George Sibley
George Sibley


One of the advantages of growing older — OK, old — is that you can draw comparisons between how it was and how it is. Usually we hear that from us oldsters as “things is goin’ to hell, folks.”

But not always. A big one for me today is the evolving relationship between we the people and the U.S. Forest Service over the past 40 years. This is a bigger deal to me than to most of you, because I am deeply immersed (as it were) in “Watershed Management Planning” with the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District (UGRWCD), and roughly threefourths of our Upper Gunnison River watersheds are owned by all the people but managed by the Forest Service and its federal cousin the Bureau of Land Management. Most of the water that we use in the peopled part of the Upper Gunnison Basin (everything that drains into Blue Mesa Reservoir) originates on land managed by those federal agencies.

So our ability to plan intelligently for our water future — foundational to all aspects of our economy — depends on what those agencies are doing in the upper reaches of our watersheds, where all our water originates. Thus it was with something between trepidation and hope that I first heard that the agglomeration composed of the Grand Mesa, Uncompaghre and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) was, like the UGRWCD, engaged in a long-term watershed-based management planning process.



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