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Forum on Forest Draft Plan Tuesday

| January 19, 2012 2:25 PM

The first of four public forums for comment on the U.S. Forest Service’s Draft Forest Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Kootenai National Forest is 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Ponderosa Room located in Libby City Hall.

Subsequent forum sites include Thursday, Jan. 26, at Eureka High School, Jan. 31 at Troy Senior Center and Feb. 2 in Trout Creek at the Lakeside Motel Conference Room.

Times for all forums are 4 to 7 p.m.

“This draft plan is a key step in moving forward for management of the Kootenai National Forest,” said KNF Supervisor Paul Bradford.

“Many years of hard work and collaboration have resulted in a draft plan that addresses the multiple demands our forest faces.”

The collaborative development of the draft plan spanned more than 10 years and was shaped by the best available science, current laws and public input gathered at 30 public meeting and more than 140 public community-based work groups.

These meetings identified the core values of local communities and highlighted the many points of agreement that exist among diverse participants.

The Forest Service is scheduling public open houses at local offices in January where Kootenai National Forest staff will be available to provide information on the forest plan revision process and how to submit comments on the draft documents.

The national forest faces many challenges including increasing demands for multiple uses on the Kootenai National Forest and development of surrounding lands. The Draft Plan lays the foundation to address the ecological and social needs of forest stakeholders, while continuing the legacy of protecting water and restoring forests that began a century ago with the Weeks Act.

Management direction in the Draft Plan addresses needs to: supply clean water; restore and maintain ecosystems; improve the resistance and resiliency of the forest vegetation to wildfire, undesirable disturbances and potential climate change effects; provide financially and ecologically sustainable access to the forest; offer a diversity of recreation opportunities including remote settings; and utilize best available science.

The documents released today are available for download and review online at www.fs.fed.us/kipz.

These documents are also available for viewing at all of the Ranger District Offices and the Supervisor’s Office. Compact discs or hard copies of these documents may be requested by phone (406) 293-6211 or email (r1_kipz_revision@fs.fed.us).

Written or electronic comments will be accepted for 90 days and should be submitted to: Kootenai National Forest, Forest Plan Revision, 31374 Hwy 2, Libby, Mont., 59923 or KNFplanrevision@fs.fed.us.