Plan Development

Assessment phase with more information explained

Using information gathered during the Assessment (Phase I), and documented in the Draft Assessment and Draft Preliminary Need to Change, the Forest will work with the Public, Cooperating Agencies and our Tribal partners, to develop a Draft Forest Plan during Phase II: Plan Development. 


Parts of a Forest Plan

The 2012 Planning Rule (36 CFR 219.7) provides guidance on the required parts of a Forest Plan including:

  • Distinctive Roles and Contributions
  • Suitability of Lands
  • Geographic and Management Areas
  • Designated Areas
  • Priority Watersheds
  • Desired Conditions
  • Objectives
  • Standards
  • Guidelines
  • Monitoring

This page will be updated as draft documents are developed and become available for review. To learn more about on-line review and comment periods, and upcoming public open houses, visit our Public Participation page here. 

Distinctive Roles and Contributions

The 2012 Planning Rule requires land management plans to reflect the Forest’s distinctive roles and contributions to the local area, the region, and the Nation as a whole considering the Agency’s mission and the unique capabilities of the Forest (36 CFR 219.2(b)).

DRAFT Distinctive Roles and Contributions of the Manti-La Sal National Forest 

Suitability of Lands

National Forest System lands are generally suitable for a variety of uses consistent with the purposes for which they are administered (outdoor recreation, grazing, timber, watershed and wildlife and fisheries, etc). The suitability of lands is not required for every resource or activity. Every plan must, however, identify lands that are not suitable for timber production (36 CFR 219.7(e)(1)(v)). 

Timber Suitability - Information Tri-Fold

Range Suitability - Information Tri-Fold

Priority Watersheds

Identification of priority watersheds is completed as part of plan revision to focus maintenance and restoration of watershed conditions in priority areas (36 CFR 219.7(f)(1)). The Responsible Official should identify an appropriate number of watersheds in the plan for maintenance or improvement that corresponds to reasonable and achievable plan objectives for a 5-year period and within current budget levels.


Draft Priority Watershed Report - 6 July 2018

Geographic and Management Areas

Geographic and Management Areas are used to identify areas within the Forest where management direction may differ from the general Forest Wide plan direction. Not every acre of the plan area needs to be assigned to a management or geographic area. 


Every plan must have management areas or geographic areas or both. The plan may identify designated or recommended designated areas as management or geographic areas (36 CFR 219.7(d)).


Draft Proposed Geographic and Management Areas for the Manti-La Sal National Forest

Designated Areas

Forest plans may include recommendations to establish additional or modify existing designated areas.  Some designated areas may be formally designated or established concurrently with a plan decision, while others may not.  Designated Areas such as Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River, for example, are designated by Congress and NOT with a plan decision.  A designated area is defined as:


 An area or feature identified and managed to maintain its unique special character or purpose..... Examples of statutorily designated areas are national heritage areas.... wild and scenic rivers, wilderness areas, and wilderness study areas.  Examples of administratively designated areas are experimental forests, research natural areas, scenic byways, botanical areas, and significant caves (36 CFR 219.19).


To learn more about the Wilderness Evaluation process click here.

To learn more about the Wild and Scenic River Evaluation Process click here

To view the list of currently Designated Areas on the Manti-La Sal National Forest click here. 

Desired Conditions

A desired condition describes the vision or aspirations of what the plan area, or portions of the plan area, should look like in the future. Desired Conditions drive the development of other plan components (including objectives, standards, and guidelines) which provide guidance on how to achieve the desired conditions.


A desired condition is a description of the specific social, economic, and/or ecological characteristics of the plan area, or portion of a plan area, toward which management of the land and resources should be directed. Desired conditions must be described in terms that are specific enough to allow progress toward their achievement to be determined, but do not include completion dates (36 CFR 219.7(e)(1)(i)).


An objective describes an outcome designed to make progress towards a specific desired condition(s).     


An objective is a concise, measurable, and time-specific statement of a desired rate of progress toward a desired condition or conditions. Objectives should be based on reasonably foreseeable budgets (36 CFR 219.9(e)(1)(ii)).


Initial Draft Plan Components: Desired Conditions and Objectives - 17 September 2018  

Standards and Guidelines

Standards and guidelines are plan components that can be used to put constraints on projects and activities when they are designed at the project level. A standard is different from a guidelines in that a standard is a constrain, allowing no variation, where a guideline allows variation if the result would be equally effective


A standard is a mandatory constraint on a project and activity decision making, established to help achieve or maintain the desired conditions or conditions, to avoid or mitigate undesirable effects, or to meet applicable legal requirements (36 CFR 219.7(e)(1)(iii)).


A guideline is a constraint on a project and activity decision making that allows for departure from its terms, so long as the purpose of the guideline is met.  Guidelines are established to help achieve or maintain a desired condition or conditions, to avoid or mitigate undesirable effects, or to meet applicable legal requirements (36 CFR 219.7(e)(1)(iv)).


Under Development – Coming Soon – Spring 2019


A land management plan must contain a plan monitoring program (36 CFR 219.12). Monitoring is continuous over the course of the plan, and provides feedback to the Forest by tracking conditions over time to measure management effectives. 

The monitoring program includes plan-level and broader-scale monitoring. The plan-level monitoring program is informed by the assessment phase; developed during plan development, and can be modified by plan amendment, or plan revision.


Under Development – Coming Soon – Spring 2019