Forest Plan Revisions
Comment period has ended. Thank you for submitting comments.
U.S. Forest Service has released the first drafts of the Revised Forest Plan
for the Idaho Panhandle National Forest and Kootenai National Forest. The
National Forest Management Act, landmark legislation passed by Congress in the
1970s, requires the Forest Service to prepare management plans for each
national forest and update them every 15 years or so.
CLICK HERE to read the draft revised Forest Plans at the Forest Service
Lands Council's Forest Watch program has watchdogged implementation of the
original Forest Plans since their inception in 1987, and our efforts have helped achieve critical protections for roadless areas, old-growth forests, and
remain a total of 1,489,029 acres of unprotected inventoried roadless lands on
these two national forests, yet the draft Revised Forest Plans recommend only
252,100 acres-less than 17% of the Inventoried Roadless Area acreage-for
protection as Wilderness.
draft plans also propose to significantly weaken protections for old growth,
opening the door to potentially destructive timber sales in the little remaining
old growth and other pristine mature forest habitat.
old-growth forests provide an essential means for moderating the effects of
climate change, since they are extremely valuable for sequestering carbon that
could otherwise be released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide following
logging and removal from the forest. Scientists say that deforestation and
forest degradation are the second largest source of human-caused greenhouse gas
CLICK HERE to read a short synopsis from our review of the draft revised forest plans (RFPs).
Please send your comments to the Forest Supervisors, urging them to increase protections for roadless areas, old growth and wildlife on both the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests!
for comments has been extended to May 7, 2012
Send your comments to:
Idaho Panhandle National Forest
3815 Schreiber Way
Coeur d'Alene ID 83815
Kootenai National Forest
31374 Highway 2 West
Libby, MT 59923
Dear Supervisors Bradford and Farnsworth:
I offer the following comments on the drafts of the revision
of the Forest Plan for the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests. I am
writing one letter because the issues I raise are presented with identical
language in both draft revised Forest Plans.
First, I note that of the 1,489,029 acres of inventoried
roadless lands found on these national forests, the draft Forest Plans only
recommend 252,100 acres-less that 17% of all the roadless acres--for protection
as Wilderness. Undeveloped wildlands are valuable habitats for wildlife,
including places for rare and endangered species such as grizzly bears, woodland
caribou, wolverines, and lynx. They also provide sources for clean air and
water, scenic beauty, and quiet recreation unlike developed areas on national
forests and land of other ownerships. I request that the new forest plans
recommend all of the roadless areas be recommended for Wilderness protection.
I am also concerned because the draft Forest Plans fail to
provide adequate standards for protection of old-growth forests. The draft
standards would allow logging in most of the remaining old growth, degrading or
destroying habitat components very much needed for dozens of species of
The new Forest Plans must include Standards that prohibit
all logging in all old growth, with extremely limited exceptions for cases
where the scientific opinion is unequivocal that light one-time treatments
would improve habitat for both the short- and long-term.
The new Forest Plans must also include minimum Standards
that require at least 30% of the Forests be managed for old growth,
well-distributed across the landscape, in accord with your own scientific
information. This could easily be integrated into the designation of areas for
recruitment of future old growth, where past logging and natural disturbances
have reduced the current amounts below the historic norm, and to factor in that
present old growth will eventually be lost over time due to successional forces
such as fire, insects, windstorms, and other natural events.
The new Forest Plans must also include strong direction to
maintain an inventory of old growth, so the public will know how much old
growth remains, and where it is found.
The new Forest Plans must also contain standards prohibiting
road construction and firewood gathering in old-growth.
It is also extremely important that the final revised Forest
Plans require continuous monitoring of the population trends of old-growth
associated wildlife. Please select management indicator species whose special
habitat needs are best found in old growth, such as the pileated woodpecker,
woodland caribou, Canada lynx, northern goshawk, flammulated owl, and fisher,
because their population changes can indicate the effects of management
activities on other wildlife as well as entire biological communities.
we remind you that old-growth forests provide an essential means to mitigate
the effects of climate change, since they are extremely valuable for the
sequestration of carbon. Scientists say that deforestation and forest
degradation are the second largest source of human-caused greenhouse gas
emissions. We all have the responsibility to live more sustainably so future
generations have the same opportunity to enjoy our natural world.
you for considering my comments.
(Your name, address, telephone)
For more information contact Jeff Juel, Forest Policy Director, or call 509.209.2401