MONTE VISTA, Colo. – The Rio Grande National Forest will hold three public meetings during the last week of July. Each meeting will be split into two sessions. The first session will present a detailed Need for Change document and draft framework for the proposed plan revision. The second session will focus on the wilderness evaluation process.

The Need for Change document identifies the needs and desires to change the Rio Grande National Forest’s 1996 Land and Resource Management Plan. The current, more detailed, document incorporates public and internal comments on the draft that was presented earlier in the year. The draft framework presents the vision and strategy anticipated for use in revising the forest plan.

During the second session, Forest staff will display the final wilderness inventory and discuss the evaluation process. Wilderness evaluation is the second step of a four part wilderness review process.

Each meeting is scheduled from 5:15 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Need for Change discussion will begin at 5:15 p.m., followed by the wilderness evaluation at approximately 7:00. There will be a 15 minute break between sessions and light refreshments will be provided.

The meetings are scheduled for:
 Tuesday, July 26, at the Saguache County Road and Bridge Building, 305 3rd Street, Saguache.
 Wednesday, July 27, at the South Fork Community Building, 254 State Highway 149, South Fork.
 Thursday, July 28, North Conejos School District board room, 17890 US Highway 285, La Jara.

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  and click on the forest plan revision link or contact Mike Blakeman at the Rio Grande National Forest Supervisor’s Office at 719-852-6212.