Public Input Sought on Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers
NELSONVILLE, Ohio (December 11, 2018) –The Wayne National Forest is seeking public input to 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 2019. Both of these processes are required by the 2012 Planning Rule, which sets the ground rules for all Forest Plan revisions within the USDA Forest Service. Under the 2012 Rule, 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.
Dan Giannamore, a member of the revision team stated, “Now we need to hear what members of the public know about the remaining 38 roadless blocks of land. 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.” Additional information is available on the Wayne National Forest Plan revision website at http://bit.ly/WayneWilderness.
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.” Additional information is available on the Wayne National Forest Plan revision website at http://bit.ly/WayneRivers.
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. 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.”
If you are interested in getting involved with the Wilderness or Wild and Scenic Rivers inventories, please contact the Forest Plan Revision Team at firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
The mission of the Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 30 percent of the nation’s surface drinking water to cities and rural communities and approximately 66 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System. The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 900 million forested acres within the U.S., of which over 130 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.