The Forest Service has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to analyze and disclose the environmental effects of providing access to Berlaimont Estates’ private property.
This property is in the popular recreational area known as Berry Creek north of Edwards. Impacts would include development of the area above and below long-time popular recreational areas.
Four alternatives were developed and analyzed in the DEIS, including a No Action Alternative. A variety of issues were analyzed by specialists in the DEIS including potential impacts to wildlife, scenery, vegetation, recreation, livestock management and water resources.
The purpose of the project is to provide an improved road to Berlaimont Estates’ private property. The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) directs the Forest Service to provide adequate access to private property surrounded by National Forest System lands. Berlaimont Estates desires to develop nineteen, single family residences on their property.
“We looked at three action alternatives that met the purpose and need while also satisfying the agency’s legal obligations to provide adequate access under ANILCA,” said District Ranger Aaron Mayville. “We are pleased to share the results of our environmental analysis, and welcome your comments and feedback at this important stage in the process.”
Three of the alternatives analyzed would authorize a permit or easement to improve, construct or maintain existing roads on National Forest System (NFS) lands and Berlaimont Estates’ private property. Each alternative analyzes different uses of existing Forest Service road and/or new road construction and alignments.
A public meeting will be held Feb. 15 from 4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. at the Holy Cross District Office located at 24747 US Highway 24 Minturn, CO 81645. At the meeting the public can ask questions about the alternatives and analysis and provide feedback.
Based on the analysis documented within this DEIS, the Responsible Official, the Forest Supervisor for the White River National Forest, will decide whether to select one of the action alternatives or Alternative 1 (No Action Alternative). In addition to determining which alternative to select, the Forest Supervisor will also determine if any required Project Design Criteria (PDC) and Best Management Practices (BMPs) and any associated monitoring will be required. The Forest Supervisor will also make a decision whether to amend the Forest Plan.
How to Comment:
The forest invites the public to an open house to discuss the proposed projects and learn more about these activities. Comments on the Draft EIS will be accepted for 45 days from publication of the Notice of Availability (NOA) in the Federal Register or until March 12, 2018 (the anticipated date of publication of the NOA is Jan. 26, 2018). The NOA provides the sole means of calculating the close of the Draft EIS comment period.
The entire Draft EIS is available for review on the White River National Forest website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=50041 . A comment form is included on the website, which allows the public to submit comments on the Draft EIS electronically. Hardcopies may be reviewed at the Holy Cross Ranger Station.
Written comments should be submitted to: Berlaimont Estates Road Access Project Draft EIS, Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor, c/ o Matt Klein, Project Leader, 24747 US Highway 24 Minturn, CO 81645; comments can be hand delivered between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday, excluding holidays.
The White River National Forest plans to issue a Final Environmental Impact Statement and draft Record of Decision (ROD) in summer of 2018.