The Crestone Eagle, May 2006:

Draft General Managment Plan for Great Sand Dunes released

Superintendent Steve Chaney announced that the draft General Management Plan and Wilderness Study for Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve has been released. “We’ve talked to a lot of people at public meetings, received a lot of letters in response to meetings and newsletters, worked with the Great Sand Dunes Advisory Council, and consulted with other agencies since the process began in January, 2004. No one should be really surprised by what is in the document,” said Chaney.

The draft GMP, wilderness study, and environmental impact statement for the park and preserve describes and analyzes four alternatives for managing the Great Sand Dunes for the next 15 to 20 years. This plan will help NPS staff make decisions about managing cultural and natural resources, visitation, and facilities. Issues addressed by the plan relate to protection of fundamental park resources and values, management of new park lands, public access, crowding/overuse, wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, and development and uses in and around the park. As part of the planning effort, the NPS is conducting a wilderness study to determine whether any areas within the expanded Great Sand Dunes boundary should be proposed as designated wilderness.

Three public meetings will be held in the vicinity of the park, and one in Denver the week of May 15. “We look forward to more lively discussions with the public at the meetings and receiving letters regarding the proposed plan and wilderness recommendation,” said Chaney.

Meeting dates and locations:
• Monday, May 15, 7- 9pm in Crestone, at the Colorado College Conference Center; 719-256-4495
• Tuesday, May 16, 7-9 p.m. in Alamosa, at the Family Recreation Center, 222 Old Sanford Road; 719-589-2106
• Wednesday, May 17, 7-9pm in Westcliffe, at All Aboard Westcliffe, 110 Rosita Avenue; 719-783-2865
• Friday, May 19, 6-8pm in Denver, at the REI Flagship Store in the Event Meeting room, 1417 Platte Street; 303-756-3100

The draft plan identifies the National Park Service’s preferred alternative for the GMP and recommends additional wilderness. For further information or copies of the plan, contact the park at 719-378-6300 or visit the planning web site at http://planning.nps.gov/plans.cfm . Comments on the draft document are being taken through June 30, for consideration in preparing the final plan. Please address comments to Superintendent Steve Chaney, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, 11500 Highway 150, Mosca, CO 81146 or e-mail grsa_superintendent@nps.gov.

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