BLM wants input on public lands draft

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The Grand Junction BLM has been working on a new Resource Management Plan over the past few years, and now a draft of the document is ready for public input.

The last revision came in 1987, and the Grand Junction Field Office has been working hard since 2008 to draft a plan they hope gives the most good to the most people.

"We have an amazing resource here," said Dave Grossman, Grand Valley Trails Alliance. "I want to make sure that all our community and my children have the opportunity to enjoy the trails into the future."

Public lands is one touchy issue throughout the valley.

"People really love their public lands, love to recreate on them," said Collin Ewing, Bureau of Land Management. "It's really important to the economy both for recreation, for oil and gas development, all sorts of things like that."

So when it came time to start revising the Resource Management Plan, the BLM took it step by step.

"A lot of people are concerned that the BLM is going to close trails," said Grossman, "and that's not going to happen, especially if the public comes out and provides good input."

Because nothing is set in stone yet, now is the time to speak up.

"There are a lot of different competing uses out there and different ideas in how routes should be managed," said Chris Pipkin, Bureau of Land Management, "and we want to make sure that we hear all of those inputs."

"We know it's not perfect," said Ewing, "we've got a long way to go before we finalize this RMP, but we need that public involvement and input so we can do a good job on the final RMP."

This plan entails more than meets the eye.

"It covers everything from oil and gas to coal, sand and gravel, recreation,travel management,livestock, grazing, wildlife," said Ewing.

And the list goes on, but if all of the ins and outs get overwhelming, the BLM wants the public to understand one thing.

"The types of use and the modes of access may vary, but in no case will lands be completely shut off to public use," said Pipkin.

The BLM is holding an open meeting at the Fruita Civic Center from 4:30 PM - 7:30 PM on Thursday. They'll take all ideas and comment to make the current RMP draft into a proposal by the end of 2014.

Those who can't make it to the meeting can submit comments via email or mail. The public comment period will close April 25th.
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