Commissioners support White River Forest Plan |

Commissioners support White River Forest Plan

Jane Reuter

BRECKENRIDGE – The Summit County Commissioners have no major issues with the revised White River National Forest Plan. When the three-member board talked about the plan Monday, their comments were brief and mild.

“I’m getting the feeling there won’t probably be any major appeals (to the plan),” Commissioner Gary Lindstrom said, adding that extends to a major stakeholder in the plan – the ski industry. “I really think the ski areas got what they wanted.”

“That thing was a compromise going in and a compromise coming out,” agreed Commissioner Tom Long.

The plan, in its first revision since 1984, was released in mid-June after six years of study into how the more than 2-million-acre forest should be managed.

The forest plan is considered an overview, much like zoning in a city. It addresses issues such as the breadth of future ski area expansion, areas in which snowmobiles are allowed, use of trails that are sensitive to wildlife and timbering harvesting.

The commissioners, in a memo drafted by county planner Mark Truckey, said they support the plan’s theme, which represents “a balance of human uses with ecological considerations.”

But County Commissioner Tom Long drew the line at a portion of the memo stating the commissioners “oppose the timber harvest goals proposed … as this would result in a disproportionate amount of tree removal and construction of roads.”

“I really don’t want to oppose something that could save human life,” Long said, citing the recent forest fires elsewhere in Colorado.

Commissioner Bill Wallace agreed, saying he is better educated today about the benefits of harvesting timber than he was two years ago.

Truckey said the commissioners could suggest timber harvesting be done “in a more sensitive way.”

As part of the plan, the Forest Service is expected to release in about two years a travel management plan that will address which roads and trails are open to what kind of vehicles and uses.

Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at

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