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A new proposed plan for how the Coconino National Forest should be run for the next 15 years will be presented for public comment along with an environmental impact statement Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the Sedona Airport.

Cara and Barry Solness hike down a trail from Slide Rock State Park on a sunny Tuesday, Feb. 18. The Coconino National Forest will present its proposed 15-year plan Tuesday, Feb. 25, with an interactive map tool available on a computer for attendees to browse how their favorite recreation areas and campgrounds such as Slide Rock will be affected by the new plan.

Representatives from the Coconino National Forest, including Forest Planner Vern Keller, will be on hand to address, in discussion groups and breakout sessions, feedback on the plan related to topics such as motorized recreation, wildlife and water resources, permitted uses and wilderness areas.

“We will have three or four computers set up so folks will have the opportunity to comment electronically,” Keller said. “Ideally, we hope they’ll input comments that way.”

The plan decided upon will replace the existing forest plan from 1987, providing one set of guidelines for restoration, recreation and all other uses and activities in the Coconino National Forest. The goal of the updated plan, according to the forest website, is to better reflect the current and future needs of the plants, wildlife and people of the forest, specifically:

  •  Support ecosystem maintenance and improvement, including soil, watersheds, invasive flora and fauna and habitat connectivity.
  • Recognize the importance of forest-community interaction, focusing on the economic, social and cultural aspects of importance to surrounding communities.
“We’re hoping we’re able to, on the fly, give the public some answers in breakout sessions,” he said. “These should show how the land and resource management plan may guide these problems in the future.”

For the full story, please see the Friday, Feb. 21, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.


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