FATE OF CRAIG SAFEWAY NOT CLEAR
Rumors of Craig’s Safeway store closing have been circulating over the last couple of days, however, Safeway Corporate officials have yet to confirm that. In fact, Kris Staaf, the company’s Director of Public Affairs returned a phone call Friday saying that the decision on whether or not to close the store hasn’t yet been made. Store employees say they had a meeting Thursday night, in which they were told the store would be closing on September 21st. Kent Nielson owns the building which houses the grocery store, but won’t say whether or not they’ve renewed their lease until he has talked with store officials.
COG FIRE SCORCHES OVER 1,500 ACRES
The Cog fire, on private land near Hayden, was contained around 8:30 Saturday night after threatening homes, ranches and a microwave tower site in the area just north of Hayden. According to Bob Struble of Routt County Emergency Management, the west boundary of the fire was the Cog Road (Routt County Road 76) with the fire burning an estimated 1,550 acres to the Middle Cog (Routt County Road 74). Firefighters remained at the scene through noon yesterday to manage hot spots in the burn area and monitor the perimiter. Although no structures were burned, some residents near the fire were evacuated, as were a number of animals. The fire came to within a mile of Hayden before containment. The Routt County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the precise cause of the fire. Photo: Cog Fire. Click photo to enlarge. Credit: Drew Muzik
BLM RELEASES PLAN FOR GREATER SAGE GROUSE MANAGEMENT
Today the Bureau of Land Management and Routt National Forest released the Draft Northwest Colorado Greater Sage-Grouse Resource Management Plan Amendment and Draft Environmental Impact Statement for a 90-day public comment period.
The draft considers four possible management alternatives for maintaining and increasing habitat for Greater Sage-Grouse on BLM and Routt National Forest lands in northwestern Colorado. The alternatives apply to federal lands and minerals only, not to private lands.
The preferred alternative reflects local adjustments to national management recommendations based on input from cooperating government agencies and the public.
“We are considering a wide-range of alternatives designed to preclude the need for listing of Greater Sage-Grouse as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act,” said Jim Cagney, BLM Northwest District Manager. “We have been working closely with our cooperating agencies to incorporate local expertise and information. Public involvement in reviewing this draft is the next important step.”
More than 1.7 million acres of Colorado’s Greater Sage-Grouse habitat are on BLM lands in the Northwest District. That’s almost half of the entire Greater Sage-Grouse habitat in Colorado. Habitat fragmentation poses the primary threat to sage grouse.
You may submit comments related to the Northwest Colorado Greater Sage-Grouse Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS by any of the following methods:
• Web site:
• fax: 970-244-3083
• mail: BLM – Greater Sage Grouse EIS, 2815 H Road, Grand Junction, CO, 81506
Comments need to be received by Nov. 14, 2013.
Copies of the Northwest Colorado Greater Sage-Grouse Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS are available at the Northwest Colorado District Office at the above address or on the website at: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/BLM_Programs/wildlife/sage-grouse.html.
The BLM and U.S. Forest Service will issue separate Records of Decision by Sept. 30, 2014.
In March 2010, the US Fish and Wildlife Service determined that listing the Greater Sage-Grouse as a threatened or endangered species was “warranted, but precluded.” The FWS determined that current and potential threats to Greater Sage-Grouse habitat and inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms pose “a significant threat to the Greater Sage-Grouse now and in the foreseeable future.”
The Northwest Colorado Greater Sage-Grouse EIS is one of 15 separate EISs that are being conducted as part of BLM’s west-wide National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Effort, to provide additional measures to maintain and increase Greater Sage-grouse habitat on public lands to preclude the need for listing by improving habitat.
Alternative D is the BLM’s preferred alternative, combining the best available data on sage grouse habitat with adjustments to reflect local conditions and the input of cooperating agencies. The final could combine elements of one or all of the alternatives.
