Public meetings will be held over the next several weeks in communities around the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, including one in White Salmon, to gather public input on a forest roads analysis.
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest (GPNF) is working with Pinchot Partners and South Gifford Pinchot Collaborative groups on this effort.
The National Forest Service Travel Management Rule requires forests to identify sustainable forest road systems by 2015. In order to meet this requirement, the GPNF is completing a roads analysis responsive to ecological, economic and social concerns.
"As public land managers trusted with maintaining a road system on this forest, it is very important to gather information on public road use and access needs in order to move towards a more durable and sustainable road network," said Gifford Pinchot National Forest Supervisor, Janine Clayton.
To enhance public engagement, the Collaborative Groups are taking a facilitative role, helping the forest gather public input on road use, access and other road-related information.
Public input concerning access will be used to better describe existing conditions, which would then lead to identifying issues and key public concerns. The next step in the analysis will be to integrate access needs with environmental risks and expected budgets. The outcome of the roads analysis will identify opportunities for changes to the road system, and be carried forward to inform future decisions regarding management of the forest transportation system. There will be future opportunities for public input under NEPA.
The current series of public meetings are scheduled for the purpose of gathering information on access needs for completion of the roads analysis.
The White Salmon meeting will occur on Sept. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the White Salmon fire hall.
There will also be a meeting in Stevenson at the Rock Creek Center on Oct. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m.
A questionnaire is available through Dec. 31, 2012 as an alternative way to provide input to the GPNF roads analysis. The questionnaire can be found at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/giffordpinchot/landmanagement?cid=stelprdb5388890
Print, fill out and mail hard-copy questionnaires to c/o Ken Sandusky 10600 NE 51 Cir. Vancouver, Wash., 98682 by Dec. 31, 2012.