Public Input Sought For Forest Management
PHOENIX — The Tonto National Forest is seeking public collaboration and input on the revision of its forest-management plan. The current plan, which provides overall direction for resource management on the forest’s 3 million acres, was first approved in 1987 and is no longer current.
“This is an opportunity for people to voice their ideas on what they would like to see in the management plan of the Tonto National Forest,” said Forest Supervisor Gene Blankenbaker. “From Cave Creek to Globe, from Mesa to Payson, the Tonto has a direct impact on everything from local economies to recreational opportunities. We want to make sure anyone who is interested has a chance to work with forest managers to craft a vision for the forest in the 21st century.”
The forest is hosting public meetings at four locations in March. The purpose of these meetings is to provide an orientation to the Forest Land Management Plan revision process and to begin collaborating with those interested in participating in this effort.
The upcoming meetings are scheduled as follow:
The emphasis of the revision effort will be on a few key areas of management where new information indicates the existing management direction is no longer appropriate or where there is need for additional information. The Forest Service is operating under a new planning rule, implemented in 2005, that has changed the purpose of what a forest plan should be — developed collaboratively with the public, more adaptable, more responsive to local needs and conditions, less detailed, and more focused on desired conditions.
In this first phase of the process, the Forest Service will work with interested parties to look at existing forest conditions and identify what needs to be changed in the current plan. A vision statement will be developed during this phase; it will describe management direction for the revised plan and the desired future conditions envisioned for the Tonto National Forest.
In addition to joining in the collaborative process at public meetings, ideas and comments can be submitted to the Tonto Planning Team via postal mail at 2324 E. McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85006 or via e-mail to Tontofirstname.lastname@example.org.
To obtain additional information about public meetings or about the Forest Plan revision process, please visit the forest Web site at http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto or contact the Tonto National Forest at (602) 225-5200.
Anyone with a special need, such as sign-language translation, should contact the Forest Service at least one week in advance.