Recreation Community Bands Together to Support Nat'l Forest Planning

A coalition of national and regional outdoor groups, including Outdoor Alliance, recently commented on the Obama Administration’s efforts to create a new U.S Forest Service planning rule.

Washington, D.C. -- A coalition of national and regional outdoor groups, including Outdoor Alliance, Outdoor Industry Association, Appalachian Mountain Club, the Mountaineers and the Colorado Mountain Club, recently commented on the Obama Administration's efforts to create a new U.S Forest Service planning rule. The groups provided critical insight and commentary regarding the best way to improve the forest planning process, including how sustainable recreation considerations should guide and inform forest planning.

As organizations that directly participate in forest planning efforts across the country, and that witness first-hand the implementation of these plans, the coalition commended the Forest Service for its vision in meeting future land management issues head on. In supporting a new forest planning rule the group also encouraged an open public process, an “all lands” approach considering the relationship between NFS lands and neighboring lands and planning methods based on the latest available science.

“We're pretty stoked with the way the recreational community has come together to promote a shared vision for the future of our public lands and waters,” comments Adam Cramer of the Outdoor Alliance. “Forest Plans serve as the blueprints for how forests are run at the 30,000 foot level, so a new regulation that governs how forest plans are created will impact all of the world-class human-powered recreational resources in our national forests.”

Bryan Martin of The Colorado Mountain Club adds, “ A key element in this initial planning phase is the inclusion of recreation on public lands. There is real economic benefit to including cyclists, hikers, paddlers, backcountry skiers and climbers in terms of what they bring from a recreational standpoint. We encourage the Forest Service to recognize this value as they modernize their Forest Plans.”

The scope of the proposed land management planning outlines five guiding principles:
restoration and conservation of lands to enhance ecosystem resilience; addressing climate change through monitoring, mitigation and adaptation; maintenance and restoration of watershed health; providing diversity of species and habitat; and fostering sustainable lands and their contribution to rural economies.

The coalition made a compelling case to add a sixth planning principle that focuses on recreation. The outdoor community sees recreation as a central element to any forest planning process and hopes to work with Forest Service planners to develop a rule that appropriately balances and integrates the need for protection of watersheds and wildlife habitat with the highly valued recreational opportunities our forests provide.

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