Exploration series planned for public lands proposal

From the Gunnison Country Times 

GPLI highlighting proposed protections

Times Staff Report

 A series of outings are taking place this summer aimed at drawing attention to a proposal to protect additional parts of Gunnison County from future development.

Gunnison Public Lands Initiative (GPLI) unveiled its proposal earlier this year. The plan has been submitted to Sen. Michael Bennet’s office. It’s expected that GPLI's and a separate but similar proposal that prioritizes wildlife protection (see related article) will influence the drafting of proposed legislation by Bennet’s office.

GPLI is offering to the public tours of some areas pitched for protection as part of what it calls “The Gunnison Exploration Series.” A fly-fishing excursion along Cement Creek took place June 26, and additional outings are planned through September.

“It’s a way to get people out into these proposal areas in ways that people like to recreate in those areas,” said GPLI’s outgoing coordinator Laura Yale.

The outings are being led by individuals who have had a voice in creating GPLI’s proposal. For example, representatives from Gunnison Trails and Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association are leading a mountain biking tour on Carbon trail July 28.

Yale said the areas the tours will visit were chosen because they’re easily accessed by the public, yet showcase the diversity of lands eyed for protection.

Yale’s successor, Crested Butte’s Hilary Henry, attended the fly fishing outing last month.

“We caught a few fish and were able to talk about the initiative,” she said.

Henry’s position is funded through a grant from Pew Charitable Trust. She said additional public outreach is planned by GPLI in coming months.

While GPLI’s local public- lands proposal isn’t the only one currently before the senator, Henry said it’s not meant to compete with other plans.

“We feel confident the senator is going to be able to... (ARTICLE CUT OFF IN PRINTING)



July 19 — Hike to Pilot Knob: An opportunity to explore the lesser known landscape of the North Fork. Alli Melton, public lands director for High Country Conservation Advocates, will join to explain current issues surrounding oil and gas development and answer questions.

July 28 — Mountain biking on the Carbon trail: Mountain bikers Dave Wiens and Dave Ochs will lead a beautiful and challenging ride in the valley between Mt. Axtell, Whetstone Mountain and Carbon Peak.

Aug. 17 — Horseback riding on Mt. Lamborn: Tony Prendergast of Landsend Outfitters will lead riders up to Inter-ocean Pass for majestic views of western Gunnison County’s mountains.

Sept. 6 — Teocalli Mountain hike: A celebration of 50 years of the Wilderness Act will be marked by a hike up the iconic mountain. Be prepared for a strenuous day.

For more information or to register, visit gunnisonpubliclands.org.