Commenting on Forest Service Directives
Proposed and Interim Directives – Comment Period Open
Follow the links below to access the text of proposed and interim Forest Service directives, supplemental information, instructions for submitting comments, and a comment form.
Rangeland Management Directives(December-31-1969 - December-31-1969) | Learn More and Submit a Comment | View Comments
The USDA Forest Service is requesting public input on the proposed updates to the rangeland management directives. The rangeland management directives are comprised of Forest Service Manual (FSM) 2200, Forest Service Handbook (FSH) 2209.13 and FSH 2209.16. The comment period has been extended. Your comments are requested by April 17, 2021. The rangeland management directives serve as the primary basis for the internal management and control of the rangeland management program. They are the primary source of administrative direction to Forest Service employees relative to the rangeland management program. Why Are They Being Updated? The Rangeland Management Directives have been in place for approximately 30 years. The focus of this effort is on updating outdated manuals and handbooks. The updates make them more usable, modern and conform to recent legislation. The updates provide greater management flexibility and improve the clarity of policies and procedures to guide responsible and consistent management of NFS lands. The updates involve 17 chapters with most of the updates being made to Forest Service Handbook 2209.13.
FSM 1820 - Public Lands Corps and Resource Assistants Program(December-31-1969 - December-31-1969) | Learn More and Submit a Comment | View Comments
The Forest Service is proposing updates to the Public Lands Corps and Resource Assistants Program, which uses partnerships to employ America’s youth, young adults, emerging professionals, and others in paid work on public lands, research, and natural resources projects. Participants, upon meeting certain requirements, achieve eligibility for pathways to federal employment. The proposal reflects changes in legislation and policy and incorporates new requirements, streamlined administration, programming, and reporting, and improves customer service.
Forest Products Modernization - Batch 2(December-31-1969 - December-31-1969) | Learn More and Submit a Comment | View Comments
The Forest Service is requesting comments on proposed amendments to several of its 2400 series directives pertaining to the sale and disposal of forest products. The amended directives include Timber Management (2400) directives, which includes the FSM2420 Timber Appraisal Manual, three chapters of the FSH2409.19 Renewable Resource Handbook, and a new FSH2409.19 Handbook chapter on Good Neighbor Authority. The amendments address changes in authorities, policies and direction designed to improve efficiencies and increase the pace of forest restoration and generally update outdated directives.
FSH 5509.11, Chapter 20, section 21-Small Tracts Act Adjustments(December-31-1969 - December-31-1969) | Learn More and Submit a Comment | View Comments
Revisions to FSH 5509.11, Chapter 20- “Lands Title Claims, Sales, and Grants,” section 21-“Small Tracts Act Adjustments” are needed to implement direction in the 2018 Farm Bill, and these proposed changes are subject to public notice and comment requirements consistent with 36 CFR 216. Required regulatory changes have already been completed. The Forest Service is revising this directive to implement the Small Tracts Act, as required by the 2018 Farm Bill. These revisions implement the intent of the 2018 Farm Bill and related regulatory changes that updated land values established in the original Small Tracts Act, which dates back to 1983, increasing the value of lands the Agency can sell or exchange to keep up with increasing land values. Proceeds generated from eligible sales made under the Small Tracts Act may be deposited in a Sisk Act account, allowing the Agency to acquire lands that improve the health and productivity of National Forests while simultaneously disposing small, problematic parcels. Key changes being incorporated into the directive helps implement the following: The land value threshold for eligible parcels will increase to $500,000 from $150,000. A category is added for cemeteries, landfills, and sewer treatment plants authorized under a special use authorization or other authorization by the Secretary of Agriculture. A category is added for parcels 10 acres or less encroached upon by permanent, habitable improvements where there is no evidence the encroachment is intentional or negligent. A category is added for parcels 40 acres or less that are physically isolated, inaccessible, or lack National Forest characteristics. The Agency anticipates that the new authority will remain conservatively used and should not dramatically increase the number of conveyances.
Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center Transportation(December-31-1969 - December-31-1969) | Learn More and Submit a Comment | View Comments
The Alaska Region is implementing a policy change to address challenges in managing commercial transportation to and from the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center (Visitor Center) during the cruise ship season (April – October). Visitation to the Visitor Center has increased to nearly 700,000 annual visitors as of 2018, with additional growth expected over the next several years. Existing facilities simply can’t accommodate the growing number of visitors. Increased use has affected resources and visitor safety and experiences. The policy change will update a Forest Service Manual regional supplement. Under the policy, the Forest Service may restrict commercial transport to special use permit holders only at the Visitor Center during the cruise season. This will enable the Forest Service to better manage and enforce authorized commercial transportation access and for law enforcement to cite unauthorized access.
