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What ‘needs to change’ on Inyo Nat’l. Forest?

June 18, 2014

Residents and visitors are invited to weigh in on the future of the Inyo National Forest as the Forest Service wades deeper into Forest Plan revisions this week.
A public workshop will be held from 5-8 p.m. today at Cerro Coso Community College in Bishop to discuss the Inyo’s “Need to Change” document and share their thoughts on what the Forest should look like.
The Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo are three of eight national forests that have been selected as “early adopters” for Forest Plan revisions. That means they will be the first to revise their land management plans using the new National Forest System Planning Rule, completed in 2012. The planning rule provides the framework for U.S. Forest Service land management plans across the nation.
The Forest Service released the final forest assessments for the Inyo, along with the Bio-regional Assessment and the preliminary Need to Change document, last year.
Today, the Forest Service will be offering the Need to Change documents for review and comment. All comments are due by June 30.
The Need to Change is based on input from Forest users, and outlines areas of the Forest Plan that should be updated or amended to better serve those who recreate on and use the Forest and to keep the Inyo healthy.
“Identifying the need to change gives focus to the planning process,” the introduction to the document states. “It clearly articulates which existing plan components need to be revised, and what new plan components need to be developed.”
The first need identified in the document is an improvement in planning and communication.
Specifically, the document directs the Forest Service to: “Develop plan components to help guide project-level planning in considering underrepresented populations, and explore more effective methods for public outreach.”
It also calls for prioritized partnerships with local tribes.
The Need to Change also directs Forest Service staff to create Forest Plan components that will provide management for “resilient ecosystems to withstand fire, severe drought, ozone and nitrogen emissions and climate change.”
Specific to the East Side of the Sierra, the Need to Change calls for greater coordination with local tribes on pine nut gathering sites and “other areas of importance” to Native peoples.
The Need to Change also suggests a need for restoration strategies for areas that have been impacted by “concentrated recreational use that are not addressed in Wilderness Management Plans.”
Anyone who is interested may download the Need to Change at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/r5/landmanagement/planning, or attend the meeting this evening to discuss specific elements of the document with Forest Service staff.
“The public and our partners asked for more time to understand and engage with us on the Need to Change and we listened,” said Regional Forester Randy Moore. “We are committed to ensuring that the public remains engaged as we move forward with revising these three forest plans.”
The workshop will include a presentation by Forest Service staff and residents will have an opportunity to visit topic-specific stations and to talk with Forest Service staff.
The public is also invited to bring an 8.5- by 11-inch copy of a photo depicting Forest Service lands they have strong feelings about. This photo may be recent or historic. Photos will be shared at the “Desired Conditions” station and the public should be able to answer the following questions regarding their photos:
• Where was the photo taken?
• When was the photo taken?
• What do you like about this place?
• Does this picture need to change? If so, how and when should this happen?

For Inyo National Forest specific information, please contact Public Affairs Officer Deb Schweizer at (760) 873-2427 or debraaschweizer@fs.fed.us

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