Forest Service plans determine how these public lands are used
Forest Service Planning
The Gila National Forest is currently revising its forest management plan for the first time since 1986 and is accepting public input through April 16, 2020. The final version of this plan will determine how Wilderness, wildlife, water, and other natural resources are managed within the Forest for the next 20-30 years.
New Mexico Wild spent several years conducting on-the-ground surveys and GIS analyses of the roadless areas within the Forest. Through this process we identified 1.8 million acres of roadless areas with Wilderness characteristics, including 600,000 priority acres, that we believe should be recommended by the Gila National Forest as Wilderness.
The Forest’s draft plans would fall well short of our recommendations. Alternative 2, the Forest’s preferred alternative, only recommends 110,402 acres of Wilderness in 13 areas adjacent to existing Wilderness areas. Simply put, this does not go far enough.
A robust Wilderness expansion is the best way to protect the natural, cultural, historical, and ecological resources found within the Gila National Forest.
While it is encouraging to see that the Forest’s “preferred alternative” finds some segments of the Gila and San Francisco Rivers eligible for protection under the Wild and Scenic Act, numerous river segments that were recommended for inclusion by New Mexico Wild are not included.*