Forest Service wants do-over after logging controversy

The U.S Forest Service wants to hit the reset button on its planning process for Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests in North Carolina.

The agency is planning a new series of public meetings, tentatively scheduled for April, regarding its ongoing forest plan revision, which will guide management of the two forests for at least a decade, said Kristin Bail, supervisor of North Carolina’s national forests.

She said she hopes this next round of meetings will be marked by collaboration, rather than the controversy that has plagued the process since a draft copy was presented to the public in October.

That document indicated about 700,000 of the 1 million acres in the Pisgah and Nantahala were in management areas that would be open to logging, prompting a host of interest groups to declare that foresters were either destroyers or champions of their charges.

“We will use these meetings to ‘step back’ the public dialogue away from commenting on (and advocating for) what some believe was a specific proposal concerning the designation of management areas,” Bail said.

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