GMUG to Release Draft Wilderness Evaluation

Contact(s): Kimberlee Phillips 970-874-6717, Dylan Peters 970-874-6625

On August 6, the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests will publish the draft Wilderness Evaluation for a 30-day public comment period as part of their ongoing Forest Plan Revision. Comments will be most helpful if received by September 5, 2018.

The wilderness process, a required component of plan revision, began in January with the Inventory, which was improved upon based on feedback from the public. The draft Evaluation continues this process by evaluating the wilderness characteristics of each inventoried area using the Evaluation Criteria, taking into account evidence of human activity, opportunities for solitude, and other considerations. Being included in this step does not mean that an area will be managed in a special way, it is the next step in a series that requires consideration and input.

“Public involvement is crucial during this process as it helps the Forest Service develop better informed decisions while meeting the needs of our neighboring communities” said Chad Stewart, GMUG Deputy Forest Supervisor.

The planning team will host two webinars to review the draft Evaluation Report and supporting documents and answer questions. Interested community members are invited to join these webinars on Tuesday, August 7 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. and Thursday, August 9 from 9:00-10:30 a.m. The recorded webinars will be available on the GMUG website after these scheduled times.

Public engagement is a key element in the ongoing Forest Plan Revision and the Forest Service is using a variety of tools to maintain communication, including webinars, newsletters and updates on the website and through email. For links to the webinars, information on how to comment, and other helpful resources, please visit the GMUG NFs’ planning website at