The Lolo National Forest on Tuesday kicked off the public engagement aspect of a forest plan revision expected to take at least four years.
The forest plan is the overarching document that outlines objectives and guides decision-making by Forest Service officials. The plan is a framework for how agency officials address everything from plant and animal diversity on the landscape to how a specific area is prioritized for recreation access, logging or conservation. It can guide which areas receive more, or less, active management.
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The plan is like a zoning code for the national forest, said Amanda Milburn, the revision team leader. The plan does not propose, approve or deny specific projects. The Lolo’s current plan is its original 1986 document that fails to reflect more than 35 years of changing environmental conditions, altered forest composition, new science and new regulations, laws and policy, she said. Plans are supposed to be updated every 15 years, but forests across the nation have failed to meet that goal.
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