The time to comment on the Blue Mountains National Forests Proposed Revised Land Management Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) has been extended by 60 days; deadline for submitting comments is now August 15, 2014. Regional Forester Kent Connaughton approved the extension in order for the public to have time to review the extensive document and submit comments. The Proposed Plan and Impact Statement covers the Malheur, Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman National Forests, and a portion of the Ochoco National Forest.
The Proposed Revised Forest Plan and DEIS became available for review on March 14, 2014 for a minimum 90-day comment period. The 90-day comment period was originally set to end on June 16, 2014, however it has now been extended to August 15, 2014. The intent is to have the Extension of the Comment Period notice posted in the Federal Register on April 25, 2014.
The comment period is an opportunity for the public to be involved in the decision making process, to offer thoughts on alternative ways the Forest Service can accomplish what is proposed, and to comment on the agency’s preferred alternative and analysis. Input provided by the public will help determine management direction for the final Forest Plans.
A Forest Plan is a document that guides land management decisions for a period of about 15 years. The Forest Plan is strategic in nature and does not approve projects or actions on National Forest System lands; for example it does not close specific roads, trails, or areas – further NEPA and public engagement is required on these types of site-specific level decisions.
Interested parties may submit comments in a variety of ways. The Forest Service encourages the public to use the electronic system for submitting comments, which is available at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/BlueMountainForestPlanRevisionComments.
The forest service would like for anyone interested in leaving a comment to do so by August 15th.
The DEIS and Proposed Revised Forest Plan can be downloaded. Printed copies are also available to read at local libraries and Forest District Offices.