The assessment phase of the forest plan revision was intended to provide a rapid evaluation of current conditions and trends on the forest, including the social, economic, and ecological resources of the Manti-La Sal National Forest.
In late July 2016, the USFS published its notice of intent in the Federal Register. Between July of 2016 and June of 2017, the agency held 23 public open houses and workshops with a total of 524 participants in communities near the forest to share information about the plan revision process, to build relationships with stakeholders, and gather information to inform the assessment. Information gathered during these public meetings was used to support the development of the draft assessment report, according to a press release provided by the USFS.
The draft report, released last June 22, provided a summary of the assessment phase findings. A 30-day public comment period was held from June 22 to July 22, 2017 following the release of the report. During that time 60 comment letters were submitted from a variety of individuals and public, private and governmental organizations. The comment letters were reviewed for suggested edits and changes to the draft report. Comments that did not directly address the assessment were summarized in the report and will be considered during the development of the revised forest plan.
The draft assessment report summary is now available online and includes an overview of the comments received, concerns raised, and responses provided by the USFS. “When you visit the Manti-La Sal National Forest Plan revision website you will notice changes to the layout and content,” read the news release. “We welcome feedback and suggestions on how to continue to improve the website for ease of navigation and understanding the planning process. Send ideas to email@example.com
In the coming months, the agency will continue to develop the Plan Development and Monitoring pages, including providing definitions and examples of plan components.
Officials with the Manti-La Sal National Forest will be hosting a series of public meetings in Fall of 2018. Meeting topics will include: sharing an initial set of draft desired conditions and objectives, updates on the current stage of the wilderness evaluation process, timber suitability, range capability and suitability and priority watersheds.