Forest service plans open house

map forsythe forestBarbara Lawlor, Boulder County.   National Forest Community Liaison Reid Armstrong gave an update on the status of the Forsythe II Project on Monday. During the scoping period which took place in September, the forest service received input on the initial project proposal from more than 80 people. Armstrong said, “We carefully read through all the input and have been working with the interdisciplinary planning team to refine the proposed action. We expect to release the proposed action for public comment at the end of December.”

Saying that they want to give everyone an early “heads up” before the holidays, the Forest Service plans for the comment period to begin on December 31 and last for 30 days. There will be an open house to provide another opportunity for questions and discussion on Jan. 11, 5-7 p.m. at the Nederland Community Center.

The proposed action, as well as maps, responses to input, design criteria, and a project timeline, will be posted on the website at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/Forsythe2 for review beginning the last week of December.

Comments must be submitted during the upcoming official comment period to have standing to participate in the objection process when the final environmental analysis and draft decision are released.

Previous input does not provide legal standing in this project.

Comments received during the upcoming comment period will be used to develop alternatives to the proposed action. The interdisciplinary team will analyze each alternative to disclose environmental effects. A draft decision is anticipated in early summer of 2016.

The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests’ Boulder Ranger District is proposing vegetation treatments on National Forest System lands between Nederland and Gross Reservoir. In the absence of wildfire, the forest in this area has lost some of its historic characteristics. The project’s goal is to improve the landscape’s resistance and resiliency to future natural disturbances by:

Expanding openings, clumps and diversity in mixed conifer stands;

Increasing aspen stands;

Improving meadow habitat;

Improving wildlife habitat to benefit species within the project area;

Reducing the potential effects of a wildfire on municipal water sources; and,

Decrease the potential spread of crown fire, particularly adjacent to private property.

Barbara Lawlor

Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.