocs.fortlewis.edu/forestPlan
. The do###ents are also available on compact disks (CD). Requests should be sent to San Juan Plan Revision Team, 15 Burnett Court, Durango, Colorado 81301. Requests can also be made by phone to Laura Stransky at 970-385-1216 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
A limited number of printed copies will be available at the following government offices during regular business hours:
* Columbine Public Lands Office, 367 Pearl Street, Bayfield, CO 81122 (970-884-2512);
* Dolores Public Lands Office, 29211 Highway 184, Dolores, CO 81323 (970-882-7296);
* Pagosa Public Lands Office, 180 Pagosa Street, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 (970-264-2268);
* BLM Colorado State Office, 2850 Youngfield Street, Lakewood, CO 80215; and
* USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, 740 Simms Street, Golden, CO 80401.
For more information, contact Thurman Wilson, Assistant Center Manager for Planning at (970) 385-1246