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USDA Forest Service Launches Collaborative Process for New Planning Rule

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the USDA Forest Service is beginning an open, collaborative process to create and implement a modern planning rule to address current and future needs of the National Forest System, including restoring forests, protecting watersheds, addressing climate change, sustaining local economies, improving collaboration, and working across landscapes. The Forest Service will publish a notice of intent (NOI) in the Federal Register tomorrow, December 18, to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to develop a new planning rule that will provide a framework for management of national forests and grasslands.

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Collaboration and New Beginnings

Summer 2008 is coming to a close and the winter wheeling season is approaching.  For many areas the summer brought record fires and interruption to wheeling opportunities.  At one point, the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in California had four “fire complexes” burning at one time.  A “fire complex” is a group of fires within a 50,000 acre area.  The toll on wildlife and habitat on public lands and private property has been tremendous.

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