chimney rock

When President Obama declared Chimney Rock in the San Juan National Forest a national monument three years ago, his declaration assured us that grazing would be allowed to continue.

Laws, regulations, and policies followed by the Forest Service in issuing and administering grazing permits or leases on all lands under its jurisdiction shall continue to apply with regard to the lands in the monument.

But now the Forest Service has released the actual management plan for the area, and guess what?

No grazing.

Also, no rock climbing or other public activity is permitted near the spires, no horses or dogs allowed on the trails, snowmobiles are banned, mountain biking is limited to designated roads and no dispersed camping.

That’s according to the Durango Herald, which presented the plan as a middle-of-the-road approach.

 Among the more notable decisions, grazing is no longer allowed on Peterson Ridge. (Pagosa District Ranger Paul) Blackman said some pushback was received from ranchers, but in all, the area wasn’t heavily grazed to begin with.

If the area wasn’t heavily grazed to begin with, then why was it so important to cancel the grazing leases, especially after the Obama administration promised us those would not be affected?

We didn’t see any assurances in Obama’s executive decision that recreation would be preserved, but we’re surprised the crackdown would be so harsh.

If this is considered middle-of-the-road, we wish someone would drive over it with a 18-wheeler truck and squash it.