ATV Association

Colville NF Forest Plan Revision Information

Information about the current (2018) Colville NF Forest Forest Plan Revision will be posted on this page.

Be sure to periodically check this page for additional information as it becomes available.

If you have not previously commented during one of the previous public comment periods on this project, you do NOT have "standing". That means while you can comment during this public comment period, your comments will be received and logged; no further action will be taken (they will NOT be reviewed or considered). If you send them to me, I will review and include, if appropriate.

E-mail sent Friday, September 7, 2018:
Colville National Forest (CNF) Documents Released Fri, Sep 7th; objection period has begun!

Today the CNF released the draft Record of Decision (ROD), the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), and Revised Land Management Plan 'Forest Plan' (FP). They also released a lot of supporting documentation with this release.

Draft ROD and other decision-related documents can be downloaded from this web page: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/colville/landmanagement/planning/?cid=stelprd3824594

Most of the supporting documentation can be downloaded from this web page: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=45826 (on the Analysis, Decision, and Supporting tabs under 'Project Documents")

If you have an interest in the CNF I would strongly encourage you to download the draft ROD as this is the document that tells you why they chose the alternative they selected to move forward with. These documents do NOT make specific on the ground decisions, but rather provide the overall management polices that will govern future on the ground decisions at the "project level".

After reading the draft ROD, the next document to read would be the Final FP. It is 250 pages long.

There is no way most individuals can comprehend everything in the FP (even I still can't after working on this for over 10 years!) so concentrate on those things that effect you, i.e., camping, recreation, motorized or non-motorized access.

If you have questions about something in the FP, then you may want to take a look at the FEIS. Beware: The FEIS is over 1,500 pages and is in 3 volumes. The FEIS explains the rational behind the decisions listed in the RoD and that will be implemented in the FP.

There are also "Specialist Reports" available for download here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=45826 (on the Supporting tabs under "Project Documents"). If you recreate in the Colville NF, you will probably be mainly interested in the Recreation Specialist Report.

Additional messages will be posted as I delve into the documentation. I have quickly scanned through the draft ROD.

Contact me - preferably by old fashioned e-mail if you have questions/comments.

Remember, if you have not previously commented during one of the previous public comment periods on this project, you do NOT have "standing". That means while you can comment during this public comment period, your comments will be received, and logged; no further action will be taken (they will NOT be reviewed or considered). If you sent them to me, I will review and include, if appropriate.

More to follow . . .
E-mail sent Monday, September 10, 2018:
I have completed a very quick scan of about 1,000 pages of the documentation (about 700 more to go!). Here's my findings thus far:

1. The 60-day objective period began on the day after the official notice was posted in the USFS Region 6 newspaper of record - The Seattle Times - on Fri, Sep 7. Therefore, comments must be in the hands of the Colville NF on or before close of business on Tues, Nov 6th (Election Day!). Remember, if you have not commented on this project during any of the previous public comment periods, you will not have "standing" which means your comments will be received and logged, but not reviewed. If you want to include some comments, be sure you make substantial comments (not just "I like it" or "I don't like it"). If you object, it helps the USFS if you include reason(s) and provide an alternative you can support. You can send your comments to myself, but be very specific so I can look up your reference(s) in the documentation.

2. Management Areas (MAs): The revised Forest Plan includes 13 Managements Areas (page 93 of the Forest Plan and Chapter 3 provides information on the 13 MAs). Of particular interest to motorized recreationists should be Administration and Recreation Sites (ARS) and Backcountry Motorized (BCM). Most MAs do allow motorized recreational use (see E-1 on page 207 for list of authorized/non-authorized activities in the various MAs). Within each MA there are Desired Conditions (DC); Standards (STD); Guidelines (GDL); and Suitable Uses (SU). Each are explained under each MA as they vary depending upon the MA designation. There is a map on page 236 of the Forest Plan that shows the MAs.

3. Alternatives - PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THIS TOPIC! The Revised Forest Plan and the accompanying documents refer to six, yes 6 alternatives. Of interest should be only 2: No Action Alternative (this would be to change nothing and use the Forest Plan dated 1988 as their course of action [and their base line to compare actions against]) and Alternative P (the "Preferred Alternative"). Do NOT confuse Alternative P (the "Preferred Alternative" with the "Proposed Action" alternative. The "Proposed Action" alternative was the desired course of action for the 2011 draft Forest Plan - an alternative which has been dropped in favor of Alternative P ("Preferred Alternative".

