Our work protecting the lands and forests across the San Juan Basin is ever-changing. Here is a quick summary of what we’re working on right now:
Bootjack Ranch/Valle Seco Land Exchange
The Decision Notice for this sordid and coordinated effort by the project proponent Kelcy Warren and San Juan National Forest to trade away Colorado Roadless Areas lands to private ownership was just released. Thanks to the scores of you who submitted comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment. As the Forest Service continues to be deaf to public input and refuses to release the hundreds of pages of property appraisals that are foundational to any land exchange, we will be filing a formal objection. We ask, why isn’t there complete transparency when the loss of our public lands is at stake?
Silverton Travel Management Plan
In a joint effort with San Juan County to halt the further motorization of alpine terrain, we filed an appeal to the Interior Board of Land Appeals earlier this year to halt the designation of the upper Minnie Gulch trail as a motorcycle route through alpine tundra above 12,000 feet. Minnie Gulch has been identified by the Ute Tribes as an area of important cultural heritage. The BLM failed their legal and ethical responsibilities to provide appropriate and adequate protections to this cultural landscape. Currently, we are awaiting the decision to our appeal.
Logging can be beneficial to the multiple-use acreage of our public lands. However, we need to ensure that the detrimental effects of logging, such as the loss of carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, and watershed integrity, are minimized. We are currently tracking about 10 forestry projects across the San Juan National Forest and recently filed an official Objection to the Salter Vegetation Management Project in the Dolores District due primarily to the lack of project design criteria supporting forest restoration rather than just the removal of sawlogs. Other objectors included the Town of Dolores and southwest Colorado mountain advocates owing to potential impact on the Boggy Draw trail system.