For those of us who have been following the Forest Service’s Travel Management Rule planning process for the last 7-8 years, there appears to be a growing bipartisan effort in Congress to address what amounts to landscape level closures on some units.The most recent example of local and congressional pushback is where Monica Schwalback, Forest Supervisor for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, recently withdrew her travel plan that closed 3,900 miles of routes used by the public for various activities.
Article on WWNF Closure and Withdrawn Planhttp://www.lagrandeobserver.com/News/Local-News/FOREST-ROADS-PLAN-Access-to-firewood-big-fear
It appeared the Forest made an all too familiar mistake by forcing a plan on the public that ignored local input by user groups, individuals, and county government.
HQ believes that successful travel plans must include an engaged public and a will by Forest leadership to draft a plan that serves both local needs and the resource. Plans created in a vacuum based on the presumption that massive closures are the only tool by which the agency can fulfill its mission are doomed to fail.