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The Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revisions Process Begins Again


Looking into the proposed Morgan Nesbit logging project on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Projects like the Morgan Nesbit are guided by the forest plan.

At the end of July, the Forest Service officially began the next round of forest planning for three Blue Mountains forests: the Wallowa-Whitman, the Umatilla, and the Malheur. These forests collectively cover over 5 million acres of public lands across Eastern Oregon, and the plans that result from this process will determine how these lands are managed for the next several decades.


Expect much more from GHCC on this in the coming weeks and months, but for now we wanted to briefly update you on the process and some opportunities to get involved.


What are our concerns?

  • Protecting unroaded areas: The Blue Mountains Forests are some of the most heavily roaded forests in the country, which has significant impacts on many species from elk to steelhead. If there’s a place that by some miracle doesn’t have roads already built, it should be protected! How will they analyze and address this during the planning process?

  • Protecting wildlife habitat connectivity: We have more data now than ever showing that these lands are critical for wildlife movement. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s new Priority Wildlife Conservation Areas map is just one example of this. How will this data, and other data, be used to better protect wildlife corridors on these National Forests?

  • Climate change: What does the “new” 2012 planning rule mean for forest planning with climate change? Beyond “forest resilience” and fuels reduction to mitigate fire severity, how does carbon sequestration and storage factor into planning?

  • Mature and old trees: We have very little old growth remaining in our forests, yet we know these trees are disproportionately important when it comes to things like wildlife habitat needs and carbon storage. Given the agency’s recent interest in amending the Eastside Screens (which exist inside the forest plan), how are they planning to protect mature and old forests in the new forest plans?


Public Meetings

The Forest Service will be hosting a series of open house meetings in communities across the region. Please attend the one closest to you, if you can!


Meetings in all locations will be held held between 4-7pm.

The link for the October 10th Virtual meeting is: https://usfs.zoomgov.com/j/1611024130?pwd=bWs4WmJzRTYvQkRvUTNOMWtjKzJ6Zz09 the passcode is 5c+FB#

Other ways to comment and be involved:

  1. Comment on the “landscape benefits” map. This is an opportunity to identify places that you “benefit” from for cultural, ecological, economic, and other reasons. Click here to submit your responses.

  2. Comment on the “important areas and management needs” map. This is an opportunity to identify places that are important to you for activities like gathering, hunting, winter recreation, and more. It also addresses where you’d like the agency to change their management strategy. There are boxes for narrative responses to questions like “What concerns do you have? What management actions would help?” Click here to submit your responses.

  3. Complete the Public Engagement Survey. This is a more general survey to inform the agency on how they should engage with the public moving forward. Click here to view the survey.

  4. Contact the team directly: From a recent Forest Service email: “The Forest Service welcomes questions, comments, and feedback at any time. Blank comment forms are available at each Forest Service office and on the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision website at https://tinyurl.com/avjjes6n. In addition, the public can email the team directly at sm.fs.bluesforests@usda.gov.”


Looking for more information? GHCC will be heavily engaged in this process, so expect more in-depth information from us coming up. For now, check out the Forest Service’s webpage on the revisions process here.



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