Pennington North Resource Management Project Seeking Comments

Release Date: Aug 15, 2022

Contact(s): Melissa Rickers


Cass Lake, Minnesota, August 15, 2022 -  The Forest Service is seeking comments on the Pennington North Resource Management  Project.  The purpose and need for this project is to help move the vegetative conditions within the project area towards the desired conditions identified in the 2004 Chippewa National Forest Land and Resources Management Plan (Forest Plan). The proposed vegetation management activities are designed to improve species, structural, and age class diversity within the project area, while providing goods and services for the multiple uses described in the Forest Plan that would benefit current and future generations. Other proposed activities are focused on improving recreation opportunities and visitor experience within the project area and applying approximately 375 acres of prescribed broadcast burning.

The Penn North Resource Management Project (project) area is south of Blackduck, MN,  east of Tenstrike, MN, and generally north of county road 20. The eastern boundary of the project area is quite variable following boundaries developed around landscape ecosystems, and a map has been provided below. The project area is completely outside of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation.  Highway 71 and scenic Highway 39 lie within the project boundaries as well as Pimushe Lake, Rabideau Lake and the historic Rabideau CCC camp.

The proposed activities would include approximately 6,815 acres of timber harvest using a variety of methods including 2,210 acres of coppice with reserves (2,142 aspen, 68 acres spruce/fir), 3,125 acres of clearcut with reserves (2,161 acres spruce/fir, 564 aspen, 400 pine), 569 acres of patch clearcuts (380 acres aspen, 106 acres spruce, 83 hardwoods), 25 acres of single tree selection in hardwoods, 575 acres of group selection (474 hardwoods, 101 acres aspen), and 310 acres of thinning pine. Multiple entries may occur over 10-15 years.  Additional proposed activities include approximately 925 acres of aspen conversions (380 acres to hardwoods, 236 acres to pine, 109 acres to spruce, and 200 acres of other conversions), 3,000 acres of planting, 850 acres of site preparation, 7 miles of temporary road construction, up to 5 miles of decommissioning unauthorized roads, and approximately 330 acres of prescribed burning.  A detailed project description is available for review at the Blackduck Ranger District, 417 Forestry Drive, Blackduck, MN 56630; or, on-line at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=57343

How to Comment and Timeframe: 

The Forest Service has implemented the new Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 218 objection process.  The objection period allows the public to object to the project by having the environmental document and draft decision ready for public review before the decision is signed.  This project is not a Healthy Forest Restoration Act Project; however, it is subject to 36 CFR 218 subparts A and B.

The Forest Service is requesting information, comments, and other assistance from Federal, State, and local agencies, tribes, landowners, and other individuals or organizations that have an interest in or could be affected by the proposed action.  Specific comments are the most useful for the identification of issues and development and analysis of alternatives to the proposal.

In addition to serving as a scoping opportunity, this time period will also serve as a designated opportunity for public comment that may provide a commenter with eligibility to object to the proposed project or activity under 36 CFR Part 218.  Only individuals or entities who submit timely and specific written comments (as defined by 36 CFR 218.2) about this proposed project or activity during this or any other designated opportunity for public comment established by the responsible official will be eligible to file an objection. 

The comment period begins on the first day after publication of this notice in The Blackduck American, Blackduck, Minnesota.  The comment period ends on September 12, 2022.  Comments should be within the scope of the proposed action, have a direct relationship to the proposed action, and must include supporting reasons for the Responsible Official to consider (36 CFR 218.2). Other eligibility requirements are defined by 36 CFR 218.25(a)(3) and include name, postal address, title of the project and signature or other verification of identity upon request and the identity of the individual or entity who authored the comments. Names of commenters will be part of the public record subject to the Freedom of Information Act.  Submit written comments to Karen Lessard, Blackduck District Ranger, 417 Forestry Drive, Blackduck, MN 56630; fax (218) 547-3260; or email: comments-eastern-chippewa@usda.gov (please put “Pennington North Project” in the subject line). Office hours for hand delivery are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday (except Federal holidays). Acceptable formats for electronic comments are text or html e-mail, Adobe portable document format, and formats viewable in Microsoft Office applications. It is the responsibility of the sender to ensure timely receipt of any comments submitted.  For questions or additional information regarding this project contact Douglas Putt at 218-507-0960, email:douglas.putt@usda.gov

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