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USFS, BLM abandon dual delegation customer service system

Service First is a partnership between the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, the intent of which was to improve customer service through having information available at one location and to improve public land management by combining office resources.

For the past 10 years in southwestern Colorado, the BLM and the USFS have practiced dual delegation of line officers — district rangers, field managers and forest supervisors. However, on Oct. 1, 2011, the dual delegation was stopped.

In a letter sent to line officers in southwestern Colorado, USFS Regional Forester Rick Cables and BLM Colorado State Director Helen Hankins noted that the dual delegation had been, “fun at times and frustrating at others,” and said they had agreed to discontinue this dual delegation. A draft transition plan is expected by August 2012.

The implications of this for the Pagosa Ranger District will be the following:

• BLM employees will no longer work in the Pagosa field office.

• BLM will move most staff to the new Tres Rios Field Office, located in Dolores.

• Kevin Khung will be the Pagosa District Ranger and will no longer have authority as field service manger for BLM land.

“The worst thing is, it hurts the public,” Forester for the Pagosa Ranger District Steve Hartvigsen said. He proposed a scenario of a rancher who grazes cattle at the base of the Archuleta Mesa. During one season the cattle may be on USFS land and then cross over to BLM land. Instead of the rancher simply being able to pick up, apply and pay for both permits at the Pagosa office, the rancher must go to Dolores for the BLM grazing permit.

It is not yet certain if this will negatively affect funding for either agency.

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