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BLM>Colorado>Field Offices>Uncompahgre>Planning: Uncompahgre RMP>Southwest RAC Subgroup
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As described in greater detail below, the Southwest Colorado Resource Advisory Council (RAC) Subgroup is composed of area residents representing diverse interests within the UFO, and was formed to provide critical insight and advice during development of the Uncompahgre Resource Management Plan.  Please check back frequently for schedule changes, as well as minutes from advisory group meetings.


Friday, June 22 - 9:00 am
The purpose of the June 22 meeting was for the RAC Subgroup to determine:  
1) Whether the range of management alternatives is sufficient 
2) Whether to advise the full Southwest RAC to give their concurrence to the BLM regarding the range of alternatives.
The public had an opportunity to comment at 11:00 a.m.  The meeting was held in the Jordan Room of the Holiday Inn Express in Montrose.


Unless otherwise noted, all RAC subgroup meetings are held in the Jordan Room of the Holiday Inn Express, 1391 South Townsend Avenue in Montrose and are open to the public.



RMP Scoping Meeting

Riparian Community

RMP Scoping Meeting



UFO Land Use Planning: Uncompahgre RMP

BLM Colorado Land Use Planning





Occupation: Civil Engineer

Category/Interests: Energy; Rights-of-Way

Residence Location:  Delta

Shelby Bear is a civil engineer and project manager with the Delta-Montrose Electric Association.  She previously worked for the Western Area Power Administration and the Bureau of Reclamation.  Her involvement with county and BLM permitting processes for the Delta County Transmission Improvement Project and the East Montrose Electric System Improvement Project was integral to project completion.  Ms. Bear has participated in scoping and planning of public meetings, as well as meeting with interested parties, concerned landowners, and county representatives.  She grew up in Delta County and enjoys outdoor recreation in the area.



Occupation:  Retired Postmaster

Category/Interests:  Off Highway Vehicles; Dispersed Recreation

Residence Location: Delta 

Walt Blackburn is a retired postmaster and has been a member of the Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO) for twelve years.  He has also been a member of the BlueRibbon Coalition for six years, and is a founding member of the Thunder Mountain Wheelers ATV Club.  In December 2009, Mr. Blackburn was awarded the Recreation Partner of the Year by the regional office of the U.S. Forest Service.



Occupation:  Biological Technician; Retired Land Surveyor

Category/Interests:  Environmental

Residence Location:  Hotchkiss

Bill Day is a retired land surveyor who ran a surveying business in southwestern Colorado.  Prior to that, he was a seasonal BLM Cadastral Surveyor in Colorado and Oregon.  Since retiring, he has conducted bird monitoring as a seasonal Biological Technician with the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory in western Colorado and eastern Utah.  He chairs the Gunnison Sage-grouse Working Group and has served on the boards of the Black Canyon Land Trust and the Black Canyon Audubon Society.



Occupation:  Photographer

Category/Interest:  Dispersed recreation; Quiet Use/Rights-of-Way/Off Highway Vehicles

Residence Location:  Ridgway

Richard Durnan is the owner of a local photography company, Richard Durnan Photography.  He has a degree in Environmental Biology and worked for the Uncompahgre Field Office as a river ranger for four years.  He is the founder and organizer of the Ridgway Trails Group in conjunction with the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA) and other trail development work in Ouray County. He has lived, worked, and recreated in the area since 1997.


Occupation:  Mediator; Retired Judge

Category/Interest:  Sustainability; Open Space; Wilderness

Residence Location:  Hotchkiss

Judge Ela served Mesa County and the Colorado Senior District Court for 34 years until his retirement in 1999.  He also practiced law with a firm specializing in hard rock and uranium mining.  He now works as a certified mediator and arbitrator.  Judge Ela’s avocation is living for and in open space—his family settled on Pinyon Mesa in 1881.  The Ela family remains active in agriculture, celebrating its 100th anniversary as certified organic orchardists.  Judge Ela leads an active life, enjoying hiking, boating, four-wheeling, climbing 14ers, star gazing, bird watching and fishing. 



Occupation:  Area Range and Livestock Extension Specialist

Category/Interest:  Federal Grazing Permittee

Residence Location:  Hotchkiss

Robbie LeValley has been the Colorado State University range and livestock extension specialist in west central Colorado for the past 20 years.  She is a certified rangeland professional and also serves on the Statewide Council for the Colorado Division of Wildlife Habitat Partnership Program.  Ms. LeValley has facilitated meetings between coal mining and environmental groups in the North Fork and helped initiate the Public Lands Partnership.



