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.
As a part of developing a draft plan, the forest has started its Wilderness Recommendation Process as required under the 2012 planning rule. The purpose of this process is to determine which (if any) forest lands would be appropriate to recommend 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 currently in the second step. Five public meetings describing the evaluation step and seeking public comment on evaluation process were held in April 2016. A draft Wilderness Evaluation is now available for public comment.
The Carson NF Wilderness Inventory was completed in March 2016. To review the inventory process, please see the video that explains the inventory step and how it fits into the wilderness process. 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. The final inventory map may be:
The second step of the Wilderness Recommendation Process is to evaluate the inventoried lands for wilderness character. Please see the following video for a detailed explanation of the Evaluation step and how the Carson National Forest is completing that step. The associated handout provides a list of the five wilderness characteristics along with some considerations that apply to each characteristic.
We are currently seeking feedback on the draft evaluation of inventoried areas. Were the five wilderness characteristics applied correctly? Do you know of contradictory or additional information that would change or support the conclusion for a particular area? Do you agree with the determination made for each of the evaluated areas?
The draft evaluation map and supporting documentation may be viewed as an interactive map on the Carson Wilderness Process page.
Documentation for individual evaluation areas may also be viewed here.
Evaluation Phase 1
Canjilon and El Rito Ranger District
Questa Ranger District
Tres Piedras Ranger District
Camino Real Ranger District
The draft evaluation map may also be downloaded:
How to comment:
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