Forest Plan Revision - Chugach is named "Early Adopter"

Chugach Selected As “Early Adopter” of New Planning Rule. Forest Plan Revision to Begin in Late 2012

The Chugach National Forest was recently selected as one of eight national forests across the country to revise its forest plan under a new planning rule for the National Forest System. The rule, finalized by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on March 23rd provides a framework that allows the Forest Service to meet current and future needs, taking into account science, land management, and the all-lands context for managing resources.

The Chugach was selected as an “early adopter” of the new rule due to its solid collaborative capacity, established trust and past success with stakeholders, strong regional and unit level leadership, and because our current plan is due for revision by 2017 - the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Chugach National Forest’s Revised Land and Resource Management Plan was signed on May 31, 2002. The plan, developed under the 1982 planning rule, was the result of years of analysis and extensive public input from individual members of the public, communities, agency partners, Alaska Native Tribes and Corporations.

The forest’s public engagement efforts for the 2002 plan were recognized by the General Accounting Office as going well beyond the requirements for public participation. The forest instituted a collaborative learning process to work with the public to develop all aspects of the plan. This included more than 100 public meetings; a quarterly newsletter; Internet engagement before it was commonplace; and public participation in development of alternatives. Since 2002, the Chugach has completed two amendments - the Kenai Winter Access Amendment, and an amendment that added three monitoring questions to the Forest’s Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy.

The Forest intends to build on this tradition of engagement and collaboration. In the immediate future:

  • The Forest is completing a review of its 2002 plan, which will result in an assessment of a need for change that will be released to the public and serve as the foundation for the first phase of plan revision, the assessment.
  • The Chugach has initiated two collaborative projects with the University of Alaska Anchorage that will inform forest plan revision:
    • An early public sensing project in cooperation with the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). The Forest will engage the public and neighboring landowners starting in April 2012 to gather input on the “distinctive roles and contributions” of the Chugach within the broader landscape. See the public announcement for more information.
    • Building from last year’s Classroom for Climate Symposium in partnership with UAA, the Forest is collaborating with both UAA, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and neighboring public lands to develop scenarios describing potential future climate influencing lands in and around the Chugach.
  • A few examples of established forums that further highlight the Forest’s commitment to collaborate with important stakeholders and the public as it embarks on revision include:
    • Monthly engagement session with tribes through the Alaska Region’s Alaska Tribal Leaders Council (ATLC);
    • Established networks reaching diverse youth and families through the three-year old Chugach Children’s Forest Initiative in partnership with Alaska Geographic;
    • All-lands approach to sustainable recreation, fire and human-bear engagements.

Sara D. Boario

Public Affairs & Partnership Staff Officer
Chugach National Forest
3301 C Street, Suite 300
Anchorage, AK. 99503
twitter: @ChugachForestAK
t: 907-743-9444
f: 907-743-9476