Document to guide decisions for 15 years

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. The deadline for submitting comments is now Aug. 15. 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 Revised Forest Plan (commonly known as a Forest Plan) and DEIS became available for review on March 14, for a minimum 90-day comment period. The 90-day comment period was originally set to end on June 16, as identified in the federal register (https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-05674). However, it is now extended to Aug. 15. The intent is to have the Extension of the Comment Period notice posted in the Federal Register on April 25.

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.

The Forest Plan and DEIS covers the Malheur, Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman National Forests, and a portion of the Ochoco National Forest (Blue Mountains National Forests).

A Forest Plan is a document that guides land-management decisions (project or site-specific level planning) 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 (NFS) lands. For example, it does not close specific roads, trails, or areas – further National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and public engagement are required on these types of site-specific level decisions.

Interested parties may submit comments in a variety of ways. However, 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. Comments may also be submitted in writing to: Blue Mountain Plan Revision Team, P.O. Box 907, Baker City, OR, 97814 or faxed to 541-523-6392. Comments received, including names and addresses of those who comment, will become part of the project record and are available for public review. It is the responsibility of the persons providing comments to submit them by the close of the comment period (Aug. 15) and ensure their comments have been received.

The Forest Plan and DEIS can be downloaded from the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/BlueMtnsPlanRevision. Printed copies and/or compact discs (CDs) are available upon request by emailing: bluemtnplanrevision@fs.fed.us, or by calling 541-523-1302 or 541-523-1246. Printed copies are also available to read at local libraries and Forest District Offices.



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