The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is proposing a new format for public input into its land planning process. USFS is announcing in the Federal Register of Monday, Sept. 30 a proposed new Generic Information Collection for Land Management Planning.
You can get details at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-09-30/html/2013-23767.htm. USFS is taking public comments until Nov. 29 while it seeks required approval of the form from the Office of Management & Budget (OMB).
USFS is required to revise land management plans for each national forest every 15 years with possible updates. A planning rule adopted in 2012 requires public participation. USFS is required to consider a variety of factors, including recreation, cultural and historical settings, and ecology.
USFS plans to seek public input during the three phases of plan revisions: assessment, planning and monitoring. Historically, local units have sought public comments and meetings. It is encouraging forest managers to innovate ways of involving the public.
“The intent of this generic information collection request is to provide an efficient avenue for ensuring that innovative communications strategies have an efficient means of obtaining OMB approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act,” the agency explains.
It hopes, for instance, that if comments given on the form show that people don't understand an issue, the forest staff can conduct focus groups to explain it. Forests could also seek comments on a particular issue.