Stay engaged in federal land management planning efforts

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February 2nd, 2009

Public has opportunity to provide input on forest plans and travel management plans

Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to stay engaged in the public input processes for federal land management and travel management efforts. Most of Arizona’s national forests and BLM field offices are in various stages of revising land use and travel management plans. Two of the ongoing processes involve the Kaibab National Forest (Tusayan Ranger District) and the Prescott National Forest.

Kaibab National Forest, Tusayan Ranger District

The deadline for public comment on the environmental assessment (EA) for the Kaibab National Forest Tusayan Ranger District’s travel management project is tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 30, 2009). The EA discloses the direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental impacts that would result from the proposed action and two alternatives. Comments can be e-mailed to comments-southwestern-kaibab@fs.fed.us.

Information posted on the Kaibab National Forest’s Web site says the proposed action includes removal of about 163 miles of roads from public motorized travel from the existing open forest road system (resulting in the total miles of roads on the Tusayan Ranger District open to motor vehicle travel going from 709 miles to 546 miles). It also includes provisions to allow opportunities for motorized access to dispersed camping and motorized access by hunters to travel up to one mile cross-country in order to retrieve a legally downed and tagged elk.

The EA relates only to the Tusayan Ranger District. The Kaibab National Forest chose a district-by-district approach to its travel management planning. Separate planning processes are taking place on the forest’s Williams and North Kaibab districts.

To see a copy of the EA and its accompanying documents, visit the Kaibab National Forest Web site at www.fs.fed.us/r3/kai/travelmanagement/documents.php. For more information, visit www.fs.fed.us/r3/kai/news/releases/2009/20090107_tus-open-hse.php.

Prescott National Forest

The Prescott National Forest will hold two public meetings in preparation for revising its Forest Plan. The meetings will be held at:

  • Camp Verde, Feb. 25, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Cliff Castle Casino, 555 Middle Verde Road.
  • Prescott, Feb. 26, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Yavapai College, 1100 E. Sheldon St., Building 19, Room, 147.

Information posted on the Prescott National Forest’s Web site says the forest has spent the past year putting together information for two reports: (1) Economic and Social Sustainability Assessment and, (2) Ecological Sustainability. The goal of each report is to identify “concerns” that may need to be addressed in a revised Forest Plan based on comparison to stated reference conditions, on information heard from citizens, or on recent trends in conditions.

At the February public meetings (Feb. 25 in Camp Verde; Feb. 26 in Prescott), the Prescott National Forest would like to discuss the findings from those two documents, and get the public’s feedback on which items resonate as the most urgent at a policy level. From there, the forest will initiate the formal plan revision process and move into development of a Proposed Forest Plan.

For more information, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/prescott/plan-revision/pub-mtgs-february-2009.shtml.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department will continue to post information as it learns of it at www.azgfd.gov/outdoor_recreation/federal_land_management.shtml. However, the best way for you to stay current on the latest updates is by contacting the individual national forests for USDA Forest Service plans, or the Bureau of Land Management for BLM plans. A list of contact information and Web links can be found in the “downloads” column at www.azgfd.gov/outdoor_recreation/federal_land_management.shtml.

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