News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Forest Service fine-tunes meetings on federal update

The U.S. Forest Service has firmed up its plans for three days of meetings in Eugene to discuss federal amendments to the Northwest Forest Plan.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Dec. 19 announced plans by the department to amend the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan in an effort to conserve and steward old-growth forest conditions on national forests and grasslands.

The proposal covers 25 million acres of old-growth forests, 68 million acres of mature forest and all 128 forest land management plans currently in place.  

More than 1 million acres of the nation’s stock of old-growth and mature forests are in Oregon, Washington and Northern California and were previously set aside for logging. Those tracts will be reviewed as part of the amendment.

No word was available on how much of that acreage lies within the Willamette National Forest or its Detroit District in the Santiam Canyon. Officials at the Detroit Ranger Station and those at the main Willamette National Forest office in Springfield have not responded to multiple requests by The Canyon Weekly for information on the local impact.

Here is a look at the three federal advisory committee meetings that are scheduled for the Crater Lake Room inside the Erb Memorial Union Building on the University of Oregon Campus, 1395 University St., Eugene.

Tuesday, Jan. 30: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday, Jan. 31: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Thursday, Feb. 1: 9 a.m. to noon. Please note that the current schedule calls for public comment ONLY at the Jan. 30 session. A zoom option for the meetings will be available.

The written or email public comment window closed Jan. 24.

The 21-member forest advisory committee was formed to provide advice and recommendations on amending the forest plans. 

The committee consists of members in four categories.There are nine scientists, including representatives of Oregon State University, the University of Oregon and the University of Washington. There are eight members of organizations such as the American Forest Resource Council and the Wilderness Society and four individuals from public and governmental agencies such as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Three of the committee members have tribal affiliations.

The project timeline calls for an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the NWP amendments by June, followed by a 90-day public comment period. The final EIS is expected by October.

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