Today is the deadline for review and comment on the US Forest Service draft Planning Handbook. This is perhaps the most anti-recreation planning directives to come from any federal land manager. Click Here to send your comment NOW! More information below. As always, call or email if you have any questions or concerns. Brian Hawthorne Public Lands Policy Director BlueRibbon Coalition 208-237-1008 ext 102 It works like this... Congress passes a law. Then what? Well, the
Today Only! Click to Stop the USFS from Adopting Bad for Recreation Plan
Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,
Today is the deadline for review and comment on the US Forest Service draft Planning Handbook. This is perhaps the most anti-recreation planning directives to come from any federal land manager.
Click Here to send your comment NOW!
More information below. As always, call or email if you have any questions or concerns.
Public Lands Policy Director
208-237-1008 ext 102
It works like this...
Congress passes a law. Then what?
Well, the appropriate regulatory agency then creates regulations necessary to implement the law. For example, the Food and Drug Administration creates its regulations under the authority of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, the Controlled Substances Act and several other acts created by Congress over the years. Acts such as these are known as "enabling legislation" because they literally enable the regulatory agencies to create the regulations required to administer and enforce them.
For our friendly neighborhood National Forest, the enabling legislation is the National Forest Management Act (NFMA). Like our example above, Congress referenced other laws in NFMA, such as the Wilderness Act, Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act, National Environmental Policy Act and others.
Once the agency is done developing regulations for implementing the law, it becomes a "final rule" and is printed in the Federal Register, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Those are known as the "code of federal regulations" or "CFR." USFS has Title 36 in the CFR.
Most federal agencies will take those CFR's and develop further management guidance. The USFS, for example, has Manuals and Handbooks. These are very detailed instruction on how each CFR is to be implemented.
The whole process can be used to emphasize the intent of certain pillars in the enabling legislation and to de-emphasize others. That would be the 'in the nutshell' explanation of the current lawsuit that BRC is party to against the USFS new Planning Regulations.
Through the revised Planning Rule and the Planning Manual and Handbook, the Forest Service has elevated species viability, ecological sustainability, ecosystem services and "ecological integrity" (no joke) as mandatory national forest management objectives, above the five statutorily prescribed multiple uses: outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and wildlife and fish purposes. The Forest Service moved even further away from Congress's intent for recreation, creating a new definition of "sustainable" in order to be allowed. You can learn more about our joint lawsuit here.
With the lawsuit pending on the USFS Final Planning Rule, youmight be wondering if its even possible to review a Handbook based on the very regulation you believe to be illegal.
Yes. It is possible, and even common, as moving away from the intent of Congress seems to be popular with federal land managers.
But this draft Handbook takes the USFS light years away from what Congress intended. You could say they have regulated forestry out of the U.S. Forest Service. And it is perhaps the most anti-recreation management guidance we have ever reviewed. It is that bad.
You can review our concerns here.
This Rule may fall of its own weight. The new Rule didn't just fail to adequately address Congressional intent for recreation, it also failed to address the planning gridlock that necessitated the revisions to the Planning Rule in the first place.
BRC is sincerely concerned about the agency's ability to formulate and implement effective land management plans. We are resolved to fight these changes, but we hope that interested officials, agency employees, organizations and individuals dedicated to active and continuing use of the Forest System can put differences aside to give rebirth to visions of Pinchot, Roosevelt, and Leopold and create a Forest System that includes meaningful use by the American public. The core vision is valid, but its current implementation is taking the agency in a different direction.
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib - www.sharetrails.org
As a non-profit, grassroots organization funded primarily by membership dues and donations, we greatly appreciate your support. Visit http://www.sharetrails.org/make-a-difference-now to help fund our efforts to protect your trails!