Long process of revising plans for NC national forests nears crucial point

In November 2012, the U.S. Forest Service began work on a comprehensive revision of the Land Management Plan for North Carolina’s Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests. It reasonably might have been expected to end in 2016. Instead, the politically complicated process remains underway with some crucial stages just ahead.

If the prospect of assisting a large federal agency in developing a comprehensive plan overseeing 1 million acres of public land makes you weary, you may not be alone.

The multi-year process of gathering science and public information to create a comprehensive management plan for Western North Carolina’s two national forests is approaching a major milestone: in late summer, the U.S. Forest Service expects to present a draft plan with management alternatives and a draft environmental impact statement.

The overall strategies outlined in the plan may have broad implications, including which acres and rivers are recommended for greater protection. Recommendations for management of forest resources could range from improving wildlife habitat to the protection of Native American cultural resources. A final management decision will be made in 2019 by the supervisor of the Forest Service’s North Carolina office.

To engage more residents of Western North Carolina in the plan revision, member organizations of the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Partnership are sponsoring several expert panel discussions about the forest management plan at four locations throughout Western North Carolina this month. The events are not sponsored by the Forest Service. The Partnership is among several cooperative efforts formed around the revision to gather interest groups to discuss aspects of the plan.

Learn more here…


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