Grand Mesa Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest
Here in Colorado, many of our National Forests Plans are more than 20 years old and are well overdue for a full plan revision. The largest National Forest Unit in Colorado, the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests, is currently going through this plan revision process and numerous coalitions, organizations, and members of the public have been collaborating to help guide the process and ensure that the rivers of the GMUG receive the best possible protections and management direction.
The plan revision process started in 2017 and after some significant delays, we are anticipating the release of the Draft Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement this summer. The Draft Plan will include a revised Wild and Scenic River Eligibility Evaluation.
The original Draft Evaluation released in February 2019 fell seriously short, leaving out many river segments that should be determined “eligible” for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. To qualify for eligibility status a river only needs to be free-flowing and have at least one Outstandingly Remarkable Value, of which there are many on the vast GMUG. Only 3% of the GMUG’s rivers have been determined as eligible and it is up to us to ensure that a more robust Eligibility Evaluation is completed.