In conjunction with the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, (our local public lands advocate organization), Orient Land Trust is participating in the public comments process as the U.S. Forest Service determines their management plan for the Rio Grande National Forest for the next 20 years. OLT has already submitted a comment package and the OLT Board of Directors is in the process of submitting their perspective.
We are inviting any and all members of our organization to consider submitting individual comments. What will be very effective as the USFS reads our submissions are personal stories that you might have regarding your personal experiences in the wild areas surrounding the San Luis Valley, within the Rio Grande National Forest. Hiking, fishing, horseback pack trips, personal moments of inspiration as you have interacted with wilderness... any and all of these (and more) are valid and welcome. As you describe these moments, consider tying your personal experiences to preservation of these lands and if you see fit to do so, perhaps recommend how you think our public lands agency, the USFS can best perpetuate and enhance these experiences.
USFS Spokesperson Mike Blakeman says, "I want to emphasize that although we have passed the end date as announced in the legal notice published in the Valley Courier, the Rio Grande National Forest planning team is always interested in receiving comments pertaining to the forest plan revision. The RGNF is targeting late May to release the Draft Environmental Impact Statement." They would like your comments by April 15th if at all possible.
For more background on this process, please go to: http://www.slvec.org/projects/rio-grande-national-forest-management-plan. Remember, these lands belong to all of us and it is our right if not our trust to intelligently manage these lands for ourselves and our future generations. Participating in this process is another way that we can encourage our democratic processes.
Comments are to be sent to three places:
General US Postal Mail:
Rio Grande National Forest
Forest Plan Revision
1803 US Hwy 150
Monte Vista, CO 81132
By Mark Jacobi