Stewardship group grapples with details

Members of the Northwest Colorado Stewardship agree a facilitator is helping their meetings move more smoothly, but the group got bogged down in administrative details that they couldn't resolve at Tuesday night's meeting.

It was the second stewardship meeting facilitated by staff from The Keystone Center, a nonprofit public policy and education organization based in Keystone. The stewardship is working to advise the Bureau of Land Management on a resource management plan for the Little Snake Resource Area in Northwest Colorado.

Stewardship members placed namecards on end when they wanted to speak, and a facilitator called on them. Although the members come from diverse backgrounds -- from ranching to environmentalism -- they seldom spoke over one another.

"I've already realized the value of having a facilitator," said stewardship member Jane Yazzie. "But I would almost hate to see us have to contract someone to have us talk to one another."

The meeting began with a discussion of how the group could get into compliance with federal regulations for groups that advise federal agencies. At several points, facilitator Kristi Parker Celico asked if time would not be better spent discussing community issues.

The Federal Advisory Committee Act governs the creation and operation of advisory committees. If the group violates the act and is sued, any advice it gave to the BLM could be rendered defunct.

To get in compliance with the act, they may have to create voting members, which could close the group to interested newcomers. Anyone can attend a meeting and have a say in decisions.

After an hour and a half of discussion, the stewardship took Celico's advice and formed a subcommittee to make a recommendation on how the group should approach the advisory act.

The stewardship determined that it is lacking members from the state Department of Natural Resources, members interested in off-highway vehicle recreation, hunting and fishing, as well as unaffiliated citizens.

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