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USFS Seeks Public Input On Wilderness Areas

CLOVIS – In an effort to keep the public engaged throughout the forest plan revision process for the Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests, the U.S. Forest Service is sharing their draft evaluations of lands that may be suitable for recommendation and inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System.

No new wilderness areas are being designated at this time; only Congress can designate wilderness.

The Forest Service is revising the three forest plans using the 2012 Planning Rule, which requires them to conduct this wilderness evaluation. As part of this endeavor, they are sharing several documents for public review including a draft wilderness evaluation report, maps, and tables that provide overviews of designated wilderness, recommended wilderness and potential recommended wilderness.

The public is invited to provide feedback on the areas currently being considered for analysis. The Forest Service is also interested in public input regarding suitable uses and management of recommended wilderness.

More information regarding the management of recommended wilderness can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions document on the wilderness evaluation webpage: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r5/landmanagement/planning/?cid=STELPRD3803608

Feedback may be submitted via web form at http://tinyurl.com/earlyadoptersfpr and is most useful if received by Feb. 1, 2016. If you have questions or concerns please contact Christina Boston at 707-562-8837.

In the past year, the U.S. Forest Service has opened public discussions on plan revisions as information was available, including:

  • June 2014: Preliminary wilderness inventory, step one of the wilderness evaluation process
  • August 2014: Began National Environmental Policy Act process for forest plan revisions; shared the final wilderness inventory
  • November 2014: Shared issues and concerns heard during public scoping
  • January 2015: Sierra Cascade Dialog session about monitoring programs
  • May 2015: Update on the wilderness evaluation progress
  • June 2015: Inyo National Forest hosted a wilderness evaluation public workshop
  • July 2015: Released draft proposed species of conservation concern lists
  • September 2015: Shared the process for wilderness evaluation and identifying areas for potential wilderness recommendation; Invited public feedback on the proposed draft monitoring programs
  • October 2015: Sierra Cascade Dialog session about wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, species of conservation concern, and the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail
  • December 2015: Shared the Wild and Scenic Rivers inventory and eligibility findings and additional information on draft proposed Species of Conservation Concern lists; invited public feedback

For more information about plan revision efforts, visit the website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/r5/FPR

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.

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