Thursday, July 24, 2014

Grant County Commissioners vote to appeal Gila National Forest Travel Management Plan

The commissioners also voted to appeal the U.S. Forest Service's Gila National Forest Travel Management Plan, a document that was eight years in the making. The travel plan, which was unveiled in early June, received mostly positive responses from a variety of organizations, including The New Mexico Wildlife Federation, the state chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and the state Public Lands Coordinator for Trout Unlimited. The Center for Biological Diversity expressed some concerns about the plan when it was made public, but Todd Schulke, senior staff and cofounder of the group, said at the time he saw "positive changes," in the travel management plan. Grant County commissioners, however, have written a 108-page appeal. According to statements from Gila National Forest supervisor, Kelly Russel, made in June, those who commented on the draft during the public comment period from January to March 2011, had 45 days to appeal the new rules. Now that the commission is appealing, a series of discussions with the Forest Service and ultimately a regional forester will take place. The regional forester will make the final decision. If a regional forester rules in favor of the Forest Service, Grant County commissioners can take the matter to the courts. There are two main issues at stake, Robinson said after the meeting. "The Forest Service did not cooperate with local agencies," Robinson said. She also said roads closed by the Forest Service were not included in the travel management plan and the county considers this a grave issue...more

1 comment:

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