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Monday, September 20, 2010

Recreation groups want additional meetings on the proposed planning rule

The New Century of Forest Planning blog reports that "A coalition of 72 recreation groups sent a letter to the Forest Service Chief last week about recreation interests not being heard by the proposed planning rule writing team and their comments not being reflected in summary documents on the planning rule website. The coalition of primarily hunting, fishing, and off-road vehicle interests includes such groups as the National Rifle Association, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and the National Association of Forest Service Retirees. "

As I pointed out in a previous blog, the more organized recreation groups are the ones putting the pressure on the Forest Service to achieve their aims. While others, like campers, RVers, and hikers, lacking the organizations or funding to lobby for their interests in the National Forests will have to take what they can get, the crumbs left over after the others have eaten their cake.

They point out that it is "relevant to note that the Congress specifically listed outdoor recreation first in the identified mandated management responsibilities of the Forest Service. Also noteworthy is the fact that assessments of the economic contributions of the national forests since 1992 have consistently identified outdoor recreation as the leading national economic benefit of the forests.”

And a lot of that "leading national economic benefit" is coming from RVers who spend money when they camp in the National Forests.

The recreation coalition continues, “We are greatly concerned by the lack of emphasis placed upon recreation in the documents associated with the proposed new Planning Rule and will not support a final rule that fails to correct this flaw. We intend to deliver this assessment to the public and to those representing the public if no commitment to change is made by the agency.”

The groups are asking for a meeting with the Chief, and a formal working session with the planning rule team to include provisions in the rule that requires Forest Plans to actively search out strategies to provide for and manage diverse public recreation uses.

You can read the entire article here.

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