ALAMOSA—The Rio Grande National Forest Plan Revision is one step closer to becoming a reality.
In a presentation to the Alamosa County Commissioners, Judi Perez of the United States Forest Service (USFS) noted that the plan’s Draft Record of Decision has now officially been filed. The project has now reached the phase known as the Pre-decision review. The public has 60 days to file objections.
Perez went on to explain that the projected decision by Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas would be a combination of two of the original alternatives. The decision would include the addition of over 40,000 acres of wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo range. Under the new guidelines, there would 471,900 acres of forest that would be made available for active forest management. She was also quick to point out that there would be no changes to the grazing and endangered species methodologies. Changes to the plan would include increased provisions for wildfire management.
Perez also observed that those who are part of the planning process maintained a focus on the idea of “Land, Water and People.” She also acknowledged the ever-increasing challenge of forest management and that the decision has been a highly anticipated one. While the process is currently in a holding pattern, there have been many interested parties who have been following the USFS’s course of action as it has unfolded. Once all of the steps in the process are complete, the plan will likely be made official by late December/January.