A four-part lecture series hosted by the U.S. Forest Service and WCU’s Masters in Environmental Management program commences this Thursday evening. It will explore various facets of winter recreational use in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG.) This series is FREE and open to the public! It is essential that vested individuals such as YOURSELF attend opportunities such as this! As the Forest Service is under mandate to implement a Winter Travel Management Plan in the next year or so, we must educate and involve ourselves in this process in order to protect our interests to maintain current access to our beloved drainages for ALL users. We hope to see YOU at the University Center North Ballroom on the WCU campus in Gunnison on Thursday from 6:30 to 8. See the flyer below for all details.
We regret to inform you that this event has now been cancelled due to too much snow. Yay winter! On Sunday, October 21, Share the Slate will combine efforts with over twenty nonprofits, land management agencies, local ranchers, governments and businesses in this year’s Paradise Cleanup of the upper valleys. Please plan join us and show how much Share the Slate cares! Each organization is designated one clean-up zone, so the more Share-the-Slate-specific volunteers show up, the greater a job we’ll do with our assigned zone! We all know of the impacts to our valleys from dispersed camping and other uses, and on cleanup day we will band together to help our Paradise recover from a summer of heavy enjoyment. The more the merrier, and the more we can accomplish. Volunteers will meet at the Visitor Center parking lot at 10:30 AM, where First Ascent will provide coffee (make sure to bring your own mug!) We will be treated to a barbecue, beer and prizes following the cleanup at 3 PM at Oh-Be-Joyful.Bring warm clothes, work gloves, water and friends and families to this real community-building event. To help keep this project as zero-waste as possible, please bring your own plate, cup and utensils. You’ll be so glad you helped!
So, let’s back up and remember why Share the Slate began… We began a few years back because a segment of our local population expressed interest in reducing motorized use or access to our winter recreation areas. But, the main reason why this segment of the population felt empowered was due to the OSV (Over-Snow Vehicle) Ruling which became law in February, 2015. Basically, a group called Winter Wildlands Alliance sued the National Forest, requiring the already financially-burdened organization to create Winter Travel Management Plans (summer ones already existed) for every National Forest. It’s taken some years for them to really start this process, but the first Winter Travel Management Plans are just now being developed. Even though these are currently located in California, these are extremely important to us in Colorado as they will set the precedent for future Winter Travel Management Plans – and ours is coming soon!
In a recent letter, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory wrote, “RMBL fully supports Share the Slate in their efforts to develop this winter recreation layer to the already existing CBG Trails app. This app will be a great educational tool that will help preserve existing RMBL research as well as our public lands!”
This winter recreation app will have many other benefits as well. First, it will educate locals and visitors alike about what trails and zones are designated for what use which will in turn help spread out usage. This will hopefully reduce some of our more crowded trailheads as users may opt to explore alternative areas on busy days. Additionally, winter recreationalists can identify where they want to go and whether they want a mixed-use experience or a more selective experience. And last, we hope that it will minimize conflicts among winter recreationalists and hopefully help people have an overall better experience.
Let’s be real for a minute – no one wants to deal with your dog’s crap. Ironically, many of us retreat out these drainages to get away from some crap, or get some perspective on some crap, or to process some crap. We certainly aren’t interested in someone or something else’s crap. To see, to smell, to step in, to ride through dog crap while traveling our public lands is just, well, yeah. Crap.
Gunnison National Forest Revision The Gunnison National Forest, which comprises the area surrounding Crested Butte, is undergoing a forest-wide revision process. That process also includes the Grand Mesa and Uncompahgre national forests, and the three forests are collectively known as the “GMUG”. This is an ambitious and far-reaching process which will last years. Not only does the forest revision cover a large area, the revision also encompasses recreation aspects and tackles questions about mining, logging, and other activities. The revision process is just beginning, and you can learn more by visiting the USFS website here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/gmug/landmanagement/planning. The revision process will serve as the “guide” for future USFS decisions, and that is why it is important that winter recreationalists that care about access for all user groups, like Share The Slate, need to take note of the process and make sure that our comments and suggestions are heard. It is important to note that while the GMUG revision will not directly impact the upcoming winter travel management plan, the outcome of the revision will guide changes (if any) in winter travel management plan. The actual winter travel management plan will take place after the GMUG revision, and is what will directly