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Chimney Rock plan comment period begins this week

Staff Writer

A notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) was published in the Federal Register Monday, Dec. 2.

Publication of the notice begins a 45-day scoping period during which the public can provide comments to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) about management of Chimney Rock National Monument.

The EIS to be completed will be carried out concurrently with the drafting of a Chimney Rock National Monument management plan. The two documents are complementary, as the EIS serves to analyze the effects of the proposed Chimney Rock management plan that will effectively amend the San Juan National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan finalized earlier this fall.

During the scoping period, the USFS hopes to gather opinions and information from the public, local governments and area tribes that will provide an idea of how varied interest groups want the monument to be managed. After the draft EIS and management plan have been prepared, a second comment period will begin called the “official comment period.” This will happen sometime next year. The scoping period proceeds this later period, as it is intended to inform the USFS of priorities, concerns and ideas of the public, local government, tribes and other parties invested in the management of Chimney Rock National Monument.

Sara Brinton with the Forest Service explained that everything the USFS is currently doing and will do to pursue management of the monument is in accordance with the intent of the presidential proclamation that designated Chimney Rock as a National Monument on Sept. 21, 2012.

The scoping comment period will end Jan. 16, 2014.

Written comments can be sent to Kevin Khung, Pagosa District Ranger, P.O. Box 310, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. E-mail comments can be sent to comments-rock-mountain-san-juan-pagosa@fs.fed.us or via fax to 264-1538.

For further information, contact Sara Brinton, interdisciplinary team leader, at 264-1532 or sbrinton@fs.fed.us.

The notice of intent can be accessed in the Federal Register at www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/12/02/2013-28774/chimney-rock-national-monument-management-plan-san-juan-national-forest-colorado.

Dana.Hayward@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on December 5, 2013.