Based on public input, this large, landscape-scale analysis is designed to actively manage affected spruce-fir and aspen in light of rapidly changing conditions. The plan focuses on reducing health and safety risk to communities and forest infrastructure; prioritizing fuel treatments; and prioritizing salvage, and long-term health of timber stands. The Forest will adapt areas and treatments as a result of collaboration and beetle activity within the project boundary. A total of 120,000 acres of National Forest System (NFS) lands within the GMUG could be treated over approximately 8-12 years.
The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests have a long-standing and successful history of working with stakeholders and collaboratives on project development and implementation. As part of this analysis, the Forests worked with the Public Lands Partnership to convene public meetings and to facilitate collaboration and information sharing, as well as Colorado Forest Restoration Institute, Colorado State University and Rocky Mountain Research Station to ensure the incorporation of best available science.
According to Forest Supervisor Scott Armentrout, “A lot of great information, public involvement and scientific information has gone into this project. We had widespread public support to find new ways to address a growing beetle epidemic. We listened and incorporated information to address the concerns and suggestions of our stakeholders and partners. We believe, an accelerated pace of treatments and our ability to adapt to changing conditions will benefit both the health of the forest, and local communities.”
The analysis and associate documents are available on the Forests’ Website as well as information on where and how to comment. A formal 45-day public comment period will begin upon publishing the Notice of Availability in the Federal Register (Friday, May 29).