Planning

Forest Plan Revision

Help Plan the Flathead's Future

Middle Fork Flathead

The Flathead National Forest is currently revising its Forest Plan. This section provides information on the Forest planning process and how you can learn more and become involved. It will be updated and revised as new information becomes available.

Here you will find information and links to planning documents and reports, dates for meetings, press releases, maps, briefing papers and ways to comment or be involved in the process.

 

 

 

Background

Since the release of the current  Forest Land and Management Plan the Flathead's natural resources and the communities surrounding the Forest have changed and new information and technologies are now available to help us analyze and plan on how to best manage the Forest into the future. We face different opportunities and challenges now than we did then. The new forest plan will be developed using the 2012 forest planning rule which places greater emphasis on collaboration and public involvement than ever before. While we have good relationships with many of our partners, stakeholders , neighbors and visitors we need more information and input to move forward with this important planning effort.

Forest Plans provide strategic direction to guide management of forest resources and provide a framework for decision making on site-specific projects and activities. The new planning rule directs Forest Plans to be science-based and developed collaboratively with stakeholders interested in the management of national forests. The Flathead National Forest is committed to collaboration, improving transparency in the process, and strengthening the role of public involvement through dialogue on Forest plan issues. 

Forest Plan Revision Schedule

  • Assessment completed April 2014
  • Collaboration Fall 2013 to Spring 2014
  • Scoping February 2015
  • Draft Environmental Impact Statement December 2015
  • Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision December 2016

(updated 12/15/2014)

Assessment

The assessment evaluates existing information about relevant ecological, economic, and social conditions, trends, and sustainability and their relationship to the land management plan within the context of the broader landscape. (updated 4/16/2014)

Part 1 of the assessment includes chapter 1 (introduction, document structure, background, etc.) and these sections of chapter 2: soil, aquatic ecosystems, watersheds, ecosystem function: drivers and stressors, and terrestrial ecosystems—vegetation, wildlife, and plant species.

Part 2 of the assessment is the continuation of chapter 2: social, cultural and economic conditions; multiple use and ecosystem services; recreation settings, opportunities, access, and  scenic character; infrastructure; renewable and nonrenewable energy and mineral resources; cultural and historical resources and uses; land status, ownership, use and access patterns; special designated areas; and back matter (list of preparers, list of abbreviations, glossary, and literature cited).

The appendices are:

  • Appendix A – Vegetation Maps
  • Appendix B – Vegetation Historical Reference Conditions
  • Appendix C – Vegetation Potential Vegetation Types and Current Vegetation Conditions
  • Appendix D – Terrestrial Wildlife Species Review Process: Potential Species of Conservation Concern and Potential Species of Public Interest
  • Appendix E – Recreational Opportunity Spectrum Maps

Identification of Need to Change

The Flathead National Forest has identified the need to change the forest plan in accordance with the 2012 National Forest System land management planning rule adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The assessment, completed April 2014, evaluated existing information about relevant ecological, economic, and social conditions, trends, and sustainability and their relationship to the land management plan within the context of the broader landscape. The assessment informed the preliminary identification of need to change that will then be reflected in the revision of the forest plan. (updated 6/13/2014)

Wilderness Inventory and Evaluation

The 2012 planning rule requires Forest Service planning teams to identify and evaluate lands that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System and to determine whether to recommend any such lands for wilderness designation. There are four primary steps in the process: inventory, evaluation, analysis, and decision. We have completed the first step, the inventory, and have identified 25 areas that have potential to meet criteria for wilderness recommendation. We are now engaged in the 2nd step, the evaluation. We will evaluate the wilderness characteristics of each area identified in step 1. A webpage is available with additional information (link).

Collaboration, Communication and Conversations

The Meridian Institute was contracted by the Flathead National Forest to facilitate stakeholder collaboration. Additional information about the collaborative process and related resources can be found on the Meridian Institute FNF forest plan revision website. (updated 6/24/2014) 

The Flathead National Forest Stakeholder Collaboration Final Report is now available (click here). The Report, which was prepared by Meridian Institute, provides an overview of the process and Meridian’s recommendations for future stakeholder engagement /collaboration processes. (updated 10/21/2014)

Collaborative Mapping Websites

Collaborative mapping websites are used as an information source and a forum for public comments on forest plan revision topics.

