Do you hunt, fish, forage, or camp with your family on the Wallowa-Whitman, Umatilla, or Malheur National Forest? If so, it’s time for you to get involved!
This summer, the US Forest Service re-started the forest planning process for those three National Forests, which in total cover over 5 million acres of public lands. These plans cover nearly all of the actions that the Forest Service takes - from determining how much hiding cover elk should get, to deciding which acres are prioritized for things like winter range or backcountry experiences, and setting goals for what conditions our these lands should be in.
This will be a long process (they anticipate it should take about 3 years to complete), but involvement from hunters and anglers is critical as the Forest Service makes decisions about the future of these public lands.
How you can get involved:
There will be multiple opportunities for public involvement, but an important one is happening virtually on October 10th from 4-7pm. Anyone from the public is invited to join a Zoom open house to hear the Forest Service’s update on the planning process, and ask questions about concerns or make comments about what they should prioritize.
Here are some of our concerns:
- Road densities that are appropriate for elk & deer
- Maintaining wildlife corridors
- Quality summer and winter range for game species
- Managing off-road use
- Balancing grazing needs with native wildlife forage needs
- Sustainable working forest practices
- Habitat and water quality for salmon and steelhead
- Maintaining solitude in places that offer backcountry hunting and angling experiences
What will the format of this meeting be?
We still aren’t sure, as this will be the first virtual meeting on this topic. We guess that there will be a short introduction presentation from the Forest Service interdisciplinary team (ID Team) that’s working on this project, followed by an opportunity for anyone to jump in with questions or comments.
It’s drop in style, so you can attend at any point during the 4-7pm window. The meeting will happen on Zoom at this link: https://usfs.zoomgov.com/j/1611024130