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The Proposal developed by the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative

Gunnison Public Lands Initiative

Our public lands seem to be a particularly hot debate as of late. Do we increase Wilderness? Where should mountain bikers be disallowed? What areas should we make non-motorized? What public lands are “for sale”?

Over the course of a few years, the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative has been working hard to develop a comprehensive land management plan for our Forest Service lands that takes into account recreation, resource management, conservation, and ecology. The GPLI constists of ten local organizations which represent users of various interests including ranching, water resources, motorized use, conservation, mountain biking, recreation, and hunting and angling. Over the course of years, this group has met to develop a balanced and insightful use plan for Gunnison Public Lands which satisfies the needs of all user groups. They have set a model for the nation in representing all users, promoting awareness of land use, and developing a culture of compromise. By coming together to develop an insightful well-balanced proposal for sustainable growth and use of our Gunnison National Forest, the GPLI is setting a positive example for promoting shared use of our public lands.

Gunnison Valley Winter Backcountry Survey

Ever since speculations began to surround the use of our backcountry in winter, the Crested Butte community has recognized the need to develop a survey which begins to collect information from the various voices in the valley. Thankfully, Western States MEMs (Master in Environmental Management) students, along with Brian Lieberman, have taken this on. The intent of this survey is to gain some baseline data about the use of our winter backcountry and our goal is to get as many people to take this survey as possible. In order for all voices of our community to be represented, it is important that all winter backcountry users participate.

Support for CBMBA’s Winter Grooming Proposal

It was mid-January and Crested Butte was in the midst of a dry spell. Snow had not fallen for at least a couple of weeks and although snow was bountiful, the quality of it was lacking. But, the skis were blue, the morning was crisp, and the snow sparkled invitingly. So, I headed out to Gothic Road to enjoy cross-country skiing with my family who was visiting from Ohio. We found the trail to be in very poor shape, with deep grooves from cross-country ski travel, crossed over by footprints from walkers, another track crossing over both of those from fat-bikers. This multi-use trail was beat up. And I wondered, why don’t we see grooming here? It would create a better user experience for everyone! Improvement of user experience in heavily traveled shared use areas such as the Gothic corridor is one of the main reasons why we support the recent winter grooming proposal of the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA). The proposal is aimed toward increasing trail access for fat bikers, but much of the proposal can improve experiences for all winter user groups.

Post-meeting Actions

It’s been nearly a week since the first public meeting for Share the Slate. We thank all those who were able to attend! If you were not able to attend, we have the two PowerPoint presentations that we presented under the Resources page on our site. We first introduced ourselves, explained our mission, and what we believe. Then, we explained why we formed, to counter the movements made by the Nordic Center and Silent Tracks, and our goals to try to promote multi-use trails. After, we explained the current winter travel management plan for our area, the Gang of Nine Decision. This was followed by an explanation of how you can help Share the Slate. Last, we went over our new data collection mapping program. Which brings us now to the point…. Have YOU taken action? To take action, we ask that you do some or all of these four things: 1) Sign up for our email updates 2) Donate 3) Write a letter to the town council 4) Sign our Petition During our meeting, we also explained that we would like people to submit their user data on our map. This is our attempt to gain knowledge for who

4 Actions you can take to support Share the Slate

Sharing is caring. That’s what Share the Slate is all about. We’re about fostering a community that thrives on multi-use winter trails and celebrates the diversity of our users. We believe that through education and awareness, various user groups can continue to coexist happily on our winter trails. But, forces are at work against this. Groups like Silent Tracks and the Crested Butte Nordic Center seek further segregation of our trailhead use – or worse, to shut it down to specific user groups. While Share the Slate provides a strong voice against these groups, the voices are louder with volume. We need YOU and we need your support. Here are 4 actions you can take to support Share the Slate: 1) Stay informed – Sign up for our email updates. We’ll keep you educated about policies, notify you of upcoming meetings, and send out action alerts. 2) Donate – We need funding for start-up costs and to help us file for non-profit status and we need these immediately. Later, we’ll need funds to help us accomplish some of our goals, like better signage at trailheads. Please donate today! 3) Write a letter to the Crested Butte Town Council and Mayor

Results of Crested Butte Town Council Meeting

On Tuesday January 19th, the Crested Butte Town Council had a meeting about winter trailheads. At that meeting, many groups presented regarding winter travel. Of most importance to us, Silent Tracks made a presentation to the Town Council. They introduced who they were and specifically asked the council to write a letter to the National Forest asking them to speed up the re-evaluation of the existing winter travel management plan. Public comment was at first not allowed. But, due to the number of people present at the meeting and after a few remarks by Crested Butte local Mike Arbany, Mayor Glen Michel granted public comments, provided they were directed to the actual town council. A summary of the comments that ensued and the overall discussions are recapped in the Crested Butte News and the Gunnison Country Times. We at Share the Slate believe that the time has not yet come to discuss the winter travel management plan and that the current plan is working. We believe that any conflicts that supposedly exist can be resolved through education and awareness. We made these points clear during the town council meeting and these sentiments were echoed by much of the public. After