Forest Service to host open house, seeks feedback on management plan
MANTI—The Manti-La Sal National Forest is hosting a public open house to share the status of the effort to revise the forest’s management plan, and to provide information on the next steps in the plan-revision process.
The open house will be on Thursday, June 29, at the Sanpete County Courthouse, 160 N. Main in Manti, from 5-7 p.m. People who wish to attend can stop in at any time during the two-hour schedule.
Forest service officials will be available to provide information and collect feedback from the public.
“Every forest in the National Forest System is required to have a land management plan in accordance with the National Forest Management Act of 1976,” Rosann Fillmore, the forest’s public information officer, said. “Known as Forest Plans, these documents provide strategic guidance for how forest lands are to be managed to allow for multiple uses while maintaining healthy ecosystems.”
Established in 1986, Fillmore said the current Manti-La Sal National Forest Plan is 30 years old and needs to be revised to address the changing needs of the forest and those who use it. The forest service did initiate the revision process about 10 years ago, but it was never finalized because of legal wrangling.
Forest plans and revisions are mandated by federal regulations. The previous revision attempt was done under 2004 George W. Bush-era rules. Those rules were challenged in court, which held up the approval of any plan revision.
New federal rules were adopted in 2012 under the Obama administration. Those are the rules the forest service is following for the current revision.
“Now we’re back doing this in a different way than we did before,” Fillmore said. “A couple of forests have completed their revisions under the 2012 rules, so it has already had some tests.”
She said, “The 2012 Planning Rule allows for public participation throughout every phase of the planning process. It also emphasizes adaptive management, enabling the forest to more easily update the Plan in accordance with changing conditions.”
The revision is a multi-year process, but the plan developed thereby is expected to guide the forest for a decade after. The revision effort began last year with an assessment phase; it will end when a new forest plan is approved by the forest supervisor, a position now held by Mark Pentecost. Approval is not expected until at least 2020.
For more information about the Manti-La Sal National Forest’s plan-revision process, visit: http://www.bit.do/manti-lasalplanrevision, or call 435-636-3508.