Welcome to the U. S. Forest Service Colorado Roadless Rule
On July 3, 2012, the Colorado Roadless Rule became effective with the publication of the final rule in the Federal Register. The rule applies to 4.2 million acres of National Forest roadless areas within Colorado and conserves roadless area values for future generations, while providing for activities important to the citizens and economy of Colorado.
One such activity was continuing exploration and development of coal resources on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests. The Colorado Roadless Rule addressed this concern by defining a 19,100-acre area as the North Fork Coal Mining Area, and developing an exception that allows temporary road construction for coal-related activities on within in that defined area.
In July 2013, High Country Conservation Advocates, WildEarth Guardians, and Sierra Club challenged the North Fork Coal Mining Area exception of the Colorado Roadless Rule. In June 2014, the District Court of Colorado determined that the Forest Service’s analysis of this exception failed to meet National Environmental Policy Act requirements. The court vacated the North Fork Coal Mining Area exception of the Colorado Roadless Rule (36 CFR 294.43(c)(1)(ix)) in September 2014.
District of Colorado Decision and Remedy Order.
The Forest Service is preparing a supplemental environmental impact statement to reinstate the North Fork Coal Mining Area exception of the Colorado Roadless Rule. On April 7, 2015, the Forest Service published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register explaining this process.
Submit Comments on the Project.
At part of the process to reinstate the North Fork Coal Mining Area exception, the Forest Service is proposing to make administrative corrections to the North Fork coal mining area boundary and to Colorado Roadless Area boundaries within the North Fork coal mining area. These corrections will remedy clerical errors and incorporate more accurate mapping data. A detailed description of the proposed corrections is available here. (pdf - 68k)
Map of North Fork Coal Mining Area and Colorado Roadless Areas without Administrative Corrections - (pdf - 3.66mb)
Map of Proposed Colorado Roadless Areas with Administrative Corrections - (pdf - 451k)
Map of Proposed North Fork Coal Mining Area with Administrative Corrections - (pdf - 457k)
Map of Proposed North Fork Coal Mining Area and Colorado Roadless Areas with Administrative Corrections - (pdf - 3.71mb)
For more information, please visit the project webpage.
Final Rule - (pdf - 496k)
FEIS - (pdf - 3532k)
FEIS Executive Summary - (pdf - 548k)
FEIS Appendices - (pdf - 16202k)
FEIS Map Packet
Civil Rights Impact Analysis - (pdf - 2895k)
Regulatory Impact Analysis - (pdf - 311k)
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis - (pdf - 1110k)
Recent News and Information
Ruling of the 2001 Roadless Rule
During the month of October the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. Currently, the 10th Circuit ruling does not affect the Colorado Roadless Rule. On December 5, 2011 the State of Wyoming petitioned the 10th Circuit to review the October decision. This review was rejected by the 10th Circuit, lifting the injunction prohibiting the implementation of the 2001 Roadless Rule by the District court of Wyoming. Until the injunction is lifted, the status quo for roadless area management is the 2001 Roadless Rule.
Tenth Circuit Opinion - (pdf - 267k)
View Public Comments
The Public Comment Period closed on July 15th, 2011. Comments may be viewed by clicking here.