Grand Mesa Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests
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The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) stretch from the high Sawatch Range peaks of the Continental Divide to the plateaus and canyons of Colorado's Western Slope, encompassing some of the most remote and beautiful landscapes in Colorado. In their combined three million acres of land, the Forests are home to 3,000 miles of trails and routes, 300 lakes, and 3,600 miles of rivers and streams. The GMUG National Forests are centrally located among Colorado’s most iconic outdoor meccas including Crested Butte, Gunnison, Grand Junction, and Telluride. The residents of these towns, and visitors from around the world, come to the GMUG to enjoy the potential and Eligible Wild and Scenic Rivers such as Oh-be-joyful, Lower Taylor and Upper Uncompahgre, and recreate on the world class Continental Divide, 401 and Teocalli Ridge trails and find solitude Collegiate Peaks Maroon Bells-Snowmass and the Forests’ eight other Wilderness areas.
The Forest Service is currently in the early stages of planning for how it will manage the GMUG National Forests. This is our chance to protect important recreation areas, natural resources, potential Wilderness, and other special landscapes throughout the forest. The new Forest Plan will dictate how recreation, wildlife habitats, watersheds, timber projects, grazing, and more will be managed on the GMUG for the next 20-30 years. At stake are things like recreation access, infrastructure development and maintenance, trails, scenic viewsheds, permitting for guides, outfitters and educational groups, wilderness designations, and the possibility of new scenarios for stewardship and forest partnerships.
Outdoor Alliance is working on these forest plans with our partners, including Colorado Mountain Club, American Alpine Club, Access Fund, American Whitewater, IMBA, and Winter Wildlands Alliance. But we need your help to make sure that the interests of human-powered recreationists—skiers, climbers, mountain bikers, paddlers, hikers—are well represented as these plans move toward final drafts and, ultimately, toward implementation.
For more information, and links to planning documents and the comment form, check out Forest Service’s planning information page. Or sign up below to get involved, and we will send you up-to-the-minute guidance about how to make a difference.
Top left and bot. right photos courtesy of Jason Bertolacci.