Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Plan Revision

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We are excited to be on the cusp of releasing the final plan and draft decision soon.

This plan was developed and shaped by public comments throughout the plan revision process and creates the framework for us to work with partners into the future to successfully address major challenges like climate resilience and sustainable recreation.

The plan will support the next 20 years of work to keep the national forests healthy so they can continue to supply clean water to communities, contribute to the region’s economy, and be a place of respite and recreation.

We’re not taking comments at this time, but parties who submitted substantive comments previously, during plan development, have standing to file an objection and may do so within 60 days of our release.

 

Below is information shared at the rollout of our draft documents. You will see the information shared and how the public was able to participate.

Welcome to our Virtual Open House

Visit each station below to understand the proposed forest plan, how your interests are represented, and next steps. 

 

Station 1: Getting started

  • If you just want a quick overview, watch this 2-minute video featuring Planning Team Leader Michelle Aldridge.

 

Station 2: Digging into the Proposed Plan

Station 3: Exploring the influence of management

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is the environmental analysis of how the proposed forest plan would affect natural and cultural resources on the Nantahala and Pisgah NFs. This document also provides information on the issues that have been raised through public involvement and how different alternatives were developed in response to issues.

Station 4: Exploring unique topics

General Questions and Answers (Last Updated 5/20/2020)

A sample of questions and answers about the proposed plan and draft EIS. More Q&As will be added as the comment period unfolds.

 

Vegetation Patterns and Species Analysis

 

Designated Areas and Recreation

 

*Technical Webinars

The National Forest Foundation, a Congressionally recognized  non-profit partner of the Forest Service, is facilitating a collaborative group, the Stakeholders Forum for the Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Plan Revision, to bring diverse interests to a collaborative table. The Forum hosted deep dive webinars that provide a more technical review of the analysis within the EIS.​

 

Station 5: Comment Consideration and Next Steps

The formal 90-day comment period was initiated on February 14, 2020, extended for an additional 45 days, and concluded on June 29, 2020. 

All comments that were submitted using the online comment analysis and response application (CARA) are publicly available through the online comment reading room. 

Over the next several months, the plan revision team will be reading and responding to public comments. We will use what we have learned through the comments, public meetings, and discussions with county, state, and tribal officials to decide what changes to make to the proposed plan and EIS.

After making updates to the documents, we will release the final proposed plan and final EIS and begin a five-month objection period. Individuals that have provided comments during the comment period have standing to object to the proposed plan and EIS. Objections will be received by and reviewed by the Regional Forester in Atlanta. Objection resolution may lead to additional changes in the documents before the plan is finalized. Click here for more information on the objections process.

We estimate that the final plan and Record of Decision will be released in late 2021.

Please note that all comments, names, and addresses are part of the public record and subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.

While public engagement on the forest plan revision process has concluded for the summer, there continue to be opportunities for the public to engage in project planning through the NEPA process for individual projects. More information about projects that are under development or in progress can be found at the Forests' project page.

 

Objection Process

Following the release of the final plan and draft decision there will be a 60-day objection period for those who submitted substantive comments during development of the plan. The 60-day objection period begins with the publication of the legal notice in the Asheville Citizen Times. The regulations do not allow for extending the objection period.

Within 10 days following the close of the objection period, the Forest Service will  publish all objections on the Forest website and publish another legal notice to let the public know objections have been posted online. Then, the public has 10 days to send a request to be an interested person during the objection resolution process.

Objections will be reviewed by a Forest Service team and the Regional Forester may offer to hold an objection resolution meeting with objectors with the intent of reaching a mutually-agreeable resolution.

Within 90 days following the end of the objection filing period, the Regional Forester will issue a written response to all objections. This time period may be extended if deemed necessary. The Regional Forester will also issue a written response to the Forest Supervisor to include additional direction for the Forest Supervisor to include in the final plan. The Regional Forester’s written response is the final decision, and the Forest Supervisor can then approve the new plan and begin implementation.

Forest Plan Revision Objection Process

 

Contact Us

If you are having difficulty viewing the documents or have questions about where to find more information, please call us at 828-257-4200.

Plan Revision Team, National Forests in North Carolina, 160 Zillicoa St, Asheville NC 28801

 

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