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.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Get on the Forest Service's mailing list for regular updates on the planning process and public participation. Each component of the National Forest System maintains a SOPA - Schedule of Proposed Actions. The SOPA provides a list of proposals that will begin or are undergoing environmental analysis and documentation so that people can become aware of and indicate their interest in specific proposals. The Schedule of Proposed Actions is published in January, April, July, and October and can be found on the Forest Service website: http://www.fs.fed.us/sopa
Public meetings are generally informal and give you a chance to sit down with agency staff and share your views and knowledge with agency officials and planners. Attend as many public meetings and field trips as you can, and bring along friends and family.
This is a good time to submit your alternative option for managing the area. Tell the agency where you would like to see special management to provide and protect recreation opportunities.
It is also important to identify areas that have been or may be affected by current or proposed uses such as livestock grazing and suggest that the USFS analyze these impacts.
You should identify conclusions or decisions from previous plans that need to be updated or should be expanded upon.
In order for the USFS to properly address transportation needs and impacts you need to submit data on existing or incorrectly identified routes and propose travel designations for the area.
Now is the time to engage the land managers in activities that mitigate potential resource impacts through individual or group efforts to restore damaged areas and maintain other areas to prevent future damage.