The Coalition Process
The GPLI met monthly between February 2016 and June 2017 with the help of a professional facilitator to craft a proposal, based on consensus, for key public lands in Gunnison County. This proposal is the culmination of conversations that have been occurring in the county since 2012.
When the coalition completed their initial recommendations they presented the proposal package to the community for review. At that time, the group began engaging the community in a robust conversation about the proposal and what it would mean for the future of public lands. Through that outreach, the GPLI was able to meet with hundreds of people, local and regional government entities, and numerous community groups.
For the most part, key stakeholder groups and community members in and around the Gunnison Basin have voiced support for the GPLI’s consensus proposal. At the same time, members of the community have had some specific concern with particular parts of the initial proposal. As a result of that feedback, the GPLI has worked to refine the initial recommendations including adjusting boundaries or in some circumstances changing a land designation recommendation.
With that input, the GPLI has now agreed to 452,221 acres of federal public lands to be recommended by consensus for protection as either SMA or wilderness.
This process ensured that for the areas of agreement in the proposal:
Does not close any roads or trails that are currently open; existing trail uses would remain essentially the same.
Allows future trail projects to be considered for construction and management through standard agency decision making by the BLM and Forest Service.
Does not affect popular over the snow riding areas.
Balances interests in motorized, mechanized, and quiet recreational uses.
Ensures that current ranching operations and water use can continue.
Protects critical habitat for species such as mule deer and elk, while providing flexibility for habitat restoration projects for species such as bighorn sheep and Gunnison sage-grouse.
Read the January 2019 revised GPLI proposal HERE.
The GPLI plans to continue to engage the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, participate in the GMUG land management plan revision process, and begin the process of developing a legislative proposal that includes the ‘Areas of Agreement’.
There are some remaining final refinements in these areas of consensus in process to ensure on the ground accuracy. Simultaneously, the GPLI is still in continued outreach and consultation with regional communities on a number of areas previously noted in the initial report as ‘Considered for SMA and/or Wilderness, To Be Vetted with Regional Communities’ some of these are now noted as ‘Areas in Discussion’.
The GPLI identified these areas for potential protection as these lands are places where a trail system, watershed, river, stream, or geographic formation may cross-political lines. The GPLI has no intention of including any areas in its final proposal that are not based on appropriate analyses, public participation and support. The GPLI will continue to have conversations regarding these areas and the community’s ideas in the month ahead. These areas remain under discussion and may or may not be included in the GPLI’s final proposal.
The group continues to meet regularly.