LA JARA, Colo. – The Rio Grande National Forest will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, June 1 at the North Conejos School District board room from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The doors will open at 4:00 p.m. and presentations will begin at 4:30 p.m.

The primary purpose of the meeting is to discuss and receive input on the draft wilderness inventory for the forest plan revision.

The wilderness inventory is the first of a four step process required by law when revising a forest plan. All lands that may have wilderness characteristics are outlined on a map during this “coarse filter” phase. These areas will be evaluated during the next step to determine if they have wilderness characteristics that meet the 1964 Wilderness Act.

Areas that make it through the evaluation stage will be included in the analysis for forest plan revision. Rio Grande National Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas will use the analysis to determine if he will recommend any areas for possible wilderness designation. Only Congress can designate wilderness.

Individuals will have the opportunity to view draft inventory areas and comment using the interactive map posted on the Rio Grande National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/riogrande. Click on the forest plan revision link on the right side of the home page.

The wilderness inventory meeting will be the first of several collaborative public meetings that will help with the development of the preferred alternative for the forest plan revision. The preferred alternative may be described as the proposed forest plan revision that along with other alternatives will go through a thorough analysis.

The forest plan is the overarching document that guides all management decisions and activities on the entire Rio Grande National Forest, including activities such as preservation of cultural and historic resources, grazing, timber production, recreation, wildlife management, firewood cutting and gathering of special forest products.

For more information, visit the Rio Grande National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/riogrande  and click on the forest plan revision link or contact Mike Blakeman at the Rio Grande National Forest Supervisor’s Office at 719-852-5941.