RAW: Forest service seeks public input on new forest plan April 4

The Inyo National Forest surrounds the entire town of Mammoth Lakes and contains almost all of the Eastern Sierra within its borders, including most of the trails, roads, ski resorts and other recreational facilities locals and visitors use.

That is why revising an old management plan for the forest, which is underway as of this month, is such a big undertaking—and that is why forest officials are asking for public input about how to do it, with a public meeting on April 4 in Bishop.

Following two public meetings in mid-March, where the Forest Service heard from interested public about current forest conditions and trends, the Inyo National Forest is now encouraging the public to engage in a follow-up workshop on April 4th at the Forest Supervisors Office in Bishop.

The workshop will be broken into two sessions, the first from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and the second from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Participants are welcome to attend either session or both. Those unable to attend in person are invited to participate via a live webinar and conference line.

The Inyo National Forest recently started the “Assessment Phase” of the forest plan revision process, assessing forest resource conditions and trends – relying heavily on public knowledge in addition to agency data. The forest’s existing Land and Resource Management Plan was completed in 1988, and has been amended numerous times during the past 25 years. While much of the plan is still relevant to today’s needs, some elements are in need of updating in order to meet changing demands and to incorporate new information that may not have been available in 1988.

This workshop will build on conversations from earlier meetings, with the intent of having more focused discussions and delving deeper into the details of various forest assessment topics.

During this Assessment Phase of the Forest Plan Revision process, the public can play a critical role in informing and elevating subjects of particular interest; accordingly, this workshop process and topics of discussion will be shaped by the attendees.

Just a few of the known topics of interest include “Role of Partners in Conservation and Recreation Management” and “Ecosystem Services and Benefits” provided by the forest, as well as the unique Recreation Settings, Opportunities and Access on this forest.

Socioeconomics, “at-risk species”, and Ecosystem conditions may also be discussed. The workshop(s) provide a special opportunity for the public to bring forth technical and local knowledge about these and other topics.

A webinar and phone conference line will be available for those who cannot attend in person, though it may be more difficult to actively engage in discussions due to the acoustics and the number of in-room participants. If you wish to participate remotely, please RSVP to Susan Joyce as described below.

Please contact Susan Joyce, Forest Planner, at 760-873-2516 or sejoyce@fs.fed.us for more information about the workshop or to register for the webinars.

More information about the meetings and Forest Plan revision is available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/inyo/landmanagement/planning