OVERVIEW: The Ashley National Forest, located in northeastern Utah and southwestern Wyoming, is beginning the first phase of a three-phase forest planning process to revise our forest land management plan (also known as a forest plan). Our current plan was completed in 1986 and needs to be updated to address current ecological, economic and social conditions and trends.
Forest plans provide strategic direction for management of all resources on a National Forest for ten to fifteen years. They describe the outcomes we hope to achieve (desired conditions), and provide guidance for projects. Forest plans do not make site-specific decisions or require any specific actions, but all projects conducted on a National Forest must be consistent with the strategic direction in its forest plan.
The first phase of the planning process is a rapid assessment of existing information about ecological, social, and economic resources in the planning area. Its purpose is to provide a solid base of information that can be used to identify preliminary needs for change in the current forest plan and inform development of the revised plan.
The second phase is preparation of a draft revised forest plan, one or more alternatives to the draft plan, and a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for public review and comment. This is followed by a final environmental impact statement (FEIS) and draft decision. The draft decision is subject to the objection procedures of 36 CFR part 219, subpart B, before it is finalized.
The third stage of the process is monitoring and feedback, which is ongoing over the life of the revised forest plan. Management direction in forest plans can be adjusted when monitoring indicates that conditions have changed or that we are not achieving the intended management outcomes.
Forest Plan Revision Library:
The Forest Plan Revision Library will host documents used throughout the revision process to assist in understanding the steps that have been taken and the products that have been developed.
TIMELINE AND MEETING DATES: As we begin the first phase of the planning process, we invite other governments, non-governmental parties, and the public to participate by contributing local knowledge and/or sources of data. Public participation during this phase helps us identify as much relevant information as possible to inform the plan revision process. We also encourage contributors to share their concerns and perceptions of risk to social, economic, and ecological systems in or connected to the planning area.
Public meetings were held in mid-July 2016 to introduce the revision process and assessment requirements. Another round of meetings will be held in late August to discuss specific aspects of the assessment, including: 1) the inventory and evaluation of lands that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System and 2) the preliminary list of species of conservation concern. The August meetings will be held from 6-8pm on the following dates:
Tuesday, Aug. 23 – Western Wyoming Community College in Green River, WY
Wednesday, Aug. 24 – Uintah Basin Area Technical College (UBATC) Multi-Purpose Room, Vernal, UT
Thursday, Aug. 25 – Daggett County Commission Office, Manila, UT
Tuesday, Aug. 30 – Salt Lake City Library, Salt Lake City, UT
Wednesday, Aug. 31 – Duchesne County Events Center, Duchesne, UT
We expect to have a draft assessment ready for public review in December 2016.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: contact the Forest Service Planning Team in any of the following ways:
By standard mail: Ashley National Forest, Attn: Forest Plan, 355 N. Vernal Avenue, Vernal, UT 84078
Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
HOW TO STAY INFORMED: As public engagement opportunities are scheduled, announcements will be made via newspaper and radio spots, updates to this web site, and email notices to those who are on our mailing list. To be added to the mailing list, please contact us via one of the means listed above or drop by any Ashley National Forest office. Offices are located in Duchesne, Vernal and Manila, UT. Please be sure to indicate whether you prefer to receive information via email or standard (paper) mail.
The Ashley National Forest is committed to making this an open and transparent process. We encourage all interested parties to participate in the assessment as well as development of desired conditions, objectives, standards and guidelines that will guide future management activities on the Ashley National Forest.