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GMUG hosts open houses on forest plan revision

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This summer, the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests is holding public open houses throughout the neighboring communities to invite input for the forest plan revision.

The open houses will be held in the evenings, starting with Delta on July 25, Gunnison on July 27, Ouray on August 1, Grand Junction on Aug. 3, Telluride on Aug. 10, Montrose on Aug. 14, Lake City on Aug. 15, and Saguache on Aug. 17.

The forest plan revision starts with an assessment of current conditions on the forests. At the open houses, the GMUG planning team will share initial assessment work and early ideas about needs for change in the forest plan, while inviting the public to contribute its ideas.

According to Samantha Staley, forest planner, "We've started to build a comprehensive snapshot of what's going on in the forests today, but we hope the open houses are an opportunity to widen the lens: what has the public noticed? What concerns do our stakeholders have about the state of the forests?" The assessment relies on existing information, including best available science, and invites interested stakeholders to provide additional information. The assessment will cover the broad array of resources and programs on the forests, from wildlife to livestock grazing, timber to mining, ecosystems and recreation. The end result of the assessment is to identify changes that should be made in the new forest plan, including changes identified by stakeholders.

In order to keep interested stakeholders informed, the GMUG is utilizing a variety of communication tools, including open houses, webinars, posting information and updates on the website and through email.

The series of public open houses mentioned above are designed to help citizens understand the assessment process, review preliminary assessment information with resource specialists, and afford the opportunity to provide early input.

The Delta open house will take place Tuesday, July 25, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Lincoln Elementary School, 1050 Hastings Street.

For other locations and times, please see the GMUG website at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ForestPlan.

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