Forest plan gets public review in Carbondale today |

Forest plan gets public review in Carbondale today

The Sopris Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service will host a Carbondale open house tonight on the revised forest plan for the White River National Forest.

The open house, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Days Inn in Carbondale, will be an informal opportunity for the public to learn about the revised plan, and also a chance to comment on any aspect of the plan.

Chandra Scifres, visitor information specialist at the Sopris Ranger District office, said an informational video will be shown. After the video, people who attend will have an opportunity to ask questions of Forest Service officials, and to learn more about how to find specific information within the many documents that make up the plan.

The open house will be staffed by most of the Sopris Ranger District specialists, Scifres said. District Ranger Kevin Riordan, range technician Wayne Ives, wilderness technician Dan Matthews and recreation technician Mike Kenealy, along with White River National Forest head planner Dan Hormaechea, will be in attendance, she said.

Maps showing various forest uses will be displayed. Citizens who attend can make use of comment cards that will be supplied to give written feedback on the plan.

Comments on the plan must be in written form, so they can be kept on file and analyzed by Forest Service staff members. They should be in the citizens’ own words. Calling for written comments only is standard under the National Environmental Protection Act, which governs the process of revising the forest plan.

The draft of the revised forest plan was released in late June, its hard-copy version weighing in at about 15 pounds. In accordance with the National Environmental Protection Act, it contains several alternatives, with a preferred alternative selected by the agency in charge, the U.S. Forest Service.

A preferred alternative was chosen from among six final alternatives (and a couple more that didn’t make the cut) by Forest Service groups called the Leadership Team and the Interdisciplinary Team. The Leadership Team includes the forest supervisor, district rangers from the White River Forest’s seven districts, the planning director and the public affairs director. The Interdisciplinary Team is made up of specialists in different disciplines, such as biology and recreation.

The preferred alternative, Alternative D of the draft revised plan, is subject to change based upon analysis of public comments. It’s possible that elements of other alternatives could be substituted for parts of Alternative D.

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