• 45°

Public input sought for upcoming WNF projects

For the first time in 15 years, the Wayne National Forest will have meetings to get public input on a comprehensive forest plan about its future projects.

“The format of these meetings will be an open house in which staff from the Wayne National Forest will be available to explain the revision process and answer questions the public may have,” said Forest Supervisor Tony Scardina. “It is also important for the public to understand that these initial meetings and webinars are not intended to discuss or address specific topics. That will come at a later time in the process and we look forward to hearing at these meetings how people would like to be engaged over the next several years.”

There will be a meeting from 6-8 p.m. on March 29 in Ohio University Southern’s Riffe Building in Ironton.

A forest plan guides the decision-making process of the Forest Service managers and directs where and under what conditions activities or projects can be done in a national forest. The plan includes ecological, economic and social benefits and sets out a land management vision.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources intends to begin working on the revised plan in February and have it in place by 2020.

The Forest Plan Revision process will be done in three phases: assessment of current conditions and trends, plan development, and implementation/monitoring.

For years, the USDA Forest Service, ODNR, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have been making an effort to restore southeast Ohio’s oak and hickory forest ecosystems. The next step to realizing that objective is having compatible long-term management plans that allow the organizations to work together more efficiently. With ODNR’s intention of revising their Forest Action Plan by 2020, the Wayne National Forest decided the time is right to revise its Forest Plan, to facilitate collaborative work efforts with state partners.

For those who can’t attend meetings in person, there will be web-based meetings from 10 a.m.-noon on April 7 and from 6-8 p.m. on April 9. Go to https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/wnf-1000/ to be a part of the webinar.

“We are also taking a new approach by providing virtual webinars to engage the public more broadly and for those that are unable to attend the in-person meetings,” Scardina said.

If you have questions about how to participate in virtual webinars and need assistance, please contact Forest Plan Revision Team Leader, Lori Swiderski, at (740) 753-0859 or wayneplanrevision@fs.fed.us.

For more information, go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/wayn/landmanagement/planning.