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Years in the making, US Forest Service releases revised land management plan

The U.S. Forest Service has revised the land management plan for the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests. The forest plan provides a strategic framework for managing the Forests over the next 20 years. The plan includes desired conditions for the future of the Forests and objectives that describe actions the Forest Service will take to move toward those conditions.

The U.S Forest Service first launched the assessment phase of its land management plan revision process for Western North Carolina’s Pisgah and Nantahala national forests in 2013.

The plan addresses the impacts of development pressure on adjacent private lands; unprecedented increase in recreation; the growth of wildland urban interface; the spread of insects, disease, and invasive species; and the escalating impacts from climate change. In this time of accelerated change, ensuring our forest ecosystems are healthy and resilient is critical to long-term sustainability of the diverse habitats these forests provide for wildlife and plants, and for supplying the clean water and other ecosystem benefits that we all depend on.

According to the US Forest Service, they have worked with diverse members of the public to build a broadly supported and implementable forest plan that will connect people to the land; restore forest resiliency, forest health, and wildlife habitat; provide clean and abundant water; support recreation and local jobs, and provide a platform for working together toward shared goals.

For a brief overview of the Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Plan Revision with Forest Supervisor James Melonas and Planning Team Leader Michelle Aldridge view the video HERE.

A 60-day objection period is underway, followed by a 90-plus-day resolution phase. The Forest Service said it will ultimately finalize the management plan in mid-2022.

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