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John Stewart

Objections

Forest Planning Process
STEP FOUR: Objections

WHAT IT IS: The 2005 Forest Service planning regulations do not provide citizens an opportunity for administrative appeal of a final forest plan. Instead, citizens can file an "objection" to a plan before a final decision is made. The objection is submitted to the Forest Service officer one level above the official who will approve the plan. Usually, this will be the Regional Forester, who may instruct the Forest Supervisor to modify the plan or conduct more analysis in response to the objections. Once the forest supervisor makes a final decision, there is no way to challenge it except by going to court.

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John Stewart

Components of a Forest Plan

Forest Planning Process
Components of a Forest Plan


Under National Forest Management Act (NFMA) regulations and directives, each forest plan (or planning project) will consist of five components:

1. Describe desired conditions of the Forest,
2. Set measurable objectives to achieve those conditions,
3. Determine the general suitability of lands for various uses,
4. Designate special areas such as proposed wilderness, and
5. Provide guidelines governing the management practices and uses of the Forest.

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John Stewart

Implementation and Monitoring

Forest Planning Process
STEP SIX: Implementation and Monitoring


WHAT IT IS: Once the plan is formally adopted, there will be opportunities for citizen involvement in and oversight of how the plan is implemented. The Forest Service publishes a quarterly schedule of management activities (Schedule of Proposed Actions - SOPA) being planned for each national forest and ranger district. The level of public involvement and NEPA analysis will vary depending on the type of activity being proposed.

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John Stewart

Litigation

Forest Planning Process
STEP FIVE: Litigation


WHAT IT IS: Before going to court you must, under law, exhaust your administrative remedies.

If the Forest Service is preparing an environmental assessment or EIS for a project, there will also likely be an opportunity for administrative appeal. For projects that are categorically excluded from NEPA, there will be relatively little public involvement.

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John Stewart

Introduction to the Forest Planning Process

The Forest Planning Process

The U.S. Forest Service is an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture and charged with managing the 192-million acre National Forest System. The National Forest System contains approximately 34.2 million acres of designated wilderness areas and another 58.5 million acres of Inventoried Roadless Areas. The remaining 100 million acres is managed for a variety of public uses including recreation, logging, mining, and grazing.

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John Stewart

Public Involvement

Forest Planning Process
STEP TWO: Public Involvement


WHAT IT IS: Under NEPA, the agency is required to encourage public involvement and collaboration through written comments and other, less formal means such as public meetings, open houses, workshops, and field trips. The Forest Supervisor "...has discretion to determine the methods and timing of public involvement opportunities." The length of the comment period is determined in part by public involvement.

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