Saguache Ranger District, Rio Grande National Forest; Colorado; La Garita Hills Restoration Project
The Saguache Ranger District, Rio Grande National Forest (USFS), and San Luis Valley Field Office, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), propose to conduct restoration activities on up to 90,000 acres within the 187,778 acre La Gartia Hills (LGH) analysis area; approximately 145,709 acres are managed by the USFS and 33,294 acres are managed by the BLM. All activities would occur only on federal lands. The analysis area is located west and northwest of the town of La Garita in Saguache County, in south central Colorado. Treatment activities could include mechanical thinning, hand thinning, mastication, hazard tree removal, salvage, prescribed fire, tree planting, and relocation of selected road segments. The treatments will be used singularly or in combination to transition the landscape towards long-term desired future conditions that are more characteristic of a resilient forest, as described in the Rio Grande National Forest and San Luis Resource Area Management Plans. Resilient landscapes are more resistant to droughts, insect outbreaks, diseases, potential large wildfires, and will also offer additional protection to identified values at risk including: adjacent private land and property, water quality, watershed health, transportation systems, recreation sites, wildlife habitats, heritage sites, and timber resources. The USFS is the lead agency for the Environmental Impact Statement and the BLM is participating as a cooperating agency.