Did you know that if GMUG (Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, Gunnison) National Forests adopt Alternative D that is proposed in their current Draft Plan that the Gunnison Basin stands to lose over 45% of its current snowmobiling terrain? Take a look at these numbers published on p. 12 of vol 1 of the GMUG DEIS:
Alternative A represents our current National Forest ROS (Recreation Opportunity Spectrum). Alternatives B, C, and D represent the possibility of our ROS in the future. As you can see, our current semi-primitive non-motorized terrain (essentially, non-groomed snowmobile areas) is around 53% of our acreage. However, Alternative D, if passed, would limit it to 6% while also eliminating 1% of groomed terrain.
Perhaps even worse, snowmobiling to Aspen and back would become a thing of the past as Alternative D would close terrain on the other side of Tilton Pass to over-snow vehicles (see Point 5 in our letter to the GMUG). Alternative D would also impact some access in the Poverty Gulch area (see Point 1 in our Letter).
We cannot let this happen. The County and Town of Crested Butte have written letters of support to the National Forest for Alternative D. In order to maintain our access, we must make our voices heard. And we must do it by next Friday, November 12th.
What is the GMUG Doing?
National Forests are required to periodically evaluate the management of their lands. They take feedback from Forest Service workers as well as organizations and citizens. The are currently in the stage where they have created a Draft Plan. In this Draft they have proposed the Alternatives A (existing management), B, C, and D. These are possible plans for how our National Forest might be managed in the future. It is unlikely that the FS will adapt any of these plans as-is, but will likely integrate a blend of each for specific areas.
These drafts focus on both summer and winter use, although they are not specifically travel management plans. But they will be used to dictate changes to travel management in the future.
How can I Voice my Opinion?
We highly encourage and want you to voice your opinion about these potential changes to our National Forest! The more opinions, the better.
Comments need to be made by Friday, Nov 12th and can be submitted on the comment page.
Here are some key points to writing a strong letter:
1) Be specific. Don’t just say you oppose Alternative D or only support Alternative C, etc. Describe what parts about them you do or do not like. We have included a lot of these specifics in our own letter to the GMUG. Please feel free to read our letter and pull ideas from it.
2) Be organized with your thoughts.
3) Use data and other research where possible.
4) Tell them about you – How do you use our public lands and why do these changes matter to you? How many days do you enjoy them? How could these changes potentially impact your future?
5) If any of these changes could economically impact you or your business, state how.
Spread the Word
Please spread the word about the potential loss of over-snow vehicle terrain. Send people this link. Follow us on social media (Instagram and Facebook) and share our recent posts. Also, sign up for our email updates for the quickest notifications.
The future of winter recreational opportunities in our National Forest lies in YOUR hands. Take action today!