The Bureau of Land Management’s Uncompahgre Field Office has released a plan to manage over 675,000 acres of public land for the next 15 to 20 years. In the draft plan are four management strategies (alternatives) that will affect the future use of the land for hunting, target shooting, and a host of other recreation activities. The plan does not affect hunting; however, each of the alternatives would close acreage to target shooting.
Alternative A, the no-action or status-quo management strategy, would continue to prohibit target shooting at developed recreational sites. Slightly over 2,000 acres are affected. Alternative B would close nearly 250,000 acres, or well over half of the planning area, to target shooting. Alternative C is the same as Alternative A with respect to target shooting. Alternative D, which is the BLM’s preferred management strategy, would close nearly 70,000 acres to target shooting.
The public has 90 days in which to comment with the comment period closing September 1st. The BLM will be hosting six public open houses to provide information and an opportunity to comment on the draft plan. Members of the public can stop by anytime between 6-8 p.m. on the following dates at the following locations:
- Monday, June 20, at Ouray County 4-H Events Center, 22739 Hwy. 550 Ridgway, CO 81432
- Tuesday, June 21, at Naturita Public Library Conference Room, 107 W 1st Ave., Naturita, CO 81422
- Wednesday June 22, at Hotchkiss High School Commons Area, 438 Bulldog St., Hotchkiss, CO 81419
- Tuesday June 28, at Delta Center for the Performing Arts Community Room, 822 Grand Ave., Delta, CO 81416
- Wednesday June 29, at Montrose County Fairgrounds Friendship Hall, 1001 N. Second St., Montrose, CO 81401
- Thursday June 30, at Wilkinson Library Program Room, 100 W. Pacific Ave., Telluride, CO 81435
Written comments will be most effective if they are specific to the proposal or analysis and are received by Sept. 1, 2016. Please submit comments by email to [email protected] or by mail to the BLM, Uncompahgre Field Office, 2465 S. Townsend Ave., Montrose, CO 81401.
The plan is available at http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/ufo/uncompahgre_rmp.html (or www.uformp.com).
For more information, contact Gina Jones, National Environmental Policy Act Coordinator, at [email protected] or (970) 240-5300.
If these public lands are important places where you recreate, please take the time to attend one of the open houses and submit your comments to the BLM letting the agency know what lands you believe should remain open to target shooting that are being proposed for closure. There are many competing recreational interests so the future of target shooting totally depends on its importance to you as a local shooter and/or hunter and how involved you become in this planning process.