Railroad Gulch

Railroad Gulch on the southern edge of Browns Canyon National Monument.

The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service held the second of three meetings Tuesday to introduce the public comment period for their revision of the Resource Management Plan and environmental impact study for Browns Canyon National Monument.

The public comment period is part of a process the agencies will ideally have completed by this time next year to revisit the management priorities for Brown’s Canyon, which was designated a National Monument by President Barack Obama in 2015.

At the BV Community Center meeting Tuesday, the agencies outlined three strawman alternatives to explore, Joe Vieira, the National Monument project manager for BLM’s Rocky Mountain District said.

When the agencies make their final recommendation for how, if at all, to modify the RMP, the recommendation will be cherry-picked from some or all of the alternatives, and the public comment the agencies are seeking serves to let them know “what are we missing,” Vieira said.

Alternative A would institute no change to the current plan, adopted by the BLM in 1996 and the Forest Service in 1984.

Alternative B, as presented Tuesday, would shift the focus to protecting monument resources, maintaining current recreation in the monument, but limiting further expansion in the interest of keeping the area pristine wilderness.

Alternative C would take the opposite approach – welcoming greater opportunities for recreation access in the monument.

Public comments can be made at the BLM’s“e-planning site at https://bit.ly/2pjpL3r as well as a map-based commenting area at http://arcg.is/1yuDDD

The BLM will also take comments by U.S. mail delivered to BCNM RMP/EIS, 5575 Cleora Road, Salida, CO 81201

Comments will not be taken by email.

Comments can be taken as late as June 13, but Vieira stressed that the earlier comments were received, the more effectively the agency could digest them.

Keith Berger, the field manager for the BLM’s Royal Gorge office, said that the Buena Vista meeting was more well-attended than the meeting in Salida Monday night.

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