January 11, 2018
Dear Latah County Commissioners,
The Forest Service is working on the Forest Plan Revision for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, which is an overarching document that guides the agency for normally a ten-year period on how both forests will be managed. The Forest Plan has a number of components, including recommended wilderness and wild and scenic rivers, standards for water quality, old growth, fish and wildlife habitat, as well as direction for soils, timber harvest, riparian buffers and motorized and mechanized travel.
A few days before Christmas the agency announced they are seeking public comments on the development of alternatives for the Forest Revision Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which is expected to be released later this year. The agency scheduled a live webinar on January 9, supplemented by a 2-day workshop on January 10-11 in Orofino, ID and a 1-day workshop on January 18 in Missoula, MT so the public can provide feedback on its “framework for alternative development.” Unfortunately, the seminar and meetings are scheduled in the middle of the day during the workweek, when most citizens cannot participate. Friends of the Clearwater sent a letter (attached) to the Forest Service on December 28, 2017 suggesting a public meeting in Moscow on an evening during the workweek (when citizens are more likely to attend) but we have not yet received a written response.
As you may be aware, the Palouse Ranger District is the most heavily visited district on the Clearwater National Forest, supplying important fish and wildlife habitat and opportunities for hunting, fishing, birding, camping and more. Moscow is the largest population center adjacent to the district, and is a logical fit for a public meeting.
The Idaho County Free Press (January 10, 2018) reported that the Forest Service and Idaho County Commissioners held a public meeting on January 9 in Grangeville, ID in which Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Supervisor Cheryl Probert “reviewed and reiterated the Forest Service’s study process,” including its evaluation and recommendation of rivers eligible for wild & scenic river status in the Forest Plan Revision.
Friends of the Clearwater, on behalf of its members and citizens of Latah County, are asking Latah County Commissioners to request Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Supervisor Cheryl Probert, in conjunction with Latah County Commissioners, host a public meeting in Moscow, ID during the evening on a workweek to discuss the development of alternatives for the Forest Plan Revision.
At your convenience, please send us a reply.