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Colorado Motorcycle Trail Riders Association
Advocating for Your Right to Ride on our Public Lands

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GMUG Update--2

Bret E Williamson  | Published on 10/28/2021
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Shape The Future...

Rider on bike looking out over the forest and mountains

Of how3 million acres of public land in Colorado is managed for the coming decades!

Hello Trail Rider!

The Grand Mesa Uncompahgre Gunnison (GMUG) National Forest released its Draft Forest Plan and Draft Environment Impact Statement (DEIS) and your input is requested.

This Forest Plan provides a broad vision for the National Forest moving forward and will guide where motorized use is allowed and prohibited. The Forest Plan is similar to a city or county zoning plan on USFS land. The last time the GMUG did a Forest Plan was 38 years ago!

Establishing an accurate summary of current management on the forest has been a persistent problem and is a very concerning starting point for the plan. Generally, this plan is confusing and includes analysis based on inaccurate information.

Below are our generalized thoughts on each alternative, with our conclusion that Alternative C is the best option for motorized recreation.

Alternative A is intended to represent the status of the current GMUG Forest Plan, however, it fails to accurately reflect current management. This prevents our ability to address possible impacts proposed in the other alternatives.

Alternative B is ok but fails to recognize the need for future flexibility. One important issue is the designation of 700,000 acres (about 23%) of the forest as wildlife habitat and restricting future road or trail development to 1 mile of trail per square mile of land to ALL recreational users is virtually impossible for actual passage through most Colorado terrain. Additionally, there is highly restrictive zoning that could prevent future route development or adjustments should they become necessary due to natural forces. Bottom line: it takes a large area of the GMUG off the table for future trail development and/or unforeseen management needs.

Alternative D is terrible for motorized recreation and must be opposed. There are too many restrictions. For example, it increases roadless and wilderness areas in the GMUG from the current 50% to 77% (1.5 million acres to 2.3 million acres). This alternative is a nonstarter given the crushing impacts it would have on recreational access.
Alternative C
The TPA, CORE, and CSA are supporting Alternative C with modifications and will make site-specific recommendations to the US Forest Service.

This is the best alternative for motorized recreation because:
  • It appears to be the closest thing to current management
  • Is the most flexible with less zoning restrictions
  • Allows more management of the forest in the event of natural forces (fire, floods, landslides, etc.) and recreation development.

We support Alternative C with the following modifications:
  • The addition of verbiage from Alternative B that protects motorized access to the Continental Divide Trail and areas around the trail.
  • The addition of specific protection to any route that has already been approved as a motorized route in site-specific Travel Management by the FS.In particular any of these routes that have been proposed to be encompassed by a Primitive or Semi Primitive Non-Motorized ROS category.
  • Consistency between Wildlife Management Area trail densities and best available science that are based on wildlife population counts published by CPW.
Please read through Alternative C, take a look at the Recreation Settings Storymaps and use this information as a guide to make these points in your own words and submit them to the US Forest Service.Remember to tell them the following
  1. Who you are.
  2. Your experience recreating in GMUG, or your interest in doing so in the future.
  3. The recreational opportunities you seek (e.g. motorcycle singletrack loops).
You can read more detailed information about the GMUG on the TPA website.

Deadline for comments - Friday, Nov 12, 2021

Make Your Comments Today!

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Photo credit (top) - Chad De Alva
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