Open houses on revised forest plan scheduled

OKANOGAN – The Forest Service is planning a series of open houses to share information about a Proposed Actionfor the revised forest plans for the Colville and the Okanogan-WenatcheeNational Forests.  

Information about the plandevelopment and comment process will also be shared. The proposed action wasreleased on June 30, 2011 initiating a 60-day public comment period.  

A series of open houses is beingplanned for mid-July through mid-August to help the public become familiar withthe proposed management of the Colville and Okanogan-Wenatchee forest, saidMargaret Hartzell, Team Leader for the forest plan revision team. “Our goal isto introduce people to the proposed action and help them understand theinformation so they can formulate their comments.”

The first three in a series of nineplanned open house format meetings have been scheduled:
Colville, Saturday, July 16

9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., CommunityCollege, Institute for Extended Learning Center, Colville Center, 985 SouthElm, Colville, WA 99114.
Republic, Thursday, July 28
5 p.m. – 7 p.m., Republic Elementary School Multipurpose Room, 30306 E. Highway20 Republic, WA, 99166
Okanogan, Saturday, July 30
9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Okanogan County Fairgrounds, Agriplex Building, 175 RodeoTrail Road, Okanogan, WA 98840.

Additional meetings are being planned totake place in following communities the first two-weeks in August: Newport, Spokane, Wenatchee, Cle Elum, Yakima and Seattle.   Whenconfirmed the updated meeting schedule will be announced soon via media releaseand posted on the project website at: poster advertisements in local communities near the two forests.  

Forest Plans provide broad direction tothe Forest Service about how to manage the natural resources on national forestlands. “Much like county zoning plans, they allow certain activities and usesin certain areas and set the sideboards for those activities and uses,”explained Hartzell. The Forest Plan Revision Team has produced two analysisdocuments, one for the Colville National Forest and one for theOkanogan-Wenatchee National Forests.

Comments on the proposed action are mosthelpful if received by August 29, 2011. Written comments should be addressed tothe Forest Plan Revision Team, Okanogan Valley Office, 1240 Second Ave. South,Okanogan, WA, 98840.   Comments can also be sent via email   Comments generated by the Proposed Actionwill lead to alternatives to be analyzed in an environmental impact statement.

The Proposed Action is the result of thecollaborative efforts made over the last several years and serves as a startingpoint for the formal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, whichwill include the development of an environmental impact statement targeted forrelease next year.  The two forests began revising their Land and ResourceManagement Plans in 2003.  The planning area for the Colville andOkanogan-Wenatchee National Forest encompasses over five million acres incentral and northeast Washington State, with federal public lands in 9counties.  

For more information and updates pleasecheck out the project website: ForestPlan Revision or by contacting the Plan Revision Team at 509-826-3275