Our View: For change, get involved | CraigDailyPress.com

Our View: For change, get involved

People in the West talk a lot about local management of public lands. The argument usually suggests that the people who live near public lands use them the most, so they should have a strong voice in how the public lands are managed.

Most people have some complaint about how the land is managed. Environmentalists from the county, state and nation are lobbying for wilderness designations that would close public lands to certain uses, and the energy industry is lobbying to uproot pristine lands through mineral development.

Whether your opinion reflects one of those polarized views or falls somewhere in between, you shouldn’t complain about how your public lands are managed if you are content to sit back and watch the management process from the sidelines.

The Bureau of Land Management is providing everyone with the opportunity to help decide how BLM land is managed as the Little Snake Resource Area begins drafting an updated plan for its resource management area.

“The BLM periodically revises the plan to keep the management vision current and up to date to reflect the values of the communities we serve and the natural resources we manage,” Little Snake Field Manager John Husband said.

Think of it like voting. If you have an opinion about who should lead your city, county, state or country, you typically make the effort to vote for that person. Following the same reasoning, if you have an opinion about public lands, you should make the effort to share that opinion with those who make the decisions about the land.

Whether you submit your ideas on a bar napkin written in crayon or typed in a formal report, your comments are guaranteed to receive attention. Each comment that is offered will be typed into a summary report designed to highlight the overall themes of the public sentiment.

Keep in mind, the more comments received, the greater the chances the BLM will develop a moderate resource plan reflective of the views of area residents.

Although natural gas development has received heavy attention from the Moffat County Commissioners and been advocated by the Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership, it is far from the only natural resource in the Little Snake Resource Area.

Reed Morris of the Colorado Wilderness Network stresses the importance of not ignoring the plan, which will factor cultural resources, tourism, recreation, hunting, habitat, agriculture and split estate issues that are important aspects of our quality of life and a diversified economy.

Too often we hear of federal agencies making land decisions without regard for the residents who will be most affected. Don’t pass up your chance to have a say in how your public lands are managed.

The BLM is taking public comments about the plan through Jan. 31, 2005. Comments can be made at public meetings, via e-mail at colsrmp@blm.gov, or in writing at the BLM offices located at 455 Emerson St. Residents with concerns are also encouraged to attend the next meeting from 3 to 8 p.m. Jan. 5 at Shadow Mountain Clubhouse.

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