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Gila National Forest Releases New Draft Plan, First in 34 Years (NM)

Posted: 01/21/2020
By: Kestrel Kunz

For the first time in 34 years, the Gila National Forest is revising their forest-wide Management Plan. On Friday, January 17 they officially released the Draft Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIS) for a 90-day comment period ending on April 16. Forest Plans are vitally important as they are the blueprint for resource management and they provide an opportunity to secure better protections for rivers and their surrounding landscapes. As part of the plan revision process, the Forest Service is required to rely heavily on public input to inform management direction, plan components, and new designated areas. 

If you are lucky enough to have experienced the magic of the Gila National Forest then you already know how important it is to participate in this process and if you haven't, you should put exploring the Gila area top on your bucket list. The Gila National Forest is home to the world's first designated wilderness (Gila Wilderness, 1924) and is the birthplace of New Mexico's last free-flowing rivers. The remoteness of the area provides some of the most primitive recreation opportunities, including paddling on the Gila and San Francisco Rivers. In order to preserve these special rivers for future generations, we need to ensure that they are adequately protected in the Forest's Management Plan. 

The Forest Service is hosting public meetings throughout the planning area in southwest New Mexico starting this week! If you live in the area or nearby, we strongly encourage you to attend one of these meetings to learn more about the Draft Plan and provide feedback to the Forest Service staff that are working directly on the plan. See the public meeting schedule below. 

  • Quemado, NM - January 21, 5:30-8:30 pm, Quemado High School
  • Glenwood, NM - January 22, 5:30-8:30 pm, Glenwood Community Center
  • Reserve, NM - January 23, 5:30-8:30 pm, Catron County Fairgrounds Building
  • Mimbres Valley, NM - January 24, 9:30 am-12:30 pm, Roundup Lodge
  • Truth or Consequences, NM - January 24, 5:30-8:30 pm, Albert Lyon Event Center
  • Silver City, NM - January 27, 5:30-8:30 pm, Grant County Conference Center
  • Las Cruces, NM - January 28, 5:30-8:30 pm, NM Farm and Ranch Museum

If you can't make any of the public meetings this month, please consider submitting written comments to the Forest Service using the online comment tool or by mailing a letter to: Gila National Forest, ATTN: Plan Revision Team, 3005 E. Camino del Bosque, Silver City, NM 88061. 

Remember that you have until April 16 to submit comments and so please take time to review the Draft Plan and write a thoughtful, unique letter to the planning team. Stay tuned for more information as our team continues to review the Draft Plan and DEIS. You can expect to see American Whitewater's detailed feedback on the plan revision in the coming weeks. 

Kestrel Kunz

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