Several Forest Resource Specialists were on hand at the Hideout Community Center on Nov. 2 to receive public comment on the revision.
For residents who were unable to attend the open house, there is still time to submit public comment for this phase and the next. Public comment for phase two is due by Nov. 9.
Submitted comments can be hand-delivered or sent by postal mail to the Manti-La Sal Supervisor’s office, 599 West Price River Drive, Price, UT 84501, or sent by email to email@example.com.
Questions are to be directed to the Forest Plan Revision Team at 435-637-3508 or at the email listed above.
The Forest Service has offered several items to consider while submitting public comment.
For desired conditions: What is your vision for the resources of the Manti-La Sal National Forest?
Objectives: What type of management activities can we take to get there? What is missing?
Are there additional desired conditions and objectives we should consider?
The revision plan started in 2016 with phase one, the assessment phase which ran until earlier this year.
Phase two runs from 2018-2022 and includes the development of a new forest plan along with a NEPA-Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to develop a new Forest Plan and alternatives.
The final phase of the plan will run from 2022 on and will include the implementation of the new plan, conducted monitoring in accordance with the new plan and a biannual review of the plan to update if needed.
“A lot of people are like, ‘oh my gosh Nov. 9.,’” Recreation, Wilderness, and Trails Program Manager with the Forest Service Brian Murdock said. “This is really early in the process. There are going to be lots of points where people can be involved.”
Murdock said all the resources – wildlife, vegetation, fire, wilderness and recreation – are being looked at under the new plan revision.
Opportunities for public comment will be taken throughout the plan revision process. After receiving comments from the public and cooperating agencies, the Forest Service will prepare a proposed action and move into the third phase, sometime in the spring of 2019, according to Murdock.
“Several processes are occuring along with the plan revision, including an update of the scenery management system and timber suitability,” Murdock said. “The timber suitability process will identify places that are suitable for timber and that will be managed for commercial timber harvest and places that are unsuitable where we are saying, ‘We may still do some treatment in there,’ but they are not going to be managed for commercial timber.”
Murdock also said the wilderness evaluation is another subject that people have expressed interest in.
“That’s basically a process where we are looking at all of the Forest Service lands for potential wilderness values,” Murdock said. “The outcome of the process will be potentially recommending some areas or not for wilderness designation. We don’t designate it, but we recommend it to Congress.”