LemhiWeb Citizen Journalism

Leslie Shumate's picture

FOREST PLAN PROGRESS REPORT 5-8-17 LMS

As discussed changes are identified, one of the goals attached to a revision of the Salmon-Challis 30 year old Forest Plan is to maintain open communications with the public and Lemhi County officials.

On Monday, May 8, Forest Collaboration Specialist Gina Knudson and Forest Revision Plan Team Leader Josh Milligan met with the Lemhi County Commissioners to give an update as to how the revisions are progressing.

The commissioners reiterated their desire to be consulted throughout the revision process and before any decisions are made. They remained adamant about there being no road closures and including all forest user-groups in the decision making process. Knudson assured the board there are no decisions being made in this first phase of what is expected to be a four year process. She said right now they are reviewing the county’s Comprehensive and Transportation plans with the intention of reflecting them in the Forest Plan. She said she would like County/City Building Administrator Gary Goodman to review what specific parts of the Forest Plan should be aligned with the Comprehensive Plan and highlight the parts of the Transportation Plan the county would like to see taken into account in the Forest Plan. 

Goodman cited issues of access and recreation as being vital and Knudson agreed the Socio-economic factors are very important as are the changes in demographics. She asked if before the assessment is written the county could take a look at the information gathered so far, to make sure it is accurate and that the county agrees with the Forest Service areas of emphasis. She added that as the material is gathered and produced they will bring each section to the commissioners for discussion and review. Commissioner Rick Snyder said that would be perfect and exactly where the county would like to start.

Public input into the plan is extremely important considering the final Forest Plan is expected to be in effect for from 15 to 20 years. County Road and Bridge Department Road Specialist Jay Davis asked if there has been feedback from ranchers and Knudson said attendance at a recent webinar presentation received good representation and participation from the ranching community. 

The Forest Plan revision project officially began in January of this year and public input meetings were launched in February. Milligan said the reason for the meetings is to get public feedback on what directions the forest plan should take in terms of cultural or socio-economic issues and to identify what is most important to the public. Input received will be featured in the “assessment document” which will introduce the document that pinpoints which areas need Forest Plan direction and what issues need to be addressed. Milligan said writing of the first draft document will probably begin sometime in October.

The Revision Plan Team Leader said comments will be taken throughout and that mid-summer would be a good target date for submitting them in order to be incorporated into the document. Information on the Forest Plan Revision can be found by logging on to the Salmon-Challis National Forest web site and clicking on the Forest Plan Revision. 

 

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