Congratulations to Chaffee County for completing its Recreation Plan. The plan represents many months of inclusive collaborative effort, and will help balance the extreme growth of recreational use with the preservation of quality recreational experiences and the protection of natural resources.
My husband and I have been rafting outfitters here for 34 years. I participated in most of the Recreation in Balance meetings with other volunteers and interested citizens and was impressed by the amount of public participation and the energy and dedication of all those involved.
The full spectrum of user groups was invited and participated in the development of the Recreation Plan, including hikers, recreational vehicle users, bicycle groups, car campers, ranchers, businesses, wildlife experts, and municipalities. The Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife were represented at almost every meeting and provided data and information that supported plan development.
The campaign being leveled against the Recreation Plan is frustrating. Representatives from motorized recreation user groups were invited to participate in the development of the plan. Some participated while others did not. The Recreation Plan has a clear multi-use mandate. It is not against motorized recreation. It seeks to balance recreational use and resource health so that all forms of recreation can continue sustainably. Nothing in the Recreation Plan alters land management agencies’ policies or procedures for making land-use decisions.
Thank you to the Recreation in Balance leadership for your collaborative effort to create this forward-thinking, balanced Recreation Management Plan. I hope any concerns with the plan by user groups will be brought forward in an honest and straightforward manner in the future with a spirit of cooperation and respect.