Following the closure of the Objection Filing Period on November 26, 2013 the US Forest Service has 90 days to respond to the objections. This timeframe can be extended if more time is needed to reach a decision or resolution for any filed objection. At the end of the objection reviewing period the Reviewing Officer will issue one or more written responses to each objection. The written response(s) will give the reasons for the response, but is not required to be a point-by-point response. It may contain instructions to the Responsible Official (Faye Krueger, Northern Rockies Regional Forester) related to changes in the forest plan prior to implementation. The written response will be the final decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the objections. Following the close of the Objection Review period the Responsible Official will sign a final Record of Decision and begin implementation of the Revised Forest Plan.
Prior to the Reviewing Officer issuing a written response an objector or the Forest Service may request a meeting to discuss issues raised in an objection and potential resolution. These meetings are open to the public; however, only objectors and members of the public who have requested to be an “interested person” for that objection will be allowed to participate in the meeting. To become an “interested person” members of the public should review the published objections and must file a request with the reviewing official by December 16, 2013, which is ten days after the December 6, 2013 publication of a legal notice in the Coeur d’Alene Press and the Missoulian announcing the publication of the objections. The full list of objections and detailed information on filing to be an “interested person” are available on the Idaho Panhandle NF’s “Objections Received” web page.
The Idaho Panhandle NF’s Revised Forest Plan, Final Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Record of Decision were released to the public on September 23, 2013 following numerous public meetings, open houses and more than 100 community based work-group sessions.
“Completion of this plan is a great benefit to our national forest because it updates our guidance to better respond to the challenges the Forest Service faces in managing our natural resources today,” said Idaho Panhandle National Forests Supervisor Mary Farnsworth. “Based on the wide ranging input we have received from our communities and forest visitors, we believe this plan reflects the best possible balance for our national forest today and into the future.”
To view the Revised Forest Plan or any of the supporting documents, please visit the Idaho Panhandle NF’s Forest Plan Revision webpage, or contact your local Forest Service Office. Compact discs or hard copies of these documents may be requested by phone (208) 765-7233 or email (IPNFplanrevision@fs.fed.us).