Forest Service, BLM Seek Public Comments on Thompson Divide Withdrawal
Delta, Colorado, May 3, 2023 – The USDA Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are seeking public scoping comments and hosting two public meetings on a requested withdrawal of National Forest System lands and Bureau of Land Management lands in Garfield, Gunnison and Pitkin counties.
“This public scoping period is a first step as we begin our analysis of the requested withdrawal under the National Environmental Policy Act,” said Anthony Edwards, Deputy Forest Supervisor for the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests.
On Oct. 12, 2022, the Department of the Interior announced steps to conserve the Thompson Divide area in response to broad concerns about its important wildlife habitat, recreation opportunities, grazing lands and clean air and water. If approved, the requested action would withdraw 220,704 acres of National Forest System and Bureau of Land Management Lands from settlement, sale, location or entry under the public land laws, location and entry under the United States mining laws, and leasing under the mineral leasing and geothermal leasing laws for up to 20 years, subject to valid existing rights.
The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management will host public meetings to provide additional information and answer questions May 9 in Delta from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Bill Heddles Recreation Center, 531 N. Palmer St., and May 11 in Gunnison from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Western Colorado University Ballroom, 1 Western Way.
Both meetings will include two sessions of up to one-hour, beginning at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The sessions will consist of a short presentation explaining the requested withdrawal, followed by a question-and-answer session. Information about how to submit comments will be provided.
The meeting in Gunnison May 11 will be available virtually by registering in advance at: blm.zoomgov.com. The 6:30 p.m. session will include Spanish interpretation virtually.
More information about the requested withdrawal and how to submit comments is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=63679. Comments on the requested withdrawal will be accepted through June 16, 2023.
The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre & Gunnison National Forests manage approximately 3 million acres of land in Southwest Colorado within Delta, Garfield, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Mesa, Mineral, Montrose, Ouray, Saguache, San Juan and San Miguel counties.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.