The Forest Service’s “Unbalanced” Alternative
The Forest Service completed this June its first round of public meetings concerning the Inyo, Sequoia, and Sierra draft Forest Plans. More than 150 people – many of whom were CalWild members or supporters – attended the public meetings in Mammoth Lakes, Bishop, Porterville, Clovis, Northridge, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Click these links to view and respond to our existing action alerts for the Sierra, Inyo and Sequoia Forests. Be sure to submit your comments by the August 25, 2016 deadline.
Perhaps the most notable Forest Service statement made at the meetings was the claim that the agency’s “preferred” alternative (a.k.a. Alternative B) represents a “balanced” approach to the management of nearly four million acres of public lands in the eastern and southern Sierra Nevada.
And yet, the Forest Service’s so called “balanced” alternative doubles logging on the Sierra and Sequoia Forests and increases logging by 50% on the Inyo Forest. Worse yet, no new wilderness is recommended for protection on the Sierra and Sequoia Forests and only a modest 34,000 acres of new wilderness is recommended for protection on the Inyo Forest. Of the nearly 1.5 million roadless acres inventoried by the Forest Service on these three forests, the draft plans allocate more than a million acres of roadless lands to motorized use.
Many conservationists left the meetings feeling that the agency was pushing a decidedly unbalanced alternative that will result in road building and logging on sensitive roadless lands for one of California’s most iconic public landscapes.
The draft plans also present a mixed bag in regard to potential Wild & Scenic Rivers. Although the draft plan for the Sierra Forest includes 633 miles of rivers and streams identified as eligible for Wild & Scenic River protection, the Inyo Forest draft plan includes only 160 miles of eligible streams and the Sequoia Forest has a paltry 76 miles of eligible streams.
Fortunately, the public still has the opportunity to encourage the Forest Service to take a bolder step towards the protection of roadless lands and wild rivers by submitting written comments by the August 25, 2016 deadline. In addition, concerned members of the public are urged to attend another round of public meetings scheduled by the Forest Service in early August.
CalWild urges concerned conservationists to attend the upcoming public meetings and submit written comments opposing Alternative B and pushing for an improved Alternative C to be adopted as the final plans for the Inyo, Sequoia, and Sierra National Forests.
The Forest Service’s Alternative C recommends about 743,000 acres (about 50% of the roadless inventory) of wilderness and identifies 870 miles of eligible Wild & Scenic Rivers. CalWild and its coalition partners are recommending reasonable additions to Alternative C to improve its protection of sensitive wild lands and waters.
In addition, please attend one of the upcoming public meetings to speak out in support of an improved Alternative C. The meetings are:
- Monday, August 1: 6-8PM, Cerro Coso Community College, 101 College Pkwy, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
- Tuesday, August 2: 6-8PM, Cerro Coso Community College Eastern Sierra Campus, 4090 W Line St, Bishop, CA 93514
- Wednesday, August 3: 6-8PM, Double Tree Bakersfield (Hilton), 3100 Camino Del Rio Ct., Bakersfield, CA 93308
- Thursday, August 4: 6-8PM, Clovis Memorial Veterans Hall, 808 4th St, Clovis, CA 93612
Unlike the “informational” meetings the Forest Service held in June, the August public meetings will focus on receiving public comments.
To review the draft forest plans and environmental impact statement, and accompanying materials, CLICK HERE.
For more information, please contact Steve Evans, email: email@example.com, phone: (916) 708-3155.