Occupation:  Construction and Mining Contractor; Rancher

Category/Interests:  Federal Grazing Permittee; Minerals

Residence Location:  Naturita

John Reams is the founder and president of Reams Construction Company and Tomcat Mining Corporation, as well as a rancher and lifelong resident of the Four Corners region.  He is president of the Western Small Miners Association, and serves on the Montrose County Airport Advisory Board and as a member of the Montrose County Transportation Committee. 



Occupation:  Manager, Special Projects at Oxbow

Category/Interests: Energy (mining)

Residence Location:  Cedaredge

Steven Weist is a licensed Professional Engineer who has worked in the mining industry for more than 30 years.  During that time, he has been involved with coal mining operations across the western United States.  He holds a degree in Mining Engineering, and a Masters in Business Administration.  Mr. Weist is experienced with all aspects of engineering and operations, from planning and development of new mines to closure and reclamation, and has coordinated with management and agencies at all levels to streamline operations.  His career has focused on achieving balance between the environment, safety, and productivity.




Occupation:  Wildlands Program Coordinator

Category/Interests:  Public at Large; land conservation; quiet use; cultural resources

Residence Location:  Montrose

Barbara Hawke was appointed to the SWRAC in August 2010 and to the RAC Sub-group several months later.  She is a wildlands program coordinator working with the Dolores River Coalition and The Wilderness Society.  Barbara spent many years in Midwest government, working with groups on community development projects, affordable housing, and urban parks.  A love of Colorado brought Barbara west to work for The Nature Conservancy, and then Black Canyon Land Trust in Montrose.  During this time, she served on several open space committees and nonprofit boards, including Friends of the River Uncompahgre.

Barbara’s interests range from natural history to the relationship between people and undeveloped land.  She feels it is important to preserve traditional ways of life in the west, by preserving public and private land for ranching, farming, quiet recreation, healthy ecological systems, cultural use by native peoples, and other sustainable uses.  Her background is unusually diverse, and she is equally comfortable with spreadsheets and rare lichens.  She is happiest when spending time outdoors, and hopes that her skills will support the efforts of the SWRAC and RAC Sub-group to sustain our valuable public lands.


Occupation: Project Director, The Nature Conservancy

Category/Interests: Environmental

Residence Location:  Telluride

Peter Mueller serves as director of the North San Juan Mountain Project for The Nature Conservancy.  His responsibilities include coordinating the efforts of the Dolores River Restoration Partnership to restore native riparian health along the Dolores River, from McPhee Reservoir to its confluence with the Colorado River.  Prior to joining the Conservancy, Peter was a teacher and administrator in the Colorado public schools.

Peter is currently involved with revision of the joint BLM-U.S Forest Service land management plan for the San Juan Public Lands Center, working to determine the best methods for protecting the Dolores River below McPhee.  He has also agreed to serve as a liaison between the Southwest RAC and the Southwest RAC subgroup for the Uncompahgre Resource Management Plan.


Occupation:  Natural Resources and Environmental/Reclamation Management

Category/Interests:  Energy and Minerals

Residence Location:  Hotchkiss

Kathy Welt is a former environmental and external affairs director for Gunnison Energy Corporation, Oxbow Mining, LLC and Mountain Coal Company, LLC.  A current and former co-chair of the SWRAC, Welt was appointed in October 2002 and has an extensive background in natural resources management and environmental/reclamation management, having worked in Delta County’s mining industry since the early 1980s.  Welt has dedicated time to the North Fork Coal Working Group and Colorado Coal Mine Board of Examiners, and currently belongs to both the Rotary Club of Paonia and Club 20, serving as Delta County’s director to that Board.

Welt believes that our public lands should be managed for and remain available for all responsible uses—from wildlife habitat and livestock grazing to recreation and minerals extraction—with the key words being “managed” and “responsible.”  She and her husband lead a busy life raising three sons on their cattle ranch near Hotchkiss.  Welt escapes her busy schedule by hiking, photographing nature scenes, and riding ATVs and motorcycles.


Teresa Pfifer, Acting Field Manager

Phone: (970) 240-5300  |  TDD: (970) 240-5366  |  FAX: (970) 240-5367

2465 S. Townsend Ave, Montrose, CO  81401

Office Hours: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Click on the address above for a map showing the location of

BLM Uncompahgre Field Office administrative headquarters


Rafts on the Lower Gunnison River