The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests (also called the GMUG National Forest) in western Colorado contain outdoor recreation opportunities that are truly world class. If you’ve every navigated a Jeep to the top of Black Bear Pass in the heart of the San Juans, or if you’ve ever opened the throttle on a snowmobile through the open snowdrifts on top of the Grand Mesa, or even if you’ve simply disappeared into the Uncompahgre forest to camp in an RV as the aspen are showing off their fall colors then you’ve had the GMUG Experience. If you haven’t made your way to the GMUG yet, then you should absolutely put it on your bucket list.’
The GMUG is currently revising their forest plan, and as we’re seeing with so many plans currently being released by land management agencies, there is a serious risk that many of the popular areas in the GMUG could be closed to public access. You can find an overview of the current draft plan here. The Forest Service is accepting public comments on the draft plan until November 26, 2021. You can find an action alert at the bottom of this page that makes it easy for you to submit your comment.
Our team has been attending as many of the public meetings about the plan as we can. Here are screenshots of the attendees of the Zoom meeting to show you the kinds of groups that are participating in the process:
The good news is we have several allies in Colorado who are fighting hard to keep recreation access open in the GMUG. Colorado Offroad Trail Defenders, CORE, Colorado TPA, COHVCO, Colorado Snowmobile Association, and Thunder Mountain Wheelers Club have all spent time briefing us on serious issues with this plan. The wilderness and anti-access groups have also been attending all the meetings just as we have.
Those of us who support continued access to these forests need to vigorously oppose Alternative D in the plan. Quite simply, this alternative will close too many popular roads and trails to count, but they include popular trails such as Black Bear Pass, Imogene Pass, Ophir Pass, and Poughkeepsie Gulch. We will be releasing more information on our social media channels and membership lists to explain some of the more detailed problems with this Alternative D, and why you should be supporting a blend of Alternatives B & C. We will also discuss some of the specific issues in play related to winter recreation, dispersed camping, drone use, and of course the trails. You can also review the differences between the different alternatives on this page from the US Forest Service.
For an illustration of why your comments are important, we recently received the final plan for the Lewis and Clark National Forest in Montana and 118 total comments were received on that plan from all user groups. We recently enlisted the help of our members for the Manti La-Sal comment period and together we helped mobilize over 300 supporters of recreation access to submit comments for that forest. When we show up as a unified force of organized groups backed with hundreds of individual comments, we send a strong signal to the Forest Service that they need to take our concerns seriously. If we’re being honest, we know if you help us spread the word about this, we can easily get thousands of people engaged. If we show up with strength and good feedback, we are confident we can steer the direction of this plan into a good direction.
Recreational use of public land is a bona fide use of the land as long as it does not harm the resource. Please do not apply a “one size fits all” rule to vast areas of public land. The result is a policy that locks responsible users out and concentrates more users in ever seas creating overuse of the resource.
Please do not lock out responsible users from public land. As a veteran I use camping and off road as therapy. Locking us out of public land takes away a valuable resource for many. My family loves this area and we plan yearly trips there to enjoy the beauty of the mountains and experience trails with other off road enthusiasts. We stay the trail and keep it safe. We love this area and do not want to lose access to it.
Most of these message generation programs allow you to edit and add input.
Such as “I have been enjoying the use of the San Juan trails, for many years”; “4WD is the only practical way for me to access this wonderful area.”
Surprised this did not have a way to do that.
We fixed the form to allow editing. Thanks for the heads up.
My family has enjoyed the mountains of Uncompahgre National Forest for 25 years. We have been responsible stewards and hope all who go there are too. We need these forests to remain open so new generations of adventurers can see the beauty.
Public lands are for public use. My family has re-created in the above mentioned areas my entire life. We support all of the efforts to maintain the areas to fees,taxes, economic support, and participation in every other way we can. We do everything we can to maintain the beauty that our family enjoys on our public lands in these areas. Keep our public lands open!
These trails help keep people right minded in life by experiencing living amongst the finest mountains in America. Families and friends gather with only love and peace in their hearts when experiencing earth at it’s finest. There is a beautiful connection to the appreciation of life when sharing these trails now and for generations to come. If ever anyone dares to abuse these lands, then go after them to the fullest degree of law! Please do not punish those of us who adore this Wonderment- our trails! Our trails are a gift for all to enjoy!
I support a combination of Alternatives B and C. The ROS zones in Alternative C are stronger for year-round recreation – especially winter use. Alternative B is a stronger choice for protecting recreation access in the summer.
Alternative D proposes massive closures, and I am strongly opposed to this alternative. An alternative needs to be considered that supports all current roads and trails as well as proposes the creation of more routes to improve access. If the USFS is going to expend resources developing a conservation alternative that is inconsistent with its multiple use mission, the agency should also develop an alternative that maximizes recreation access. Access to nature is proving to be a critical need in humankind for many different health benefits. The desire for outdoor recreation has increased tremendously in the last few years and there needs to be an alternative allowing for future growth and management so that all can enjoy this land.
I fear the federal government will remove the public and make it private with the intention of allowing private land owners and developers to come forward and build condo’s and private dwelling’s. The lands needs to remain public, for all to recreate and enjoy. We have had more than enough intrusion of these beautiful forests and desert lands. These lands need to remain public. period.
I feel that our national forest and public land should be managed with multiple use for all Americans who would like to visit. Shutting off access limit the aged, afflicted and those without financial means to access any other way
Please listen to common sense. I support a combination of Alternatives B and C. The ROS zones in Alternative C are stronger for year-round recreation – especially winter use. Alternative B is a stronger choice for protecting recreation access in the summer.
Alternative D proposes massive closures, and I am strongly opposed to this alternative. An alternative needs to be considered that supports all current roads and trails as well as proposes the creation of more routes to improve access. Access to nature is proving to be a critical need in people. The desire for outdoor recreation has increased tremendously in the last few years and there needs to be an alternative allowing for future growth and management so that all can enjoy this land.
Alternative C is the only practical choice.