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Forest Rule Open House on Wednesday

Posted by Jonathan Guzzo at Mar 21, 2011 11:30 AM |
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Attend a forest rule open house on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at Seattle's Sheraton Hotel to weigh in on NFMA regulation changes.

The Obama administration is currently tackling the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) regulations, which govern planning on National Forests across the country. And this week you have an opportunity to weigh in at an open house on Wednesday at Seattle's downtown Sheraton Hotel.

Under the National Forest Management Act, national forests are required to craft overarching plans for managing their landscapes. These "Land and Resource Management Plans" plans dictate the direction that Forests will take for 12 to 15 year periods.

Generally speaking, this draft planning rule is on the right track from the perspective of recreation and conservation.

WTA is particularly pleased to see that the administration's draft calls for identifying and protecting recommended wilderness areas. Where previous regulations only called for identification, the new draft language would require national forests to also protect the features and values that led these identified areas to be recommend for wilderness designation in the first place.

We are, however, concerned about the public involvement section of the draft regulations.

Though the draft stresses the value of input, it includes an unsettling caveat: land managers can curtail public comment opportunities based on cost and resources. That's an open invitation for some land managers to confine input and develop plans without proper public involvement. WTA firmly believes that good land management planning is based on the opportunity for public input. Hikers and other stakeholders often provide context that land managers would otherwise lack. We'd like to see clear requirements for public input, with no opportunity for hedging. 

>> Attend the Forest Rule Open House - Wednesday, March 23 <<

If we want to be guaranteed a voice in the future, hikers need to weigh in now. There will be just one public discussion in Washington, and it's coming up on March 23rd. What better way to stress the importance of public feedback than by attending a public feedback session!

The open house will be from 6 to 8 pm at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel (1400 6th Ave). Learn more about the proposed plan at a Happy Hour at the Elephant and Castle (1415 5th Avenue) before the open house at 5 pm. To RSVP, follow this link. To learn more about planning rule revision, go here.