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March 2014

Final National Forest and Proposed Field Office Land and Resource Management Plan

Land and Resource Management Plan

Conor Nelson

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction 1.1 Purpose of the Plan 1.2 More Chapter 2: Resource Direction 2.1 Timber and other Forest Products 2.2 Fire and Fuels Management 2.3 Air Quality 2.4 Recreation 2.5 Minerals and Energy Chapter 3: Area Direction 3.1 Regions 3.2 Districts

Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Purpose of the Plan

The purpose of this Land and Resource Management plan is to provide strategic guidance for future management within the forest. This LRMP guides the restoration or maintenance of the health of these lands to promote a sustainable flow of uses, benefits, products, services, and visitor opportunities. It provides a framework for informed decision making, while guiding resource management programs, practices, uses, and projects. It does not include specific project and activity decisions.

The LRMP is strategic in Nature and does not attempt to prescribe detailed management direction to cover every possible situation, While all component necessary for resource protection and restoration are included, the LRMP also provides flexibility needed to respond to uncertain or unknown future events and conditions such as fire, flood, climate change, changing economics, and social changes that may be important to consider at the time future decisions are made.

1.2 More
The Forest Service manages fire, recreation, resources, range, and many other things. They are about a sustained pull of resources as opposed to the BLM which mains focuses on only resources, and the Park Services which only focus on preservation. The United States Forest Service also basically only focuses on the land instead of the animals that live there, that would be the Division of Wildlife.

Chapter 2: Resource Direction


2.1 Timber and other Forest Products
The Timber management program for this forest follows the trend of many other and forests with regard to harvest levels. The forest was a source for timber products to meet the demand early in the 20th-century export of mining and settlements, with another spike in harvesting following World War II. The highest harvest levels occurred in the early 1970s when 50 to 75,000,000 of board feet of timber were sold annually. Since that time harvesting levels have continued to decline.

The Forest Service is required to have a certain output of timber each year for the Forest Service is about the sustained pull of resources. To achieve this amount the Forest Service has timber sales where they cut several trees out of an area for timber. Many steps go into the prep for this including an Environmental Impact Statement, archeological surveys, and several public meetings. On top of this the thinning can only be done in suitable areas where thinning is needed for restoration and pre-fire measures.

2.2 Fire and Fuels Management


Thinning is incorporated under restoration because after the European settlement of North America, fire suppression started: mainly forest fires. Fires previously raged through different areas of the forest and killed the small brush and the large trees would survive. It is how nature kept from overgrowing. Yet since we started suppressing fire, fuel has been building up. Now whenever a fire starts it burns hotter, and spreads farther than it naturally would. Thinning is a key way used to spread out the trees, mainly Ponderosa since they are large and close to civilizations and therefore have been affected to worst, and to provide the country with resources.

Another great way to on pre-fire improvement is to do controlled burns. This is ultimately burning up the needle and tree litter and removing gamble oak from all thorough the forest. They are handled only by professionals who take many precautions and dig lines all around the area to prevent a wildfire from blazing out of control. They simulate the small pre-fire suppression fires that naturally occurred.

2.3 Air Quality


Colorado has one of the strictest set of laws on regulations on how much smoke can be put in the air, this makes controlled burning extremely difficult. Hundreds of air quality meters and instruments are placed throughout the state and country to monitor how clean the air is from elements such as Potassium and Calcium. This is directly related to controlled burns and the pull of resources such as oil and gas. Basically if the air becomes to filthy the pull stops until a better method is acquired or air quality improves. On top of the regular air quality meters an interment is set up at all of these stations to gauge the level of mercury in the atmosphere. This is tied to the Mercury Deposition watch to see how much mercury is in our air. Many rain meters are used for both of these outposts and tests and a rain meter is set up to see the quantity of micro litter in the rain and clouds. This usually means dust.

2.4 Recreation
The Forest Service operates most campsites and trails you can think of yet recreation is not the top priority. They maintain campsites, trails, signs, and the BLM even maintains mountain passes such as the Alpine Loop.

2.5 Minerals and Energy


The time I spent working with Minerals and Energy was focused with the BLM. I went out with and Environmental Scientist to 4 different oil wells on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. All of the wells were no longer operational and the Scientist was looking to restore the sites as best he could to the way they previously had been. This is the same story with all oil and gas contracts where industries such as Conoco Phillips owns the well, yet the BLM owns the land and makes sure everything is done by the books. To restore old oil wells the mine shaft is plugged with concrete and thousands of gallons of mud to make sure the hole is filled. Grass is then planted on the well pad with the sole purpose of dyeing, rotting, and becoming mulch/compost for the native species to move in and grow.

Chapter 3: Area Direction


3.1 Regions
The Forest service is split up into different jurisdictions of offices, regions, and forests, and districts.

3.2 Districts
The District we are currently in is the Columbine Ranger District. To the East is the Pagosa Ranger District, and the West is the Dolores Ranger District. All three make up the San Juan National Forest which is just about 2.5 million acres of public lands. All of this is in the Rocky Mountain Region.

Literature Cited: Volume II Final San Juan National Forest and Proposed Tres Rios Field Office Land Management Plan