PLNR-21-3 Public Process and Participation in the Development and Implementation of Public Lands Resource Management Plans

WHEREAS over 70% of the Western Slope is public lands; and

WHEREAS Club 20 counties have actively participated, for many decades, in the development of the Western Slope Resource Management Plans required by the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPM), and continue to develop long-standing partnerships with scholars, professionals, scientists and other experts who possess knowledge specific to the landscapes of the Western slope; and

WHEREAS it is important for the public to support the management plans developed for the public resources; and

WHEREAS the US Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) both have the policy and procedural direction under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to provide Cooperating Agency status in their planning processes for County and State Governments. These agencies have made excellent use of this tool to integrate County and State land use and resource plans in a substantive manner in the development of Resource Management Plans.

WHEREAS as many special interests weigh in, it is ever more important to utilize the data collected from local expertise and scientific professionals when considering the implementation of management plans which are developed for these public resources; and

WHEREAS while the management of public lands falls to the USFS and BLM these lands are pivotal economic drivers for the communities in which they are located. The economic interests may differ between counties, even those in the same region. Consideration for the local interests even when they differ politically with federal interests is imperative to maintain public and local government support; and

WHERAS local communities have the benefit of unique knowledge and insights of the environment, economy, and management history of the place they call home which many federal and state lawmakers do not have; and

WHEREAS many recent legislative efforts have shown little appreciation for the local knowledge and scientific expertise which have made our cooperative management plans sustainable; and

WHEREAS there has been a significant increase in proposed new laws – both state and federal that are in direct conflict with current management plans developed cooperatively with local input and in conjunction with the state and federal agency partners; and

WHEREAS the process for conducting public land management planning is a democratic process, with subsequent protections of said process to allow broad public input and requires all parties to follow the process, and is heavily regulated by state and federal law; and

WHEREAS many public and private organizations have spent considerable time and effort to reach management agreements on potentially contentious issues during the planning processes.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that CLUB 20 believes that:

  • Legally mandated Land Management Plans should guide the management of both national forests and BLM lands.  These processes have worked well for decades and ensure management plans for our public lands consider local, site specific input and science as well as all slices of the public; 
  • Public land management efforts should be open, transparent, and comprehensive processes;
  • Both FLPMA and NFMA provides guidance for County led Coordination Plans which are an important tool in adoption and revisions of Resource Management Plans;
  • GLPMS obligates the federal government to coordinate the development of resource management plans with local governments with the intent of being consistent with local government planning;
  • New public land designations, such as Wilderness or 30 X 30 efforts, are best developed using Resource Management Plans and similar public planning processes that allow affected local governments and all stakeholders and the public to directly participate in their development and implementation in a meaningful way;
  • Special interest group driven planning processes should not bypass NFMA and FLPMA.  Elected and appointed officials at the local, state and federal levels should defer to the legally mandated Federal processes as they ensure local public input into and the management plans which are developed to address unique needs of the community;
  •  All interests must find ways to work together for the benefit of the common good of public lands and all the multiple uses dependent on them. We also recognize that the management of those areas disproportionately impacts the surrounding communities which rely on the access to those adjacent public lands to stimulate their economies and serve sustainable recreational needs;
  • Input from local communities as it concerns these management plans should be given special consideration to adequately address their unique needs as they relate to the management of adjacent public lands.

(Formerly 07-9-PL-2 and PLNR-07-2)

Adopted 9/10/2021

For Resolution in PDF Format