Wednesday, January 11, 2012

CMCers, BLM needs to hear from you by January 17

Kremmling RMP
BLM Kremmling Resource Management Plan (RMP)

Dear Member,

The BLM needs to hear from CMC Members right away as they determine how to manage your public lands in the Kremmling Field Office.  Resource Management Plan (RMP) revisions are a once-a-generation opportunity to influence how lands are managed, including the care of wilderness character lands, off-road vehicles, quiet recreation opportunities, where oil and gas leasing occurs, wild and scenic river eligibility and other special designations.

Deadline for comments is next Tuesday, January 17. The BLM will accept all comments, but will only consider substantive comments, which means flooding them with form letters will not really work.  So what they need to hear is how the proposed plan will affect your recreation and enjoyment of these public lands as a CMC member – be as specific as possible about the places you know and care about.  BLM recognizes that CMC members have a long-standing stake in management of these public lands and want to hear from us.

The BLM Kremmling Field Office manages about 378,000 acres of public land from Granby to around Kremmling and in North Park around Walden.  This area includes many miles along the upper Colorado River as it wends its way past Hot Sulphur Springs and through Gore Canyon.

The RMP is laid out in a series of four alternatives:
Alternative A: No action alternative – the status quo, included as a baseline
Alternative B: Preferred alternative – this is the BLM’s attempt to apply a “balanced” range of management choices
Alternative C: Conservation alternative – we generally like the stuff in this alternative – our goal is to get the BLM to incorporate as many elements as possible into their Final RMP!
Alternative D: Resource Use – an ORV and extractive emphasis alternative, we don’t like this one…

Please click here to get tips on submitting comments.  Send your e-mail comments to or click here to submit them online.

Potential topics for a comment letter:

  • Lands with Wilderness Characteristics (LWC) – this is a long-winded way of saying currently unprotected lands that meet the technical definitions for wilderness.  These primitive areas are either 5,000 acres or more or adjacent to already protected lands.  They offer solitude, naturalness (no roads) and human-powered recreation opportunities.  The BLM has found 15,689 acres of LWC, but the preferred alternative would not manage a single acre to protect the LWCs.  So, we need to persuade the BLM to protect these LWCs, like in alternative C.  These untrammeled lands are irreplaceable, so we should get them protected in the Final RMP!
    • Drowsy Water – 7,509 acres – about 8 miles northeast of Hot Sulphur Springs, these lands abut Arapaho National Forest and the Drowsy Creek drainage.  Should be protected for horse and hiking access.
    • Strawberry – 5,834 acres – just east of Granby, this area contains Strawberry and Behler creeks just above their confluence with the Fraser River. 
    • Troublesome – 2,346 acres – these two parcels are directly adjacent to the 8,000 acre already-protected Troublesome Wilderness Study Area (WSA) and the even larger Troublesome Roadless Area in the Arapaho National Forest.
  • Increase Quiet Recreation Opportunities -  BLM needs to more specifically improve opportunities for human powered recreation such as hikers and horses.  This would include designating hiking emphasis or “undeveloped” Special Recreation Management Areas.  Also, designation of more miles of non-motorized trails is needed.  CMC is a partner with the BLM and through our stewardship work can help the BLM implement and maintain these opportunities!
  • Off-road vehicle (ORV) management – It’s difficult to advise exactly how to comment on what is open and what should be closed in the area – but as a general rule, ORV use should not be permitted within the LWCs discussed above. 
    • Lands with Wilderness Characteristics – BLM should close Drowsy Water, Strawberry and Troublesome LWCs to motorized use to protect their wild state.  Motorized use in these areas would disturb wildlife, could damage riparian and wetland areas, and lead to a loss in primitive recreation areas and solitude.
    • Wolford Mountain – north of Kremmling, is a 35,000 acre wildlife area that has been colonized by motorized trails. The BLM is deciding whether to further develop the motorized trail system or to keep the status quo which would better protect wildlife.  As one of the area’s best wildlife areas – with high concentrations of sage grouse habitat, rare plant communities and winter range for deer and elk – the BLM should manage to protect these wildlife values and to be careful about expanding motorized uses.
  • Praise the good – BLM is improving many things over the status quo and we need to help them stay strong on these positive steps as we move forward in the RMP process.
    • Sharply reducing cross country ORV use – currently allowed on 307,300 acres would be reduced to 200 acres of specific ORV play area.
    • Decreasing unnecessary routes – from 1,739 to 872 miles.  This eliminates many user-created, duplicative or resource-damaging routes.

Scott Braden
Thank you for your advocacy and stewardship!

Scott Braden
Director of Conservation & Education
(303) 996-2768