Forest Plan Revision

Welcome! The Forest Plan is an important document that guides all of our management actions.

It is time for us to revise our existing plan from 1986. We invite you to work with us to develop a vision for a new plan that promotes a healthy, diverse, and productive Gila National Forest. Our goal is to remain inclusive as we move through the collaborative planning process.

The Gila National Forest is in the early stages of plan revision under the 2012 Forest Planning Rule (36 CFR 219) that will describe the strategic direction for management of forest resources for at least the next 15 years.

Public Participation

Public input, feedback, and collaboration are some of the effective ways members of the public can participate in the forest plan revision process. In March 2015 the Gila held six Community Conversations to learn how people value the forest and to get your ideas about how to organize public outreach and involvement efforts.

After we received public input, we developed a Public Participation Strategy. This is a living document that is anticipated to evolve based on input and feedback from all parties throughout the process.

Assessment Phase activities

  • The official start of the Assessment Phase occurred in May 2015 with a Public Notice.
  • During the Assessment Phase, we will identify ecological, social and economic conditions and trends related to the Gila National Forest. The conditions and trends found in the assessment will help to identify the need for change in the current Forest Plan and aid in the development of the revised plan.
  • A round of community meetings was held in August 2015 to discuss the Assessment Phase in more detail and provide opportunities to share knowledge, plans, and data for the assessment.
  • The community meeting materials were posted to this website so people that could not attend the meetings could contribute by providing responses and suggestions to the same questions posed at the meetings.
  • All the input that was received at the meetings and via email and letters was transcribed and compiled into an Assessment Input report.
  • NEW!!! The Draft Assessment Report is now available!  This document identifies ecological, social and economic conditions, trends, and any risks to sustainability of the Gila National Forest resources.  Thanks to everyone that shared input, suggestions, data, plans, references, and other information sources for the Gila National Forest assessment.  It is a large document so one recommendation is to use the hyperlinks in the table of contents and/or the bookmarks to navigate around the report to find the chapters that you are most interested in.  There is a summary at the end of each chapter.
  • We highly encourage your feedback on the Draft Assessment Report and participation moving forward.  For example, did we overlook anything?  Please send any feedback or suggestions on the draft assessment report preferably electronically to gilaplan@fs.fed.us,  or mail to Gila National Forest, Attn.: Matt Schultz, 3005 E. Camino del Bosque, Silver City, NM 88061, or drop it off at one of the District Offices.  This feedback is most useful if submitted before November 15, 2016.

Next steps

  • A draft needs-for-change document will be released for feedback in October 2016.  A need-for-change paints a picture of the strategic changes in current management direction necessary to address issues identified by the assessment.
  • More community meetings will be held in late October to early November 2016 to discuss assessment key findings and collaborate to determine needs-for-change to the current plan.  A schedule of these events will be posted soon.  Your input will help the Gila NF to develop forest plan direction that will provide for a healthy, diverse, and productive Forest in addition to the many benefits and uses desired by local communities and visitors of today and future generations.

Members of the public may be involved throughout the planning process in a number of ways, including:

  • Participating in community meetings or collaborative work sessions. These sessions will be announced through press releases and will be posted on this web site.
  • Inviting one of the Gila’s Core Planning Team members to make a presentation and answer questions at your organization’s meeting.
  • Sharing your suggestions, comments and information by:

·         Sending an email to gilaplan@fs.fed.us

·         Sending mail to Gila National Forest Plan Revision, 3005 E. Camino del Bosque, Silver City, NM 88061-7863.

More detailed information will go out to the public and be posted on this website for future public meetings.

 

Plan Revision Process

Under the 2012 rule, plan revision is a multi-year effort 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) implementation and monitoring of the final approved plan.

The assessment formally began in May 2015.  In developing the assessment, we will identify and evaluate current ecological, economic, and social conditions and trends using the best available scientific information and local knowledge.

Development of a revised forest plan should begin shortly after the assessment phase is completed. This phase will include the collaborative development of a draft proposed plan, followed by the beginning of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. During the NEPA process we will ask for public input on the draft proposed plan, develop draft alternatives to the draft proposed plan, and develop a draft environmental impact statement (EIS). After a public comment period, development of a final plan and EIS will occur. This is then followed by an objection period. The last step is approval of the final forest plan and EIS.

The final phase is implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the revised plan. Monitoring is designed to provide feedback on whether the forest plan is meeting its objectives. Using this adaptive management approach we will continually improve the forest plan.

Important Note:  Names and physical and e-mail addresses submitted on this website, or in response to any request for comments, will be included in the record for forest plan revision and may be released to the public if requested under the Freedom of Information Act.