Planning

Ashley National Forest

Forest Plan Revision

     The Ashley National Forest, located in northeastern Utah and southwestern Wyoming, is in the second phase of a three-phase forest planning process to revise our forest land management plan (also known as a forest plan).  Our current plan was completed in 1986 and needs to be updated to address current ecological, economic and social conditions and trends that exist today.

     As responsible stewards of the Ashley National Forest, we must adapt management of the Ashley to local communities, to existing social and economic conditions, and to how we use the land and its resources.  It's a different world than it was approximately 30 years ago when the last Forest Plan was developed in 1986.  We can benefit from new land management experiences, new scientific information on land management practices, and updated land management rules and laws - as we move forward in the planning process.  We will adaptively manage the Ashley National Forest when we complete the newly revised Forest Plan.  We will also work collaboratively with our public, stakeholders, and others to ensure the sustainability of the Ashley National Forest - both for your benefit and the benefit of future generations.


What is Happening Now

 

Begin Production of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement

     The Ashley Forest Plan Revision team is continuing the NEPA* process (click here for timeline) by beginning the production of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).  The Ashley Forest Plan Revision DEIS will describe the impacts of Ashley National Forest proposed actions on the environment.  In addition to outlining proposed actions, the DEIS also outlines possible alternatives and the potential environmental impacts of the alternatives.

     One of the initial stages of producing the DEIS is to review the public comments from the review/comment period held from September 10 to November 8, 2019 – which Ashley specialists are currently doing.  From there, Ashley specialists will determine which comments have enough significance to be used in helping develop alternatives (developing reasonable alternatives that meet the purpose and need of the proposed action and address one or more significant issues related to the proposed action, the analysis of alternatives is often referred to as "the heart of the EIS") to be used the DEIS.

     The Ashley National Forest received 957 total comments.  The top areas for comments are:

  • Recreation 114
  • Wilderness 93
  • Wildlife 90
  • Watershed, aquatic, and riparian ecosystems 89
  • Livestock grazing 74
  • Terrestrial vegetation 57

The DEIS will be made available for public comment upon its completion, scheduled for completion by late 2020.

 

*NEPA – National Environmental Policy Act is a Federal law that establishes national policies and goals for the protection of the environment


How to Stay Informed

     As public participation opportunities are scheduled, announcements will be made via newspaper, radio, updates to this web site, Facebook, and email will be sent to those who are on our mailing list.  To be added to the mailing list, please click the "Subscribe for Updates" or the "Forest Plan Revision Email List" tab above (above-right), or drop by any Ashley National Forest office.  Offices are located in Duchesne, Vernal and Manila, Utah.

     The Ashley National Forest is committed to making this an open and transparent process.  We invite you to participate in the entire Forest Plan Revision process so that you can help guide future management activities on the Ashley National Forest.


Contacting Ashley Forest Plan Revision or for More Information

You may contact the Ashley Forest Plan Revision Team in any of the following ways:

The preferred method to comment is online at our comment system here.

By standard mail: Ashley National Forest, Attention: Forest Plan Revision, 355 North Vernal Avenue, Vernal, UT 84078-1703

By email:  AshleyForestPlan@usda.gov

By phone: (435) 781-5118

 


Document Library iconWilderness icon Wild & Scenic Rivers icon

 


Helpful links:

Forest Plan Revision Public Meetings‚Äč - This is a summary of all Ashley Forest Plan Revision public meetings, from 2019 and going back to 2016

Forest Plan Revision FAQs  - These are talking points and answers to questions that the U.S. Forest Service/Ashley National Forest think you would like to know

Forest Plan Revision Process Overview  - The Forest Plan Revision Process Overview tells the “What and Why” of the Forest Plan Revision process.  This document explains ‘What’ the Forest Plan Revision is and ‘Why’ the Ashley National Forest is undergoing the Forest Plan Revision.  The overview also explains why the Ashley Forest Plan Revision is important to the public.

Forest Plan Revision Timeline -  The Forest Plan Revision Timeframe details the timeline goals for completion of the Ashley Forest Plan Revision.  The timeframe explains the three part process of the Forest Plan Revision (Assessment, Revision, Implementation/Monitoring) – and gives the timeline goals of completion of each part and the overview revision.  This graphic explains how each process relates to the public, but also how each process relates to completion of the Forest Plan Revision process.

Forest Revision Plan Government Guide - The purpose of this guide is to help State, Local, and Tribal governments better understand their opportunities for being effectively involved in the Ashley National Forest’s land management planning process.  This guide covers topics such as: the roles and responsibilities of participating governments, desired levels and methods of involvement, assessing the resources needed to participate effectively, and continuing participation in ongoing monitoring and adaptive management once a plan has been adopted.

NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) -  NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) was the first major environmental law in the U.S. and established our environmental policies.  NEPA comes into play with: government construction projects, plans to develop and manage federally owned lands, highways, federal approvals of non-federal activities (grants, licenses, permits, etc.), and when other government (federal, state or local) activities are proposed – as long as they use federal funding.  The Federal Government takes several actions every day that are, in some way, covered by NEPA.

     This "Citizen's Guide to NEPA" article is an easy-to-read introduction to the NEPA process.  This introduction takes you from the start of the process – when an agency develops a proposal to take action – to the completion, which is an environmental review of the analysis.  The article is a non-technical explanation which will better help you understand the NEPA process.

Land Management Plan (Proposed Plan)  - This article explains the reason the Ashley National Forest is developing the Land Management Plan (Proposed Plan) and briefly explains the factors that go into developing the plan.  The article explains why the plan is so important in the management of the Ashley National Forest, as well as what specific areas (such as timber, recreation, and environmental factors) that must be considered in producing the plan.

Public Participation Strategy and Timeline - The Public Participation Strategy document spells out the strategies and timelines that the Ashley National Forest will use in working with the public to produce the Ashley Forest Plan Revision.  Seeking public participation is both required by Federal regulation, and the Ashley National Forest wants you involved in producing the new Forest Plan Revision.  This document explains the how and why that the Ashley National Forest is seeking your involvement in producing a Forest Plan Revision that will guide the management of the Ashley National Forest for the next 10-20 years.

The 2012 Planning Rule’s Effect on Forest Planning - The 2012 Planning Rule guides the way the Forest Service produces modern Forest Land Management Plans (Forest Plans).  For instance, The Rule calls for each National Forest to use the best available science in conducting analysis, when a National Forest updates its Forest Plan.  The Rule also mandates that each National Forest get the public involved throughout its Forest Planning process, rather than just at the end (which has happened).

     The following is an abridged version of an article that appeared in the Journal of Forestry (January 10, 2019 – Volume 117, Issue 1), entitled “The Forest Service’s 2012 Planning Rule and its Implementation: Federal Advisory Committee Member Perspectives”. This article also contains supplemental information from an article published by an American Bar Association journal called Natural Resources & Environment (Volume 33, Number 3, Winter 2019).  The article from the journal is called “Making Forest Planning Great Again?  Early Implementation of the Forest Service’s 2012 Planning Rule.”

     Author Martin Nie discusses the impact of the 2012 Planning Rule on modern Forest Planning, but also his participation in the National Advisory Committee, which was created in 2012 (ending in 2018) to help implement the Planning Rule.  People on the committee represented several interests that are heavily involved in Forest Planning - to include timber, environmentalists, science and the public.  The author got committee members to give their perspectives on the Planning Rule and the role the committee played in shaping Forest Planning.


The Ashley National Forest wants you to be involved in its Forest Plan Revision.  Why should you be involved?  Please click the videos below and find out.

 

 

 

 



https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/ashley/landmanagement/planning