Information Collection - Timber Sale Contract Forms(December-31-1969 - December-31-1969) | Learn More and Submit a Comment | View Comments
Forest Service contracts for the sale of timber and other forest products require both parties to routinely share information and enter into agreements pertaining to operations and performance. Some information collected under Forest Service contracts is required by laws, regulations, and/or timber sale policies. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Forest Service is seeking public notice and comments on revisions to an existing information collection regarding clearance for the Timber Sale Contract Operations and Administration.
Day Use Areas in Dog Valley and Peavine Areas(December-31-1969 - December-31-1969) | Learn More and Submit a Comment | View Comments
The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest’s Carson Ranger District seeks public comment for 30 days on a proposal to convert a few areas in and around the Peavine and Dog Valley areas, northwest of Reno, Nevada, to day use only. Due to resource damage as well as public health and safety concerns, these designated areas would be closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily. In addition, disperse camping and campfires would be prohibited. The District is recommending a half-mile radius from the areas listed below be designated as day use only. • Dog Valley Road (Forest Service Road 31002): Forest Boundary (Near Verdi, NV) and Forest Boundary (Near Bordertown Casino & RV in North Reno, NV) • Dog Valley Summit One Staging Area (Off of Forest Service Road 31002 near Forest Service Roads 31027 and 31074.) • East Keystone Trailhead • Hoge Road Trailhead • Horizon Hills Trailhead • Las Brisas Trailhead • Peavine Road (Off of N. Virginia St.): Forest Boundary (North Reno, NV) • Raleigh Heights Trailhead • Red Metal Trailhead For a map, Please visit https://bit.ly/ProposedDayUseAreas_Map
Proposed and Interim Directives – Comment Period Closed
Follow the links below to access the text of proposed and interim Forest Service directives, supplemental information, and comments submitted.
Forest Products Modernization - Batch 2B(December-31-1969 - December-31-1969) | View Comments
Public comment for Batch 2B of the Forest Productions Modernization policy revision effort.
Proposed and Interim Directives – Comment Period Closed (continued)
- FSM 7700 and 7710 E-bikes
(September-24-2020 - October-26-2020) | View Comments
Advancements in e-bike technology, tremendous growth in the popularity of this recreational activity, and rapidly increasing opportunities for e-bike use on other federal lands have prompted federal agencies such as the USDA Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service to examine current authority, regulations, and policy governing the use of e-bikes. Federal land management agencies are considering options for facilitating and expanding access for e-bikes use.
The Forest Service is currently requesting public input on proposed updates to directives that clarify how e-bikes are managed on national forests whereby creating an e-bike definition and by adopting the three classes of e-bikes for designation as motor vehicles. These directive updates provide needed guidance to field units under existing Travel Management Rule definitions, and establish criteria to designate roads, trails and areas for e-bikes use.
3/31/2022: The Forest service is issuing final directives, Forest Service Manual (FSM) 7700 Travel Management – Zero Code and FSM 7710 Travel Management – Travel Planning, that clarify how electric bicycles (e-bikes) are managed on National Forest System lands. The directives add a definition of e-bikes as a class of motor vehicle, including separate definitions for Class 1, 2 and 3 e-bikes; establish criteria for consideration in designating roads, trails, and areas for e-bike use that are not currently designated for motor vehicle use; update the definition of “bicycle”, and align Forest Service policy with DOI agencies by adding e-bike definitions and requiring site-specific decision-making and environmental analysis at the local level. The directives were published for public comment with a 30-day public comment period, from September 24, 2020 through October 26, 2020. Over 9,140 public comments were received on the proposed directives. Approximately 6,020 were unique letters; with only 5% providing substantive concerns. The substantive comments received did not change Forest Service policy and direction, that is, the Forest Service will continue to manage all classes of e-bikes as motor vehicles and that decisions to allow e-bikes on non-motorized trails will require local-level decision making as required by the Travel Management Rule.
- Proposed Directive FSM 7700
- Proposed Directive FSM 7710
- Proposed Directive FSM 7700 Summary
- Proposed Directive FSM 7710 Summary
- Federal Register Notice 09242020
- FINAL_FSM 7700
- FINAL_FSM 7710
- FINAL_Comment Response
- FSM 2740 Vegetation Management Pilot Projects
(December-10-2020 - January-11-2021) | View CommentsThe Forest Service will publish a proposed directive to update the agency’s special uses administration manual to enhance the reliability of the electric grid and reduce the threat of wildfire due to vegetation-related conditions adjacent to electric transmission and distribution line (powerline facility) rights-of-way. The changes will establish guidance for allowing electric utilities to conduct voluntary vegetation management in areas up to 200 feet (150 feet on either side) from a powerline facility right-of-way. The directive is designed to implement section 8630 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill).
