The Trails and Open Space Coalition got a letter from the US Forest Service regarding the Bear Creek Watershed, dated October 1, 2015.  Erin Connelly, Forest and Grassland Supervisor and Reviewing Officer for the Bear Creek Watershed Environmental Assessment, tells us that after reviewing the objections received after the draft Decision Notice, she has decided to extend the time period to respond to objections. We can expect a final written response to all objections by Nov 18th.
TOSC received a notice of the extended deadline because our organization was one that filed an official objection to the draft Decision Notice. In general, we agreed with the decision as the best solution, with the exception of the closing of the trails to the north side perimeter mountains: Mt. Garfield, Mt. Arthur, and Tenney Crags. The text of the letter is at the bottom of this post.
Testing has revealed that the fish in Bear Creek (approximately 750 adults) are the sole remaining genetically pure population of greenback cutthroat trout. The population is currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This latest announcement is part of an ongoing process to determine the best way to protect the trout while maintaining public access to the trails and mountains within the Bear Creek Watershed. for more information on the process and the draft Decision Notice, visit the US Forest Service’s website.
Letter to the Advocacy Director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition:
“…My staff and I are reviewing the objections received for the Bear Creek Watershed Restoration Environmental Assessment and draft Decision Notice. I have decided to exercise my discretion, under Title 36 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 218.26(b), to extend the time to respond to objections. With this extension, I intend to issue my final written response to all objections by November 18, 2015.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this letter, please contact Nancy Miller, acting Regional Administrative Review Coordinator, at 303-275-5373 or
Forest and Grassland Supervisor
Reviewing Officer”

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