Public input sought on Changes to Outfitter-Guide ProgramTonto National Forest officials solicit input

Release Date: Mar 26, 2012  

Tonto National Forest officials solicit input

Phoenix (March 26, 2012) – Tonto National Forest officials are seeking public input on a proposal that would make changes to the outfitter-guide program.  The scoping period begins March 26, and comments must be received by close of business Thursday, April 19, 2012.   

Currently, there are separate service day allocation pools for priority and temporary use. A service day is any day, or part of a day, that an outfitter-guide client participates in a recreation activity such as hiking, hunting, or OHV riding on the national forest. When an outfitter-guide is issued a priority (up to 10 year) or temporary (6 months or less) permit, the company receives a service day allocation based on the activity it provides and the Forest Plan Management Area it operates in.

Under the proposal, the priority and temporary service day allocation pools would be combined into a Total Service Day allocation pool.The Total Service Day allocation pool would not exceed what is currently authorized in the Forest Plan for priority and temporary use.

Forest Service permit administrators would use this Total Service Day pool to allocate use to existing and future priority permit holders, as well as to temporary outfitter-guide use that varies from year-to-year.  Under this proposal, permit administrators would also issue priority permits to long-term temporary permit holders who have demonstrated acceptable performance in accordance with outfitter-guide administration guidance.

“We would like to hear comments, concerns, ideas, or issues that people may have on this proposal,” said Sharon Wallace, Public Service Staff Officer.   “The forest is in the public scoping phase of the project, which continues through April 19.  Public input will be considered during the Environmental Analysis (EA) phase and will help to shape the alternatives to the proposed action.”

The outfitter-guide proposal can be found on the forest website as well as the scoping letter describing the proposed action and purpose and need for the project the Tonto National Forest website at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/tonto/landmanagement/projects.

Public comments about the proposal can be submitted by fax, mail, email, or hand-delivered (by close of business) no later than Thursday, April 19, 2012.

Attn: Outfitter-guide project leader
Tonto National Forest
2324 E McDowell Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85006
Fax:  (602) 225-5295 (ATTN: Outfitter-guide Project Leader)
E-mail to:  comments-southwestern-tonto@fs.fed.us. Subject line should read:  “Outfitter Guide Project.” 

All public comments must include a full name and a physical mailing address; all names and addresses become part of the public record. A scanned signature may serve as verification on electronic comments.

If you have any questions concerning the Outfitter-Guide Forest Plan Amendment, please contact Greg Schuster at (602)225-5362, or gschuster@fs.fed.us.