NATIONAL FORESTS — Ten years in the making, a draft forest plan and environmental impact statement were released today by the Idaho Panhandle National Forests for 90 days of public comment.
Forest officials say the proposed plan covering a wide range of issues from fire management to roadless areas was shaped by science, collaboration, laws and input gathered at 30 public meeting and more than 140 public community-based work groups.
Open house meetings to review the plan and learn how to submit comments are scheduled 5 p.m.-7 p.m. as follows:
- Coeur d’Alene, Jan. 10, Fernan Office
- St. Maries, Jan. 11, St. Maries Ranger District Office
- Smelterville, Jan. 12, Silver Valley Office
- Bonners Ferry, Jan. 17, Bonners Ferry Ranger District Office
- Priest Lake, Jan. 19, Priest Lake Ranger District Office
- Sandpoint, Jan. 23, Sandpoint Ranger District Office
The draft plan attempts to address multiple-use demands on the St. Joe, Coeur d'Alene and Kaniksu national forests.
According to Panhandle forests officials, it sets the foundation to address the ecological and social needs of forest stakeholders, while protecting water and restoring forests that began a century ago with the Weeks Act.
The Draft Plan helps address supplying clean water, restoring and maintaining ecosystems, improving the resistance and resiliency of the forest vegetation to undesirable disturbances and potential climate change effects, providing financially and ecologically sustainable access to the forest, offering a diversity of recreation opportunities including remote settings and utilizing best available science.