Carson National Forest Plan Revision
Plan Revision Process
Welcome to the Carson’s Forest Plan revision page. The Carson is currently in the process of revising its existing forest plan under the 2012 planning rule. Under the 2012 rule, plan revision takes approximately 4 years and involves three distinct phases: 1) assessment of the current conditions and trends of forest resources and multiple uses, 2) development of a revised plan, and 3) monitoring and implementation of the final approved plan.
The Assessment is now complete
The Carson NF has completed its Assessment Report. The assessment describes the current ecological, social, and economic conditions and trends of forest resources per the USDA Forest Service 2012 Planning Rule. These are the resource areas (vegetation, water, soil, air, riparian areas, etc.) and benefits we provide which are at risk of not being sustainable now and into the future. With the Assessment, the Carson NF has also completed the Needs to Change Management Direction of its Existing 1986 Forest Plan. This document identifies current plan management direction which needs to change in order to address the risks as identified through public involvement and the assessment process.
Forest Plan Revision Including the Wilderness Process
The Carson NF is entering phase 2 of the plan revision process, development of a revised plan. The Carson NF has published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to revise the Carson National Forest Land Management Plan and prepare an associated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The NOI describes the Proposed Action to revise the forest plan in order to address the Needs to Change. The full text of the NOI is available on the Federal Register. Currently, the forest is developing plan components such as desired conditions, standards and guidelines for the draft forest plan. These will be made available for public comment at various stages as they are being developed.
In addition to identifying forest plan components, the forest has also started its Wilderness Recommendation Process as required under the 2012 planning rule. The purpose of this process is to determine what forest lands may be potentially eligible for designation as Wilderness. After analysis in the forest plan EIS, these lands may, or may not, be recommended to Congress for Wilderness designation at a later date. The Wilderness process is made up of four steps as depicted in the image on the right.
The Carson NF is in step two of the Wilderness process: Evaluation. Five public meetings describing the evaluation step and seeking public comment on evaluation process were held in April 2016.
Abiquiu Rural Events Center
US Highway 84, State Road 554
Wednesday, April 6, 2016 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Taos - Coronado Hall
120 Civic Plaza Dr.
Friday, April 8, 2016 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Amalia Senior Center
191 Vallejos Road, Amalia, NM
Monday, April 11, 2016 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Manassa Opera House
4th Street west of the Mormon Church, Manassa, CO
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Penasco Community Center
14136 State Road 75, Penasco, NM
Friday, April 15, 2016 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM
To recap the inventory process, please see the video that explains the wilderness process and introduces the beginning of the inventory step for the Carson National Forest. There is also an associated handout describing the inventory criteria in more detail.
The comment period for the inventory criteria and inventory map closed on February 23, 2016. Based on public input on both the inventory criteria and draft map, a final inventory is now available. It may be:
The completed inventory now provides the lands to evaluate for wilderness character. This begins step two of the Wilderness Recommendation Process: Evaluation. Please see the following video for a detailed explanation of the Evaluation step and how the Carson National Forest will be applying that step. The associated handout provides a list of the five wilderness characteristics along with some considerations to help apply each characteristic.
Before starting the Evaluation step, we would like to ask your assistance in helping us define the considerations that may apply to the five wilderness characteristics. The five characteristics used to determine if an area has wilderness character are taken from the Wilderness Preservation Act of 1964 and are defined in the requirements. In the handout above, we listed some considerations that one may think about when applying the five wilderness characteristics to determine if an area has wilderness character. What do you think of the considerations for each characteristic? Are there others you would like us to add?
If you can’t make one of the meeting dates above, we would still like to hear from you. Comments can be submitted to:
Carson National Forest
208 Cruz Alta
Taos, NM 87571
Be sure to stay tuned for the draft evaluation map that will be posted after the five wilderness characteristics are applied. Once the draft is posted, there will be a 30 day opportunity to make specific comments and suggestions related to the evaluation and the draft evaluation map.
Anticipated Plan Development Schedule
Through a collaborative public engagement process, the Carson NF expects to develop a draft revised plan and draft EIS by late Fall/Winter 2016 and expects to release a final approved plan and final EIS by Spring 2018. The Anticipated Timeline for Plan Development identifies some anticipated milestones and key public engagement opportunities during the process:
- Feb 27, 2014 – Notice of initiating the assessment phase of the forest plan revision published in Federal Register
- October 07. 2015 – Notice of intent to revise the Carson National Forest Land Management Plan and to prepare Environmental Impact Statement published in Federal Register
- Late Fall/Early Winter 2016 – Notice of Availability of draft proposed plan and draft EIS for public comment
- Summer/Fall 2017 – Notice of objection period upon release of the preferred alternative, final EIS, and draft Record of Decision
- Winter/Spring 2018 – Notice of plan approval and final EIS