Rio Grande National Forest announces availability of proposed forest plan
The public has 90-days to review and comment on the proposed forest plan.
The forest plan guides all management decisions and activities on the Rio Grande National Forest.
 
MONTE VISTA, Colo., September 28, 2017 – Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas today announced the availability of the draft Rio Grande National Forest revised land management plan (forest plan) and the accompanying draft environmental impact statement for a 90-day public review and comment period. The 90-day public review and comment period will begin on the day the Notice of Availability is published in the Federal Register.
 
The forest plan is an overarching document that guides all management decisions and activities on the Rio Grande National Forest, such as the preservation of cultural and historic resources, grazing, timber production, recreation, and wildlife management. The draft environmental impact statement analyzes the environmental, social and economic effects of the proposed forest plan.
 
“This proposed forest plan was developed by working together with local counties, neighboring forests, and state and federal agencies,” said Rio Grande National Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas. “Over 100 meetings have been held to date and several more will be scheduled as we continue to involve the public in the management of their national forest.”
 
The Rio Grande National Forest is revising the 1996 forest plan because the forest and surrounding areas have witnessed significant economic, environmental and social changes since the current plan was published in 1996. In addition, the revised plan will align with new laws, executive direction, and agency policy, and incorporate public input, new science, knowledge and technology.
 
Resources not analyzed in the draft environmental impact statement includes oil and gas leasing availability, suitability of range lands for grazing, travel management, and minerals.
 
The draft document reflects the impact of timber harvest, livestock grazing, and recreation on local economies, the need to maintain these, and create more opportunities where available. Changes to fire management direction are also addressed to provide opportunities to use fire to benefit resources where feasible.
 
The Rio Grande National Forest will schedule public meetings in early November to share information and answer questions concerning the proposed forest plan and draft environmental impact statement. The dates and locations of these meetings will be publicized through local media and on the Rio Grande National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/riogrande. The draft documents are available for review and comment online.
 
Comments may be submitted by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; by fax to 719-852-6250; or in writing to Rio Grande National Forest, Attn: Forest Plan Revision, 1803 West U.S. Highway 160, Monte Vista, CO 81144.
 
For more information, visit the Rio Grande National Forest website at or contact Erin Minks, Forest Planner, at 719-852-6215.

Forest Service office in Creede open one day a week
 
CREEDE, Colo., September 26, 2017 – The Rio Grande National Forest’s office in Creede will be open one day a week starting the first week of October. A Forest Service employee will be stationed at the office to provide a full range of visitor services, including firewood permits, on Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The Divide Ranger District office in Del Norte will continue to be open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  For more information, call the Divide Ranger District at 719-657-3321.

CREEDE, Colo., September 18, 2017 – Divide District Ranger Martha Williamson signed the decision notice approving the Blue Park Spruce Beetle Salvage Project on Wednesday, September 12. This timber management project is located on the Rio Grande National Forest about 10 miles southeast of Creede in the Blue and Long Park area.

“The Blue Park Spruce Beetle Salvage Project will recover the value of dead and dying trees while supporting local and regional economies with a stable supply of forest products,” said Williamson.

Ms. Williamson approved the proposed action analyzed in the environmental assessment. The proposed action allows for harvesting dead and dying trees on approximately 3,200 acres of forest lands, yielding about 13 million board feet of sawtimber, or enough timber to provide all the wood products needed to construct more than 430 homes.

Approximately 22 miles of public forest roads will be maintained during the project and up to 13 miles of new or existing temporary roads will be re-opened or constructed. All temporary roads will be closed, stabilized and seeded with a native grass mix following the harvest activities.

Spruce beetles have infested more than 600,000 acres of spruce-fir forest on the Rio Grande National Forest. The Forest salvages dead and dying spruce trees for human benefit in areas designated for timber management as long as the trees are useable for commercial purposes. Surveys are conducted following harvesting activities to identify areas without adequate natural regeneration of young trees. These areas are then planted with seedlings grown in a nursery from seeds previously collected from local trees.

For more information concerning the Blue Park Spruce Beetle Salvage Project, visit the Rio Grande National Forest projects webpage at http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/riogrande/landmanagement/projects or call the Divide Ranger District office at 719-657-3321.

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Happy Lake City Uncorked Wine and Music Festival week! Tickets can be purchased in Lake City this week -- $60 for wine and music; $40 for music only.  Enjoy a jam-packed day with seven bands, more than 90 wines, a beer booth, cool art vendors, a BUBBLE MACHINE (Ben Hake is brilliant), wine glasses by Julie Reel, glow sticks sold by our Ski Team, awesome food (enjoy Kip's right here in Hinsdale County) .... come on out and support this community fund-raiser.

See you there!
Kristie Borchers|
www.lakecityfestival.org970-596-9071

SOUTH FORK, Colo., September 11, 2017 – Rio Grande National Forest’s Divide Ranger District is seeking public input on a proposed special order that would prohibit motorized over snow use in the area surrounding the Pass Creek Yurt east of Wolf Creek Pass. The purpose of the order would be to create safe winter recreation opportunities for all users and avoid user conflicts.

The location of the proposed winter non-motorized boundary was developed with input from local snowmobile representatives and the yurt operators. The closure area would not affect over-snow motorized access and use elsewhere on Pass Creek.

Comments would be most useful if received by October 11, 2017 and may be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or mailed to Divide Ranger District, 13308 West U.S. Highway 160, Del Norte, CO 81132.

Additional information concerning the Pass Creek Yurt Closure Area, including a map of the proposed closure area, may be viewed at the Rio Grande National Forest website’s project page at www.fs.usda.gov/projects/riogrande/landmanagement/projects, or contact the Divide Ranger District at 719-657-3321.

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