I actually took this headline from an article about the status of the Salmon-Challis forest plan revision, but it pretty much describes planning in the Forest Service as a whole. With the exception of a batch of mostly Region 3 forests nearing the end of their planning journey, not much is happening. There are no signs of any new forests moving into the pipeline as the aforementioned revisions are completed.
The national status chart (source of this graphic – the last column shows the age of the plan) was updated April 1 (was there an inside joke here?). It doesn’t include where each forest is in the process, so I checked each of their planning web pages and produced the summary below (roughly in order of where they are from the end to the beginning).
- Carson – Currently reviewing objections, final plan projected in spring 2022
- Cibola – Currently reviewing objections, final plan projected in 2022
- Santa Fe – Currently reviewing objections, final plan TBD
- Nantahala-Pisgah – Currently reviewing objections, final plan TBD
- Tonto – 60-day objection period began March 25, final plan TBD
- Nez Perce-Clearwater – FEIS/draft ROD projected Fall 2021 (yes, that is the projection on the web page)
- Ashley – FEIS/draft ROD projected October 2022
- Grand Mesa Uncompahgre and Gunnison – FEIS/draft ROD projected late 2022 or early 2023
- Gila – FEIS/draft ROD TBD
- Lincoln – FEIS/draft ROD TBD
- Sierra/Sequoia – FEIS/draft ROD TBD
- Manti-La Sal – DEIS/draft plan TBD
- Salmon-Challis – Notice of initiation 2018, NOI TBD
- Malheur/Wallowa-Whitman/Umatilla – FEIS/draft ROD withdrawn in 2019, draft plan/NOI TBD
- Black Hills – Currently in Assessment phase, NOI TBD
There is more information available in these charts, but they have not been updated for over a year (note the individual charts for each “service group,” the national “new planning model.” I used it to check out the forests that, at least at one time, appeared ready to start revision. From this list of forests that should have been “in revision” or “pre-revision” sometime this year, the only references to plan revision I found on any of the web pages have been quoted below. So there’s going to be a big gap in completed revisions.
- In revision 2021: Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino, Six Rivers, Klamath, Rogue River-Siskiyou
- In revision 2022: Cimarron Comanche, Bridger-Teton, Midewin, Humboldt-Toiyabe
- Pre-revision in 2022: Fremont-Winema, Umpqua, Siuslaw, Willamette, Lolo, Caribou-Targhee, Curlew, NFs inTexas, NFs in Florida, Kistachie, Wayne, Allegheny
Bridger-Teton, – “unlikely that BTNF will receive funding to begin Forest Plan Revision until 2022.”
Humboldt-Toiyabe – “Work on Forest Plan revision has been suspended as resources and personnel are devoted to travel management, environmental analysis of grazing, fire and fuels management, and implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”
There is also this note from the Wayne explaining why they have stopped revising their forest plan.
Meanwhile the Bitterroot National Forest is doing some planning of another kind that is fairly unusual (but may be becoming more common), recently releasing a draft climbing management plan. Issues being addressed include the placing of permanent anchors (including in wilderness areas) and the need to buffer nesting raptors. However, “Work on a final NEPA-approved climbing plan will have to wait until the agency’s Washington office completes a set of national directives focused on climbing. Those could come as soon as this summer.“