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WNF seeks public input

Forest wants to identify wilderness areas, rivers

PEDRO — As part of its Forest Plan Revision, the Wayne National Forest is asking for public input to help identify lands or rivers on the national forest that may qualify for designation as a “wilderness area” or a “wild and scenic river.”

The Forest Plan Revision Team is working through two separate inventory processes, and would like to receive initial public input by April. The Forest Service must conduct these inventories and may choose to recommend suitable areas for Congressional designation. An act of Congress, signed by the president, is necessary for the designation of any wilderness or wild and scenic river.

The Wayne National Forest has completed the initial step in the wilderness inventory and evaluation process by eliminating National Forest System lands that are less than 1,000 roadless acres.

“Now we need to hear what members of the public know about the remaining 38 roadless blocks of land,” Dan Giannamore, a member of the revision team said. “Do any of these areas leave you with a sense of solitude?”

Wilderness characteristics are defined by the Wilderness Act of 1964 and include “outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation.”

The second process, in accordance with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, requires the Forest Service to identify and evaluate potential rivers for addition to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System during the Forest Plan revision process.

The Wayne National Forest has created a list of named streams that flow on or near the national forest, and is now seeking public input on these streams and any others that may possess “outstandingly remarkable values.”

Giannamore emphasized the importance of public participation in these processes.

“The people who live, work, and play in the Wayne National Forest are a great source of information,” he said. “They know the land and can help us determine whether any of these areas rise to the level where Congressional designation is the most appropriate use.”

Additional information is available on the Wayne National Forest Plan revision website at http://bit.ly/WayneWilderness.

If you are interested in getting involved with the Wilderness or Wild and Scenic Rivers inventories, please contact the Forest Plan Revision Team at wayneplanrevision@fs.fed.us, or by phone at 740-753-0555. You can also send written comments, care of Plan Revision, to Wayne National Forest, 13700 US Hwy 33, Nelsonville, OH 45764-9552.