Public Invited to Comment on Wilderness Evaluation using Interactive Website

Release Date: Jan 29, 2018

The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests has released a new website where the public can submit comments on a preliminary evaluation of Recommended Wilderness Areas on the forest, taking place as part of Forest Plan Revision.

Currently, the Nez Perce-Clearwater Forest Plan Revision Team is evaluating wilderness characteristics of inventoried roadless areas to determine which areas may be recommended for Wilderness designation in the revised Forest Plan. The Forest Plan Revision Team plans to develop a range of alternatives for which Recommended Wilderness Areas may be included, which could vary from including few to no Wilderness recommendations in the Forest Plan, to recommending a variety of areas with wilderness characteristics.

An important part of this evaluation process includes collaborating with and collecting feedback from the public. To facilitate this, the forest has created an interactive website, called a story map, where the public can learn more about the Wilderness Act and the evaluation process, see the current inventory of roadless areas, and provide comments on the wilderness evaluation process.

The Recommended Wilderness Areas story map can be found on the forest’s Wilderness Recommendation Process webpage under the “Evaluation Process” heading. The story map includes photos, maps, and information about different aspects of the wilderness evaluation process. One tab allows visitors to view a map of roadless areas and click “Submit a Comment” to provide feedback specific to that area. Please note that all comments are subject to the Comment Policy established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

While there is no formal deadline for submitting comments, the forest would appreciate if comments were submitted by Feb. 12 in order to consider this information in alternative development. The most useful comments are those that are related to a specific area and are based on the commenter’s personal experience.

The purpose of the Wilderness Act of 1964 is to “establish a National Wilderness Preservation System for the permanent good of the whole people” of the United States of America. This Act, as well as Forest Service directives and federal planning regulations, provides direction for why and how Forest Service units should conduct wilderness evaluation. The Nez Perce–Clearwater Forest Plan Revision Team is moving through the wilderness evaluation process as a part of revising and combining the Nez Perce and Clearwater National Forest plans.

We look forward to reading your comments, and appreciate the public’s involvement as an important part of the Forest Plan Revision process! For more information about Forest Plan Revision, please click here.