Inventory and Evaluation of Wilderness Characteristics

As part of Forest Plan Revision, the Lincoln National Forest must identify and evaluate lands that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System, and determine whether, or not, to recommend lands to Congress for wilderness designation. Congress reserves the authority to designate wilderness through legislation. Read more about the Wilderness Act.

Steps of the Wilderness Process

Forest Service Handbook 1909.12 Chapter 70 provides direction and guidance for the four-step process to be completed as one part of the larger Plan Revision effort.

Please see the Lincoln National Forest Wilderness Process Presentation for more information.

Step 1: Inventory

Status: Complete

Inventory Criteria and Evaluation

Diagram of the scope of each stage in the wilderness process

The purpose of the inventory steps is to identify all National Forest lands in the plan area that may have wilderness characteristics using a given set of criteria.

Public involvement and meetings were held in October of 2018 to gather input on the “substantially noticeable criteria.”

Summary of Public Meeting‚Äč

Draft Documents: 

Final Documents:

Inventory Maps

Draft Inventory Maps: We are currently seeking public feedback on the Draft Inventory Process Paper and initial inventory maps. These maps show areas that may be deemed suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. These maps are preliminary and do not mean all areas on the map will be proposed or managed as wilderness.

Comment period: Closed October 30, 2019.

Final Inventory Maps: Final Inventory Maps include all National Forest System areas that are identified to move on to the next step of the process, which is the evaluation of the inventoried lands. This is only a preliminary step in a larger process and does not mean that all areas on the Final Inventory map will be proposed or managed as Wilderness.

Step 2: Evaluation

Status: Complete

For the second step of the process, a draft evaluation process document and Wilderness Evaluation Map will be developed and made available for public review and comment. During the Evaluation Step, we will examine the level of wilderness characteristics possessed by the lands identified in the previous Inventory step.

Keep in mind that this is a step in a larger process. Inclusion of an area in this step does not necessarily mean the area will be proposed or managed as wilderness in the future. The Lincoln National Forest welcomes public comments on the wilderness characteristic rankings and rationales given to each area.

Documents (The comment period  has been extended until April 30, 2020.)

Draft Wilderness Evaluation Maps (The comment period  has been extended until April 30, 2020.)

Final Wilderness Evaluation Documents and Maps

Step 3: Analysis

Status: Complete

Analyze the evaluated areas determined to be potentially suitable for inclusion in one or more alternatives as part of the Forest Plan Revision National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. All factors including, but not limited to, impacts to local existing or future forest products uses, restoration needs and defensible space from wildfire/wildland-urban interface will be taken into consideration when deciding if an area should be recommended, or not. We welcome site-specific information from the public as it will help us with the analysis phase of the process. We will be considering previously submitted comments that apply to the analysis step as well.

To see the new wilderness areas being recommended in Forest Service Proposed Alternative B go to page 35 of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement

Step 4: Recommendation

Status: Underway

The Forest Supervisor will decide which areas, if any, to recommend to Congress for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. Only Congress may designate wilderness.