From the Telluride Daily Planet (Katie Klingsporn):
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) just released a draft Wild and Scenic Eligibility Report — one of the first steps in achieving the designation — that identifies segments of the San Miguel and its tributaries, the Dolores and the Gunnison rivers for Wild and Scenic status. “The idea is to safeguard the value of the rivers,” said Erin Curtis, public information officer for the BLM. The BLM’s Uncompahgre Field Office is currently seeking public comment on the draft report, which can be found at http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/ufo/uncompahgre_rmp.html.
The document is basically a 155-page inventory that describes some 35 segments that may be eligible in terms of value of geography, ownership, wildlife, recreation and more. It identifies roughly 55 miles of the main stem of the San Miguel River — stretches that runs roughly from Deep Creek to the confluence with the Dolores River. It also identifies pieces of several of the San Miguel’s tributaries: Beaver Creek, Fall Creek, Dry Creek, Naturita Creek, Saltado Creek and Tabeguache Creek. In addition, it identifies approximately 20 miles of the Dolores River, including segments where “the scenic value created by the river flowing within the canyon is rare in the region of comparison.” These rivers were plucked from some 174 segments that the BLM inventoried — and were chosen for their beauty or history, their geology, paleontology or hydrology.
But in the end, in order to achieve this designation, a river or stream segment much be determined as both “eligible” and “suitable” — qualifications that each come with their own review process. Right now, these segments are in the eligible stage, during which land managers work to determine if the river or stream segments possess one or more “outstanding remarkable value.” These could range anywhere from having fantastic wildlife activity to great recreation, holding significant historic value to just being really darn scenic…
The BLM will be accepting comments on the Draft Eligibility Study until Feb. 26. Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the Uncompahgre Field Office, Attn: RMP Revision, 2645 S. Townsend Ave., Montrose, CO 81401.