4. Significant changes - there are two items I consider significant (I may uncover more, but for now these are the two):
4a. Kettle Crest Recreation Area. The Kettle Crest Recreation Area consists of 80,300 acres along the east and west slopes of the Kettle River Range located on both the north and south sides of U.S. Highway 20. Details about how this area will be managed begins on page 133 of the Forest Plan.

4b. Wilderness Areas: Way back in 2008 there were 21 areas that were designated "Proposed Wilderness Areas" (PWAs). These have been narrowed down to only three "Potential Wilderness Areas": Abercrombie-Hooknose (29,330 acres); Bald Snow (17,400 acres); and Salmo-Priest Adjacent (14,900 acres). Information on these three PWAs begins on page 149 of the Forest Plan.
5. Currently, the interactive GIS maps linked from this web page https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/colville/landmanagement/planning/?cid=stelprd3824594 is not available. The Team Lead is aware of this and working on getting it linked.

6. Documentation: Here's the sizes of the various documentation I consider important to motorized recreationists:
6a. Draft Record of Decision (ROD): 42 pages
6b. Land Management Plan ("Forest Plan"): 250 pages
6c. Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) Volume 1: 463 pages
6d. FEIS Volume 2: 464 pages
6e. FEIS Volume 3: 616 pages
6f. Analysis of Management Situation (AMS): 36 pages
6g. Recreation (Resource) Specialist Report: 81 pages

You are encouraged to download these from this web page https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/colville/landmanagement/planning/?cid=stelprd3824594 and the "Resource Specialist Reports" from this web page (Supporting tab) https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=45826

If you feel they are too big to print, printed copies (for use within) are available from various locations listed in the attachment to this document: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd594967.pdf
More to follow . . .
E-mail sent Tuesday, September 18, 2018:
(cross-posted) Colville NF Revised Forest Plan E-mail #3

I have pretty much finished reviewing all ~1,800 pages of documentation. Here's my last findings:

1. Objections to the documentation must be in received by the USFS no later than Nov 6th. Remember, if you have not commented during any of the previous public comment periods for this project, you do not have "standing" to object. What this means is you CAN send in your objection(s); they will be logged in and filed with no further action taken. If you want to send them to me I can review them and include them in my objection response. See page 6 below for more information on objecting.

2. There is a chart titled "Recreation Opportunity Spectrum" (ROS), This defines various classes of recreation opportunities: Primitive (P); Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized (SPNM); Semi-Primitive Motorized (SPM); Roaded Natural (RN); Roaded Modified (RM); Rural (R);Urban (U). These help to define the amount of recreational facilities you MAY find in a designated area.

3. BE SURE TO READ THIS! Road Density: Some of the management areas in the Colville have a road density desired condition. Most of the watersheds in the Colville do NOT meet the desired density (tables 153 and 154 of the EIS). What this means is while the forest plan does NOT open or close specific roads, if an area exceeds the desired condition of road density, in the future there MAY be a site-specific project which COULD Include closing some of the roads. I intend to object to this because I believe if a road (or trail) is functioning properly, i.e. not causing resource damage and serves a need, it should not be closed just because the road density is exceeded.

4. Maps. If you obtain a printed copy of the 3-volume EIS, in the back of volume 1 there is a "map package" (also available on the forest plan revision website), you'll see most of the maps have been significantly reduced to 11"x17". Previously they were approximately 44" x 34" (about the same size as the Motor Vehicle Use Maps). In some instances this make reading the map rather difficult!

5. Speaking of maps - if you need to view the maps using Google Earth, there is a website set up for this. However, I have found it does not function easily. I have the Google Earth maps and can send them to you (approx 12.5 MB). Or if you are familiar with any of the ESRI ArcGIS programs, I also have them in that format.

6. Where to send your objection(s): See pages 34 and 35 of the draft Record of Decision for instructions on how to prepare your objection(s) and where to send them.

If anyone needs to refer to previous documentation on this project, please let me know. I have about 9 inches of shelf space with documentation on this project as well as over 25 GB on my hard drives!

Page last updated: September 18, 2018

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