• Alternative A continues current management direction under existing planning documents for all five field offices involved in the planning effort, plus the Routt National Forest.
• Alternative B analyzes management actions outlined in the National Technical Team’s (NTT) report. Conservation measures under Alternative B are focused primarily on priority habitat areas that have the highest conservation value to maintaining or increasing Greater Sage-Grouse populations. These conservation measures include such protections as right-of-way exclusions and a fluid mineral leasing closure.
• Alternative C analyzes management recommendations submitted by conservation groups for protection and conservation of Greater Sage-Grouse and its habitat at the range-wide level. Conservation measures under Alternative C include creating an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) that would include all preliminary priority habitat and a grazing closure over all designated habitat in the planning area.
• Alternative D, the sub-regional alternative, incorporates local adjustments to the NTT report, which were developed with cooperating agencies. The purpose is to provide a balanced level of protection, restoration, enhancement and use of resources and services to meet ongoing programs and land uses. Conservation measures under Alternative D are focused on both preliminary priority habitat and all designated habitat.
Public meetings will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in October at the following locations:
• Oct. 15 in Craig, at the Memorial Hospital at Craig, 750 Hospital Loop
• Oct. 17 in Silt, at the BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office, 2300 River Frontage Road
• Oct. 22 in Walden, at the Wattenburg Community Center, 682 County Road 42
• Oct. 24 in Lakewood, at the Lakewood Heritage Center, 801 S. Yarrow St.
More information about the public meetings will be announced in the coming weeks.
Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
PARTS OF ROUTT NATIONAL FOREST WILL HAVE NO ACCESS DURING RACE
Due to the closure of US Highway 40 over Rabbit Ears Pass for the 2013 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Forest visitors should be aware that access to this part of the Routt National Forest will be temporarily affected. Closures are being coordinated with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and are expected to run between approximately 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21. In addition to all Forest access roads which intersect Highway 40, this short-term closure will affect access to and from several popular picnic areas, campgrounds and trailheads accessed from the highway. Race spectators who will be camping on the National Forest near the race course are reminded to contact the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District for details on acceptable dispersed camping locations and regulations. Campers are reminded of the following restrictions:
- Except in marked sensitive areas, dispersed camping is allowed in most locations.
- Campers should rehabilitate their dispersed site by removing fire rings, or not have campfires.
- No camping at the East Summit Parking Lots.
- No camping within 1/4 mile of Meadows or Dumont Lake Campgrounds, including the access road to Meadows Campground.
For information about alternative National Forest access points, developed recreation areas, or dispersed camping opportunities, contact the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District at 970-870-2299.
MEEKER ART EXHIBIT SET TO OPEN FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
The public is invited to attend the Plein Air Meeker 2013 art exhibit and silent auction, Friday evening from 7 to 9 and Saturday from 10 to 2:30 at the Upstairs Gallery in Meeker. The free event features original artwork generated within a 50 mile radius of downtown Meeker and will be on display for viewing and silent auction. Gallery officials say this is an excellent opportunity to peruse exceptional art and build a Meeker inspired art collection. Friday’s art exhibit will be held in conjunction with the artist meet and greet. Contact the Meeker Chamber of Commerce for additional information.
STATE PATROL WILL PAY FOR SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION
The Colorado State Patrol must pay more than $768,000 to a former patrol captain who was denied re-employment after the agency learned he was gay. State Senior Administrative Law Judge Mary McClatchey ruled Friday that former captain Brett Williams suffered and will continue to suffer from the patrol’s actions. The amount includes back pay with interest, and lost forward pay – totaling $768,268. Williams left the agency in 2010 to become a helicopter pilot, but he later asked to return. During the polygraph test required as part of the reinstatement, Williams was asked a question that forced him to reveal his sexual orientation. The question concerned a legal massage he received in Thailand that involved sexual contact. McClatchey concluded patrol leaders used the test to deny Williams’ reinstatement, contrary to law-enforcement hiring standards.