Friends of the Clearwater and WildEarth Guardians, along with a coalition of fifteen other groups and individuals, just submitted more than 300-pages of comments on the draft forest plan revision for the Nez Perce and Clearwater National Forests. The news release is below. We also wanted to take this time to say THANK YOU for all your personal comments to the Forest Service! Your support over the last few months, particularly during the COVID-19 outbreak, has been tremendous. The Wild Clearwater Country thanks you, too.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Moscow- Despite the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the nation, conservation groups from around the region were forced to meet the Forest Service deadline for public comments on the revised draft forest plan on the Nez Perce and Clearwater National Forests in North-Central Idaho.
Efforts to extend the deadline so that families and individuals could deal with the hardships and challenges associated with the pandemic were denied by the Forest Service, forcing concerned citizens and conservationists to spend precious time and energy on the highly controversial plan that establishes forest management direction over the next few decades.
Friends of the Clearwater, WildEarth Guardians and a coalition of fifteen groups and individuals submitted extensive comments detailing their concerns over the draft plan. Together, the groups helped generate thousands of letters to the agency.
A forest plan is a legally binding contract with the public that the Forest Service must adhere to in in managing federal lands and affects a range of crucial issues including climate change mitigation, water quality, old growth, and fish and wildlife habitat. Current forest plans for the Nez Perce and Clearwater National Forests contain clear standards and benchmarks that the Forest Service must meet. The proposed plan lacks such accountability.
“The current forest plans, while not perfect, do a fairly good job of protecting sensitive soils, water quality, wildlife habitat and old growth due to the science-driven standards that the agency must meet before logging in a watershed any further,” said Gary Macfarlane, Ecosystem Defense Director for Friends of the Clearwater. “The draft plan is a swift departure from that, and instead, is potentially being replaced by subjective decision making. It is very long on logging and way short on accountability.”
Stay safe and be well.
Brett, Katie, Gary, and Jeff
P.S. Jeff is our new staff member and contributed to our forest plan comments.