Sunday, January 07, 2007

Public input can save campgrounds set for closing

The U.S. Forest Service almost certainly will deactivate a substantial percentage of the campsites it now manages in Colorado and across the nation. How many and how soon may be determined in part by the passion of the individual users.

"This is something we'll take to the public," said Greg Griffith, deputy forester for the Rocky Mountain Region, based in Lakewood.

Griffith said his agency has no hard schedule for its decision, "but it's something we would like to do fairly quickly."

In Colorado, the review process begins with the combined Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests, called GMUG. The forest service aims at shutting down about half the GMUG sites, but Griffith claims there's room for a reprieve.

"If we have campgrounds that are identified as particular favorites, we're willing to look at things," he said.

The public may comment on the fate of some 140 campgrounds and other facilities in the GMUG complex by writing to the Forest Service, 2250 Highway 50, Delta, CO 81416 or calling 970-874-6600. It's your chance to become part of the process. Otherwise, your favorite camping area might not be there next time you show up.
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