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Salmon-Challis National Forest representatives Forest Collaboration Specialist Gina Knudson, and Forest Revision Plan Team Leader Josh Milligan met with the Lemhi County Commissioner’s Chairman Ken Miner, Commissioner Rick Snyder and Commissioner Brett Barsalou Monday, July 24, to present a draft Memorandum of Understanding for the board to consider.

This is the first year of a scheduled four year process to revise the current Land and Resource Management Plan- -Forest Plan--which now governs all forest policies. The plan in effect has reached its 30th birthday. Lemhi County has requested and agreed to be a cooperating agency in the plan’s development and revision. The county’s position is that it doesn’t intend to attempt to micro manage the process however; it does want frequent updates as to directions the process is taking. The first year is intended for general scoping and no actual decisions will be made. The 15 topics to be addressed include socio-economic, multiple use of the forest lands, effects on area infrastructure as well as parallel evaluations of wilderness inventories and species of conservation concerns.

So far, several meetings have been held to receive input on what forest policies the public feels should be changed for present needs and to accommodate what might be needed 15 years from now, which is how long the plan will be in place. Milligan said meeting attendance has been good and feedback is aimed in the right direction.

Knudson said she is very pleased with the public response and participation and that the team is also conferring with members of the timber and firewood community to obtain their thoughts.

As for the Memorandum of Understanding being proposed Knudson said the agency’s goal is to keep things simple with room for the county to make any additions it feels are appropriate. Milligan said the document leaves room for specific issues or work plans as they arise.

Commissioner Snyder liked the approach which leaves room for changes as seen fit during the process. He said when it gets closer to developing a final document the concerns will be known and will be addressed at that stage of the process. Commissioner Barsalou also favored the present non-specific spectrum of the document.

Public participation has been identified as vital to the end result of the Revised Forest Plan process as far as being acceptable to the public’s needs and the agency’s directorates. All Forest Plan Revision meetings are publicized prior to the scheduled date.

An actual plan is expected to be proposed by next Summer with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to follow.

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