It’s Finally Time to Protect Colorado’s West Slope Rivers!
Today, the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forest Unit announced the much-anticipated release of the Draft Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The Draft Plan materials were released on Friday, August 13, initiating a 90-day review period. This point in the plan revision process is the most important time for the river community to engage and speak up to protect our beloved West Slope rivers in Colorado!
The GMUG National Forest is home to gems like Oh-Be-Joyful Creek, the Taylor River, Norwood Canyon on the San Miguel, and numerous others. Many of these rivers are free-flowing and offer outstanding values, including paddling, breathtaking scenery, fish habitat, and profound history and culture. The outcome of the forest plan revision will determine whether these free-flowing rivers and their outstanding values will be protected for the life of the 20-30 year plan - or not. For some river enthusiasts, this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to help secure long-term protections for critical Colorado streams.
Since the beginning of this planning process in 2017, American Whitewater has been working closely with other recreation and conservation organizations to advocate for stronger river protections and sustainable recreation management. With Outdoor Alliance, we are leading a coalition of locally-based organizations that live, recreate, work, and breathe in the GMUG. Collectively, we created a vision for how human powered recreation should be managed in the Forest and are advocating that this vision be adopted into the forest plan revision. You can view the proposal here and its accompanying map here.
Now that the Draft Plan is released, American Whitewater will be sitting down to thoroughly review the plan and prepare our comments. Please stay tuned for guidance on how we can work together to protect Colorado’s beloved rivers for future generations.