San Miguel County has a diverse land-use pattern—from the residential, development-heavy east end to the historically agrarian communities in the west.
In addition, public lands managed by the US Forest Service and BLM account for over 60 percent of the land within the County. Public lands provide substantial environmental benefits to the County: clean drinking water, flood mitigation, snow retention, sediment retention and wildlife habitat. Economic benefits include recreation, cultural heritage, hunting and fishing.
The US Forest Service, who manages the Grand Mesa Uncompahgre Gunnison National Forest (GMUG) is about to initiate their long overdue Forest Planning process. The GMUG is also about to finalize the Spruce Beetle Epidemic Aspen Decline Management Response (SBEADMR) a timber harvest program to address forest health issues. The Bureau of Land Management is about to release their Resource Management Plan for the Uncompahgre Field Office. There will be multiple Travel Management Plan updates for this region over the next few years. I have been actively involved in these processes, developed relationships with agency staff and stakeholders and will be ready to participate at the County level.
While the county is not a large landowner, they do control land use and zoning outside of municipal boundaries. There are a handful of large tracts of land remaining in the county that could be zoned to incentivize community housing while protecting environmentally sensitive areas and natural resources. County land use planning can also be used to bring more economic opportunities to communities like Norwood reducing their dependence on and need to commute daily to Telluride.