Eagle County asks public for input on White River plan
Eagle County will host a public meeting in Basalt Monday to solicit comments from the public on the proposed management plan for the White River National Forest.
The meeting is one of four scheduled in Eagle County towns. The county has hired an independent facilitator, Sandy Blaha, to run the meetings.
According to Jack Ingstad, Eagle County administrator, county board Chairman Tom Stone has said he’d prefer a plan with a balance between recreation and ecology, and directed the county staff to begin drawing up recommendations calling for a management plan with that theme. Alternative D, Forest Service officials’ preferred plan, calls for habitat management to receive higher priority than human use.
But Eagle County won’t take a formal position on the forest plan until after the series of meetings, Ingstad said.
Citizens should do their homework and become familiar with what the Forest Service has proposed as a preferred plan before going to the meetings, Ingstad advised.
“We want the comments to be as specific as possible to help us in putting together our recommendations,” he said.
Basalt Councilwoman Jacque Whitsitt said this is an opportunity for Eagle County residents to let their commissioners know what they think of the proposed forest plan.
“I hope the public will show up and express their opinions as to what they’d like the commissioners to do,” she said.
Whitsitt said she’d heard a complaint that the Eagle County commissioners did not attend the first of the meetings, held March 6 in Edwards, but Commissioner Stone said all three commissioners were attending a conference in Washington, D.C. that day. They plan to attend the remaining meetings, he said.
He said commissioners want opinions from the public to incorporate into the county’s comments, to be submitted in April.
“We have yet to take a position on the plan,” Stone said. “We’re looking to get some good, useful comments on the plan.”
No prepared presentation is planned for Monday’s meeting. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Basalt Town Council chambers, 101 Midland Ave., Basalt. All Eagle County residents are invited.
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