Section 8630 of the 2018 Farm Bill gives the Forest Service discretion to issue permits for conducting vegetation management pilot projects under lower liability standards to holders of an authorization for a powerline facility or natural gas pipeline on NFS lands that are not covered by the special use authorization for the powerline facility or natural gas pipeline. Pilot projects must be conducted outside the linear right-of-way for the associated powerline facility or natural gas pipeline; may not extend more than 150 feet from either side of the powerline facility or natural gas pipeline; and may not have a total width of more than 200 feet including both sides of the powerline facility or natural gas pipeline. In addition, pilot projects may not overlap with vegetation management conducted under the special use authorization for the powerline facility or natural gas pipeline, including removal and pruning of hazard trees outside the linear right-of-way for a powerline facility. The liability provisions in a special use permit for a pilot project have no effect on the liability provisions in the special use authorization for the powerline facility or natural gas pipeline, including the liability provisions that apply to removal and pruning of hazard trees inside and outside the linear right-of-way.
The new manual requires the addition of clauses to Handbook Chapter 50 to be used in permit forms that legally authorize pilot projects on National Forest System lands.
2/10/2022: The Forest Service is issuing final directive, Forest Service Manual 2740 – Vegetation Management Pilot Projects Powerline Facilities, implementing section 8630 of Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which created a voluntary pilot project program for removal of vegetation near powerline rights of way on National Forest System lands. The directive establishes Agency procedures to enhance the reliability of the electric grid and reduce the threat of wildfire due to vegetation-related conditions adjacent to powerline facility rights-of-way. Approved vegetation management pilot projects will allow electric utilities to conduct voluntary vegetation management in areas up to 200 feet (150 feet on either side) from a powerline facility right-of-way. The final directive is being published in accordance with 36 CFR part 216.
- FSM 2740
- FSM 2740 Reg Certifications Farm Bill
- FSH 2709.11_50
- Notice of Availability
- FINAL FSM 2740 Directive
- FINAL FSM 2740 Reg Cert
- FINAL FSM 2740 Response to Comments
- FSH 2709.11 Chapter 80 Vegetation Management
(December-10-2020 - January-11-2021) | View Comments
The Forest Service will publish a proposed directive that adds a chapter to the agency’s Special Uses Handbook for guidance on vegetation management, routine maintenance and inspections of electric transmission and distribution lines (powerline facilities) within and adjacent to their authorized rights of way on National Forest System lands. The new policy will direct Agency personnel on collaborating with electric utilities to develop comprehensive operating plans or operating agreements that cover all system reliability and fire mitigation activities and ensure minimum impacts to natural resources. The directive implements Section 512 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act as amended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018.
Under authority of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the Forest Service issues authorizations to electric utilities to construct and operate powerline facilities for the transmission and distribution of electricity. Section 211 of the 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act amended the Federal Land Policy and Management Act to provide direction on the development of operating plans and agreements, outlining procedures for review and approval of vegetation management, facility inspection, and operation and maintenance activities for powerlines facilities. The provisions provide for coordination between the Forest Service and electric utilities to expedite review and approval of activities that will help to ensure reliable delivery of electricity and reduction of wildfire threats associated with powerline facility operations.
The Appropriations Act directed the Forest Service to publish regulations and directions that would specifically address how the Agency would implement provisions the law for operating plans and agreements. The Agency published final regulations in July 2020. The proposed update to Forest Service Hand 2709.11, Chapter 80 is the Agency’s direction implementing the Appropriations Act.
2/10/2022: The Forest Service is issuing final directive, Forest Service Handbook 2709.11 Special Uses Chapter 80 – Operating Plans and Agreements for Powerline Facilities, implementing section 512 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), as added by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. The directive will help to reduce threats of wildfire and to electric system reliability by establishing Agency procedures for development, review, and approval of proposed operating plans and agreements for vegetation management, inspection, and operation and maintenance of powerline facilities on National Forest System (NFS) lands. The final directive is being published in accordance with 36 CFR part 216.
- FSH 2709.11_80
- FSH 2709.11_80 Reg Certs_FLPMA
- Notice of Availability
- FINAL FSH 2709.11_80 Directive
- FINAL FSH 2709.11_80 Reg Certs
- FINAL FSH 2709.11_80 Response to Comments
Recently Issued Directives
Forest Service will issue final directs after the public comment period on interim or proposed directives has ended and comments have been reviewed and analyzed. Changes may be made to interim or proposed directives in response to public comments received. Public comments and agency response to comments are included for each final directive that is issued. The complete Forest Service Directive system is available online.
|Directive||Date of Issuance||Proposed/Interim Directive||Comparison of Proposed/Interim Directive to Final Directive||Public Comments Receive and Forest Service Response|
|Forest Service Manual 2523 - Emergency Stabilization - Burned-Area Emergency Response (BAER)||June 25, 2020||Interim Directive (issued June 6, 2013)||Comparison of interim and final directives|