Forest service extends comment period for Northwest Forest Plan

By on Friday, January 19th, 2024 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

PORTLAND — (News release from the Forest Service) The USDA Forest Service is extending the comment period for its published Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement on the proposal to amend the 17 land management plans of the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP).

The comment period has been extended to Feb. 2, 2024, allowing additional time for the public to review and submit their feedback on this initiative.

“We have corrected the deadline for the comment period to ensure that the public has the full 45-day period to provide their valuable feedback on the Notice of Intent for the proposed amendment to the Northwest Forest Plan,” said Michele Miranda, senior engagement specialist with the Pacific Planning Service Group. “The extension also aligns with the comment period deadline for the old-growth forest conservation amendment proposal, in hopes of preventing any confusion and providing the public with a clear and coordinated timeline for their participation.”

The Notice of Intent identifies changed conditions that are driving the need to amend the plan with a focus on five key areas: wildfire resilience, climate change adaptation, tribal inclusion, sustainable communities, and conservation of old growth ecosystems and related biodiversity. The Forest Service is committed to preserving the elements of the plan that are working well while incorporating the latest science to help forests adapt to social, economic, cultural, and ecological changes.

The Forest Service has scheduled a series of informational winter webinars and a virtual open house to help provide a better understanding of the Northwest Forest Plan and the Notice of Intent. These events will offer an opportunity for individuals to learn more about the current amendment effort and how to submit their comments. (Editor’s note: this includes the Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, and Malheur National Forests.)

All webinars will provide the same presentation but offer a choice of different days and times to accommodate schedules. Interested participants can use the links below to register for the informational winter webinars and virtual open house.

January Informational Winter Webinars:

February Virtual Open House:

There will be limited time for questions and unofficial feedback. The virtual open house will offer more time for questions and feature a panel of agency staff working on the amendment. Feedback shared at these events will not be considered official comments for purposes of standing to file objections.

Because the Northwest Forest Plan is a landscape-scale plan covering 24 million acres, the amendment and webinars will not address things such recreation, hunting, grazing or permits or other forest-specific uses.

Formal comments must be submitted electronically via the comment page by February 2, 2024. While comment page submissions are strongly preferred, hard copy letters may be also be submitted to the following address: Regional Forester, Region 6, U.S. Forest Service
Attn: Northwest Forest Plan Comments
1220 SW 3rd Ave., Portland, OR, 97204