About the Planning Effort

A Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan) is a comprehensive, broad set of direction that instructs the Forest Service how to manage the resources of a national forest. These long-range goals and objectives attempt to strike a balance between the public's often conflicting need for values, services, products, and uses and the physical and biological capability of the land.

The National Forest Management Act of 1976 (NFMA) requires each national forest to have a Forest Plan. A Forest Plan must be consistent with environmental laws and regulations such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act.

Forest Plans are programmatic in nature. That is, the direction is broad in scope, meaning it is generally long-term and covers a large geographic area such as an entire forest rather than a small watershed. This is different than most of the "site-specific" or project-level planning the Forest Service conducts for such management activities as trail construction or harvesting timber.

Programmatic planning is similar to the concept of zoning a city for uses such as residential, light commercial business, or heavy industry.

Why Revise the Current Plans?

  • The existing Forest Plans are near the end of their intended 15-year life.
  • There have been substantial resource and social changes since the mid-1980s.
  • Gains in scientific knowledge need to be considered in developing the new Plans.
  • Revision is required by law (NFMA).

The new forest plans will be based on principles of sustainability. The term sustainability has many definitions but this one seems to sum it up best..."Meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs."

Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests Revision Background

  • Forest plan revision efforts began in April of 2002 with a Notice of Intent to revise the forest plans following the 1982 Planning Procedures (as allowed under the 2002 Planning Rule).
  • An Analysis of the Management Situation was published in 2003, documenting the "need for change" and revision topics.
  • In 2005, the Kootenai Idaho Panhandle Planning Zone (KIPZ) adopted the 2005 Planning Rule and produced a proposed plan for each forest in 2006.
  • The Proposed Land Management Plans were released on May 12, 2006 for a 90-day public comment period. The comment period was extended an additional 30 days and ended September 11, 2006. Public comment on the proposed plans were analyzed and documented.
  • Work on forest plan revision was halted in 2007 when a court ruling enjoined the 2005 Planning Rule.
  • Forest plan revision resumed in 2008 after the April release of the 2008 Planning Rule, but paused again when the the 2008 Planning Rule was invalidated in June 2009.
  • The 2000 Planning Rule was reinstated in December 2009, as amended in 2002, and the KIPZ resumed revision efforts.
  • The KIPZ issued a second NOI in March 2010 to revise the forest plans using the 1982 procedures under the 2000 Planning Rule. All the public comments received on the various forest plan revision products over the life of plan revision have been used in developing the draft forest plan and DEIS.

Planning Rule Background

More Planning Rule information and a timeline of the legal challenges can be found here.

Key Contacts

Kootenai National Forest

Timory Peel

Idaho Panhandle National Forests

Nancy Kertis