Wilderness Inventory and Evaluation

This  mapping tool provides an online forum for public comments and input on the evaluation criteria measures for wilderness evaluation, as well as to the measures specific to each area identified in the wilderness inventory. To learn more about the process and other ways to comment visit the Wilderness Inventory and Evaluation website. Comment period closedTuesday, September 9, 2014.  

Link to the Flathead National Forest Wilderness Inventory and Evaluation E-Collaboration Map Tool.

Management Area Designations

We are no longer accepting comments on following two collaborative mapping websites, however you may view comments and conversations that were posted: (updated 6/24/2014)

The mapping tool was used to indicate where commenters would like to see specific management areas or define new management area designations. Comments or pictures could be attached to a particular point of interest, or general comments attached, as well as review and/or reply to comments previously posted. Click here for definitions of the management areas,  potential management area direction developed as part of the 2006 planning effort, and subsequently modified. These management areas are a starting point for the collaborative discussion.  If you would like to view comments that were submitted on a map about management areas of the Flathead National Forest use the following link: Management area designation on the Flathead National Forest E-Collaboration Map Tool

Wilderness Inventory

The interactive map of the lands identified as potentially suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System was used for comment and input. Feedback and input on the process developed and resulting inventory of lands that will be evaluated for wilderness recommendation was gathered using the mapping tool. Click here to learn more about the wilderness inventory and evaluation process.  If you would like to view comments that were submitted on a map about the wilderness inventory on the Flathead National Forest use the following link:  Wilderness inventory on the Flathead National Forest E-Collaboration Map Tool

Past Meetings (and related documents)

The Flathead National Forest hosted two open house sessions in August on the topic of Use of Vegetation Modeling in Forest Planning.  The first open house was on Tuesday, August 12, at the Flathead National Forest Supervisor’s Office, in Kalispell, Montana. The same material was presented the following evening, Wednesday, August 13, at the Swan Ecosystem Center in Condon. Two follow-up open house sessions were held December 3rd and 4th, 2014. Members of the forest plan revision team were present, including the silviculturist, wildlife biologist, and Regional analyst, to provide information and answer questions. Outputs of the vegetation simulation model (SIMPPLLE) were presented, and the Sprectrum model was introduced.  (updated 12/18/2014)  

Meetings May 12-15 focused on management area designations within geographic areas:

  1. South and Middle Fork GAs, Monday, May 12
  2. Salish and Swan GAs, Tuesday, May 13
  3. Hungry Horse and North Fork GAs, Wednesday, May 14
  4. Forest-wide discussion, Thursday, May 15

Meeting agendas and background documents are posted here. (updated 5/16/2014)

Open House, Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 Swan Valley Community Hall in Condon from 4 pm to 6 pm.

Meetings that focused on geographic area desired conditions were held April 21 through April 24, 2014.

Meetings that focused on forest-wide objectives were held on March 19 and 20, 2014

Meetings that focused on forest-wide desired conditions were held on February 19 and 20, 2014

Stakeholder Collaboration Meeting - Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 from 4:30-9:00 pm

Orientation Meeting - Thursday, December 5th, 4:00 pm - 8:30 pm. At the Orientation Meeting (on 12/5) two working groups were established: 1) habitat, vegetation, and disturbances; 2) recreation, access, and recommended wilderness. Stakeholders may participate in either or both work groups or may opt to not actively participate in either work group but attend meetings and contribute to the discussions or submit comments.

Four field trips throughout the Flathead National Forest

  1. Forest vegetation and disturbances including fire, timber harvest and forest products – August 8, 2013, Tally Lake District
  2. Recreation settings opportunities and access, existing wilderness, and scenic character – August 29, 2013, Hungry Horse/Spotted Bear Districts
  3. Terrestrial and aquatic habitats, threatened and endangered species, and species of conservation concern, and invasive species – September 12, 2013, Swan Lake District
  4. Inventoried Roadless Area, recommended wilderness, and wild and scenic rivers – September 26, 2013, Glacier View District

Process Workshop - September 25th - 4:00 - 8:00pm, Flathead National Forest Supervisor's Office

Process Feedback - November 13th

Open House - October 29th - 5:00 - 8:00pm, Flathead National Forest Supervisor's Office   

Supporting Documents and Data

  
News Releases, Fact Sheets and Frequently Asked Questions:

 
Comments on the Plan Revision Process


We need your help in planning the future of the Forest. If you would like to send comments or suggestions about Forest Plan revision you can send an email to:  flatheadplanrevision@fs.fed.us .

 

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