Forest travel management meeting July 24

Studies discussed for Rico-West Dolores area

The public is invited to attend the second in a series of three stakeholder workshops for the pre-National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) phase of the Rico-West Dolores travel management process at the Dolores Community Center on Thursday, July 24, at 6 p.m.

At this workshop, members of a stakeholders panel will review research articles, maps, local land-use plans, literature reviews, photos and statistics. The panel will also discuss the value of the information to the upcoming NEPA process and identify additional information that may be missing. The material will cover topics such as wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation experience, outdoor recreation economics, soil and water quality, and engineering.

"This information gathering phase helps us get a broad range of information from stakeholders and provides us the opportunity to do a better job explaining how that data will be used," said Debbie Kill, Dolores District NEPA coordinator. "We're taking a fresh look at the area."

Other study topics include user conflict/social studies, conservation use, NGO reports, forest-service documents, county and town land-use plans, public comments, North San Juan Advisory Committee and local GIS mapping data.

The U.S. Forest Service will ultimately choose which of the data and information to use in the upcoming analysis. More detailed information from the agency on what the NEPA process will entail will be covered at the third workshop, planned for August.

The area of study includes Stoner Mesa, Taylor Mesa, Black Mesa, Lizard Head Wilderness, Priest Gulch, Dunton, Calico Trail, Bear Creek, Scotch Creek, Roaring Creek, Ryman Creek, the Dolores River and many other places in-between.

The meeting will be moderated by the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution.

This is the second go-around for the Rico-West Dolores TMP. In 2009, after a long public input process and several meetings, forest officials remanded it back to the drawing board, saying there was a lack of information sharing and NEPA process errors.

Additional opportunities for submitting data or information will occur during the NEPA process scheduled to begin when the proposed action is released this summer.

For more information, please contact Debbie Kill, NEPA coordinator, at 970-882-6822.