BLM White River Field Office moves toward increased recreation options in Rio Blanco, Garfield, Moffat County | CraigDailyPress.com

BLM White River Field Office moves toward increased recreation options in Rio Blanco, Garfield, Moffat County

Craig Press Staff

MEEKER — The Bureau of Land Management announced this week that it has released the Final Environmental Assessment for its proposed Travel Management Resource Management Plan Amendment for the 1.5 million-acre White River Field Office in Northwest Colorado, according to a BLM news release.

The proposed plan amendment will provide access for diverse recreational opportunities, including off-road motorized areas as well as places for high-quality big game hunting in non-motorized areas.

Under the proposed plan amendment, the vast majority of the lands managed by the field office — 1.29 million acres — would allow motorized travel on designated routes. Four areas would be open to cross-country motorized travel, such as the Rangely Rock Crawling Park. Twelve areas would continue to allow non-motorized access, including nine areas where big-game hunting would be emphasized. The designations would not change the status of several Wilderness Study Areas. These area designations provide the guidance for future route-by-route designations, the next step for developing a comprehensive travel network across the field office. 

“We worked very closely with local officials and the public to develop this comprehensive approach,” said White River Field Manager Kent Walter in the release. “It offers a variety of opportunities balanced with protecting sensitive areas and resources.” 

The BLM’s White River Field Office administers nearly 1.5 million BLM surface acres and more than 2.1 million subsurface acres in Rio Blanco, Moffat, and Garfield counties.

These lands include 14 recreation sites, two developed and two picnic areas; one national scenic byway and one national historic district; six wilderness study areas encompassing 81,000 acres; habitat for eight federally protected endangered, threatened, and candidate species, seven listed and one candidate; 122,000 acres of priority habitat and 180,200 acres of general habitat for greater sage grouse; and more than 1.4 million acres grazed by livestock. 

Last year, recreation on BLM-managed lands in Colorado generated $618 million and supported more than 5,000 jobs.

The proposed plan is online at https://go.usa.gov/xn6N6. The release initiates a 30-day protest period, which closes Aug. 20. Information about filing a protest is also available on this site. 

“Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time,” the release stated. “While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.”