A new rule will determine how Summit County residents will be involved when the time comes to make a new plan for the White River National Forest.
Early comments due on new national forest planning rule, with a Feb. 16 deadline. Sounds boring, but read on, this is critical for Summit County, with 80 percent national forest land that belongs to you
SUMMIT COUNTY — After federal courts thrice rejected federal initiatives to streamline the overall national forest planning process, the U.S. Forest Service is going back to the drawing board with a new, Web 2.0 initiative that includes an interactive planning blog to solicit real-time feedback.
The rule will determine how individual forests formulate their plans. At stake for Summit County residents is how they will be able to help shape the next plan for the White River National Forest. Generally, Forest Service policy requires updates every 15 years. The current version of the White River forest plan was adopted in 2002. The planning rule homepage is here.
About 80 percent of Summit County is national forest land. Critical issues include cleaning up after the pine beetle infestation and balancing recreation and natural resource conservation, including the critical need to maintain adequate wildlife habitat and water quality.
For example, during the last round of planning, the White River National Forest identified new areas to be considered for wilderness status, zoned big areas of the Tenmile Range and the mountains around Keystone for ski area development and identified some areas as wildlife movement corridors or as elk habitat.
Right now, the agency is in an early scoping phase for the new rule. Anyone can comment on what issues should be considered in the proposed rule and in the Environmental Impact Statement. The deadline for this phase is Feb. 16. Click this link to get information on how to comment. If you’re interested in participating in this process, it’s important to get involved at this first step. That will ensure you’ll be contacted about subsequent actions at every stage of the process.
The process has spurred a lively dialogue, with numerous forest planning blogs springing up around the web and offering alternate views. A New Century of Forest Planning is worth reading — especially this post — before making your own comments.
Filed under: Environment, Forest health, public lands, US Forest Service | Tagged: conservation, Environment, Forest health, Forest Service, National Forest planning rule, national forests, White River National Forest | 1 Comment »