In preparation for updating its land management plans, the U.S. Forest Service recently released directives to guide the implementation of the 2012 Planning Rule. These directives guide the Forest Service on how to balance the needs of recreation, development, logging, and grazing in over 150 national forests and 20 grasslands.
A federal advisory committee assigned to review the directives provided feedback on the document, which spanned over 500 pages. The committee was made up of conservationists, local officials, and recreation advocates, and included Adam Cramer, Executive Director of Outdoor Alliance. The committee made recommendations on how to improve the directives, including how to incorporate user data into the planning process and how to account for recreational resources.
The Forest Service adopted most of committee’s recommendations on the directives, including input on topics including wilderness, sustainable recreation, and bringing more of the public into the process of designing and implementing great forest plans across the country. They were also shaped by thousands of public comments and a review by the White House. The new directives will be instrumental in how the Forest Service incorporates user data, including recreation data.
Read the official press release from the Federal Advisory Committee here, the letter from the chief of the Federal Advisory Committee to the Forest Service and USDA here, and the final directives here.