National Forum occurred to discuss proposed planning rule and ask questions

UPDATE: The national forum occurred as planned on March 10th, 2011.  If you would like to view the slides presented that day, please go here:

LINK: http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/planningrule/collab/nationalroundtables/presentations

This link will take you to a webpage where you can choose a single download of the full presentation (6 MB) or any of the 6 smaller excerpts.  Each excerpt is distinctly labeled.  To avoid issues with anyone taking an excerpt out of the context of the complete presentation, the 1st slide of each excerpt indicates which of the original 144 slides is contained and provides a hyperlink to the planning rule website national and regional forums page.  This should help anyone with an excerpt to find the complete presentation and any of the other excerpts.

Original Post:

Reminder: A national forum to discuss the proposed planning rule will occur March 10, 2011, in Washington, DC, and will be available by live streaming video on the internet.

To register or for more information, go here:  http://planningrule.eventbrite.com

If you plan to attend the event or to view it by live streaming video, we welcome suggestions for questions you’d like discussed.  We’d like this blog to serve as a place to raise those and to discuss any that are raised.

Please remember the two main purposes for this forum:

1. Provide stakeholders an in-depth understanding of the Proposed Rule.

2. Continue to build a foundation for collaboration when the final Rule is implemented.

Any questions you have about either would be great to hear.  Those raised by Friday, March 4, will have the most likelihood of being addressed during the forum.

Thanks!

Comments
7 Responses to “National Forum occurred to discuss proposed planning rule and ask questions”
  1. Les says:

    Question for FS:
    Does the date for public notice of availablity of a proposed plan coincide with notice for beginning of the 30-day objection period described in subpart B?

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  2. Kerry White says:

    The new Planning Rule Draft is truly a joke. The FS preaches local decisions to benefit the resource but ignores local opportunity for implementation options. In other words a national policy that ignores site specific conditions.

    The FS preaches increased access but the rule further promotes a reduction of access opportunities. In other words even though 97 percent of the population recreate on multiple use lands with motorized and mechanized roads and trails the FS proposes to continue to reduce road and trail densities. pg. vii “The trend toward a reduced road system is expected to continue.”

    The FS preaches science based decisions but the rule clearly states on page 17, “managers realize that knowledge of ecological systems is incomplete.” In other words the FS is using the land under their management as a giant science project. How have they done so far? Terrible and this will not change.

    The FS preaches a new rule is nessesary and they are spending millions on the process yet when I contacted the Region 1 office they told me they were only holding 2 meetings in Montana and public comment would not be taken at these 2 meetings. A typical “dog and pony” show to sell the public a flawed product.

    The FS preaches they must follow the law but in reality they only follow the laws they agree with because the new planning rule draft on page 44-45 states, “The current option to use either a post-decisional administrative appeal process or pre-decisional objection would be replaced with a pre-decisional objection process as the sole means to administratively challenge a decision.” In other words after the decision is made there is no appeal process available and in addition the Planning Rule draft also states on page 44 that ” The forest or grasslands supervisor would be the responsible official”, which in other words means the appeal to a supervisor’s decision would be directed to Washington D.C. for review. What could be better than having Washington D.C. review a decision they know nothing about.

    The fight over more wilderness continues and the very existence of some environmental groups hang in the balanced, with their never ending appetite to lock 97 percent of the public out of the forest and their push for more Washington control of land use, these groups are destroying the very communities they claim they are protecting. Visit http://www.balanceduse.org for a true picture of what is happening.

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  3. Jim Fenwood says:

    Time for a Bold Statement? (Cross-posted from “A New Century of Forest Planning” http://ncfp.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/time-for-a-bold-statement/)

    It’s starting to look like “A New Century of Forest Planning” may ultimately come to refer to the hundred years or so it takes to get a new planning rule implemented. Will the “Hundred Years War” come to signify the length of the timber wars?

    Way back in the 1900’s, Chief Dale Robertson was convinced that a bold policy statement was necessary to address the big concern of the day– clearcutting of national forests. In a policy letter (not the best way to make policy, but a lot quicker than rule-making), Dale established that clearcuttting would no longer be the primary means of regeneration on national forest lands. There were howls of protest from silviculturists and tree-improvement specialists. There were exceptions for species like Jack Pine and Sand Pine. There certainly was no end to the timber wars, but it was a start down a path towards armistice.

    Getting a new planning rule implemented will take more than just agreement about the wording of the rule. It’s going to require an environment that will insure the intent of that wording can be carried out. Perhaps now is an appropriate time for the current Chief to make some bold statements.

    My suggestions are:

    1. Declare that restoration of ecosystem resiliency is not just an important part of the mission; it’s the most important part.
    Management actions would be all about producing desired ecological conditions in order to restore and maintain resilient ecosystems and help protect human communities from undesirable things like intense wildfires in the wrong places or downstream impacts from deteriorating road systems. There would be no need to calculate ASQ or argue about “lands unsuitable for timber production”. (There may still be a need to “zone” for other uses.) “Below-cost” timber sales would no longer be a meaningful calculation. And, if the South is any indication, a lot more timber would become available for local mills.

    2. Declare that planning at all levels is a truly open and collaborative process.
    All phases of planning would be “open source” with draft documents and supporting information easily accessible on-line. Raw data from inventories and monitoring as well as interpreted data, maps, and models would be open to all. I can’t think of any other policy change that would do more to improve the level of trust among stakeholders. A side benefit would be a tremendous savings in responding to FOIA requests.

    3. Declare that the Forest Service will commit to a process of establishing a shared vision for the entire agency.

    With the National Forest System, Research, and State and Private Forestry all working towards shared goals, using an “all lands” approach, imagine what might be accomplished at landscape scales? This is the sort of partnership between managers and scientists that will be needed to truly ensure that “best science” is incorporated into decisions at all levels.

    Are these declarations really all that bold? Not really, The Forest Service has been moving in these directions since before Dale Robertson penned his letter. A clear commitment to these principles might be what’s needed to finally move the National Forest System into the New Century.

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  4. Bruce Ward says:

    I appreciate the efforts to integrate the interests of the recreation community in this new rule; In the words of Arthur Carhart, as quoted in the recently released USDA Forest Service “Framework for Sustainable recreation”:

    Perhaps the rebuilding of the body and spirit is the greatest service derivable from our forests, for what worth are material things if we lose the character and quality of people that are the soul of America.”

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  5. Tom Taylor says:

    If there are 1000 comments on one issues in a forest management plan and 950 come from a well-organized special interest, do they carry more weight than the other 50 from less well-funded and organized interest groups? How will you weigh the importance of comments?

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  6. Andy Stahl says:

    The Forest Service appears to be jumping the gun. At this stage, with release of the draft EIS on the proposed rule, the Forest Service should be inviting comment on the rule’s environmental effects and alternatives to its rule proposal. Yet neither topic is among the Forest Service’s stated purpose for this week’s forum. Instead, the Forest Service wants only to explain its own proposal and get buy-in for its implementation.

    Now is not the time for the Forest Service to be preaching. It is time for the Forest Service to be listening.

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  7. Fotoware says:

    I’m guessing that the insect damage and wildfire salvage issues, although intimately woven into the “climate change” issues, will not be addressed by this new Rule. It’s simply too contentious for the Forest Service to even TRY! With 22 million acres of dead forests (and rising!), and with the mainstream media ignoring all other forest impacts, EXCEPT for “climate change”, the public isn’t being allowed to see ALL of the science behind the massive forest mortality. Now that the dead forests are here, it appears that the Forest Service is just fine with letting whatever happens in this slow-motion mega-disaster, happen. However, the worst is yet to come.

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