Wanted: Forest Advisory Board

this photo is of the Black Hills Forest Advisory Board

In this Arizona Daily Sun editorial piece some interesting points are raised about the advantages of an advisory board or group including:


But the visioning process for the forest remains a very top-down, internal affair, just the opposite of what the 2009 conferees envisioned. Forest planners develop maps and draft statements that are presented for comment at irregular open houses, revisions are made, and more comments are solicited. At no time are planners taking their work before a representative standing body of stakeholders, then doing the heavy-lifting needed to achieve consensus in such a diverse group.

Granted, they are under no legal obligation to do the latter. And it’s not their fault that the 2009 conferees have lost the momentum of 21 months ago behind a regional commission.

But consulting on an ad hoc basis with various user groups is simply not going to generate broad-based buy-in to a vision for sustainable ecological, social and economic conditions in the forest, much less for specific plans for off-road travel, Red Rock fees, campfire bans or snowplay. It’s no wonder the Coconino seems to lurch from one public controversy to another — officials have not worked to develop a grassroots consensus on the forest’s mission that would give them cover behind a united community front when the inevitable disagreements arise over specific policies and programs.

I think it’s interesting that both this proposed group and the existing Black Hills Advisory Board, which we have discussed before here, are not just about planning. It’s about the management of the forest- the whole enchilada- for which there seems to be a need.

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