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 Evaluation 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 one of the Wilderness process: Inventory. Three public meetings describing the inventory step and seeking public comment on the preliminary inventory criteria were held in January. These meetings have now concluded, but if you could not make one of the meetings, or want to revisit the inventory process and provide comments, please see below. We ask that you submit your comments on or before February 23, 2016 so we can begin developing the evaluation criteria for the next step; evaluation.
Wilderness Process - We Want to Know What You Think
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.
Preliminary Inventory Criteria:
After reviewing the video and associated handout, please help us answer the following questions pertaining to the criteria:
- Is this the right list of criteria?
- Are there additional improvements that should be included?
- Should some of these improvements be removed from the list of criteria?
- Is there another way you would like to see us apply this list of criteria?
Please submit your input on the inventory criteria via e-mail to email@example.com or by U.S. mail to the Cason National Forest, Attn: Forest Plan Revision, 208 Cruz Alta Rd., Taos, NM, 87571.
Draft Inventory Map
A preliminary inventory map has been created based on the criteria developed from public input and review. To review and comment on the preliminary inventory map, please visit the Carson Wilderness Process webpage.
We are particularly interested in comments that answer:
Based on your responses to the criteria, are there any changes you would like to see made to the preliminary inventory map and why?
We would like to have your comments and input on the criteria and draft inventory map on or by Feb 23, 2016 so that we may finalize the inventory step. After the inventory is finalized, we will begin creating the evaluation criteria for the next step in the process.
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