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Tue, Nov. 12

Forest plan to go forward

The Kaibab National Forest is continuing the process of revising its forest plan and working with the public to identify needed changes to the current plan.

In late March, the Forest Service was enjoined from using the 2005 Planning Rule for revising forest plans. Because of that court decision, Forest Service managers were unsure how to proceed with the plan revision process.

"There was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the March court ruling," said Bruce Higgins, planning assistance contractor for the Kaibab National Forest. "Much of that uncertainty has now settled, and we feel it is important to let the public know that we are moving forward with the forest plan revision process on the Kaibab National Forest."

Following the ruling, national forests in Arizona, including the Kaibab, have continued to work on tasks associated with plan revision while awaiting further direction.

Nationally, the Forest Service has filed a notice to prepare an environmental impact statement to address the flaws identified by the court in the 2005 Planning Rule.

According to Higgins, Kaibab National Forest managers hope to resume public involvement in the forest plan revision process in late September.

The goal is completion of a comprehensive assessment of the needs to change the current forest plan.

The purpose of forest plans is to provide broad direction for managing natural resources for the American people.

The current Kaibab National Forest Plan was implemented in 1987. In the years since then, many social and resource conditions have changed, scientific information has improved and land management policies have evolved.

These changes necessitate creation of a new management plan.

For more information or to sign up to participate in the Kaibab National Forest plan revision process, contact Higgins at (928) 635-8210 or bjhiggins@fs.fed.us.

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