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ALASKA-NEWS-RELEASE: Forest Service Hosts Juneau Roundtable on Development of New National Planning Rule

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NEWS RELEASE
USDA Forest Service
Alaska Region
               

Ray Massey                                                         W 907.586.7876
rmassey@xxxxxxxxx                                                C 907.209.2094
March 26, 2010

USDA Forest Service Will Host Juneau Roundtable on Development of the New National Planning Rule

      Juneau, Alaska– Alaska Regional Forester Beth Pendleton announced today that Juneau will host one of nine regional roundtables to provide an opportunity for public discussion on the development of a new Forest Service Land and Resource Management Planning Rule. In addition to the roundtable meeting in Juneau, the Forest Service will host a national science forum, three national roundtables and eight other regional roundtables.  

      Providing multiple opportunities for public participation ties directly to President Obama’s call for open government that is transparent, participatory and collaborative, and illustrates Forest Service commitment to engage the public in the development of a new planning rule.  Juneau’s roundtable will take place April 13, 2010, in Centennial Hall. To increase opportunities to participate in the roundtable process, the Forest Service will host two separate sessions, from 2-5 p.m. and from 6-8 p.m. Each session will be a distinct roundtable. Both sessions are open to the general public.
     
      The Forest Service encourages the public to visit the national web site for the planning rule development process before attending a roundtable. The site can be found at  http://fs.usda.gov/planningrule. Even though the Juneau roundtables are open to the general public, the agency requests that people interested in attending to register with roundtable facilitator, Jan Caulfield, at janc@xxxxxxx or (907) 523-4610. Caulfield can also describe how to participate via the web and telephone for those people unable to travel to Juneau.

      "We encourage broad public participation in our regional roundtables,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "Through collaboration we will be able to better address the current and future needs of the National Forest System such as restoration, protecting watersheds, addressing climate change, sustaining local economies, improving collaboration, and working across landscapes.”

      Summaries from discussions in the science forum, national and regional roundtables, along with the individual comments received during the 60-day formal comment period on the Notice of Intent, will be used to develop the proposed rule and a draft environmental impact statement.  


      To encourage widespread participation in this process, the Forest Service is using new media tools in conjunction with the public meetings. Please visit http://blogs.usda.gov/usdablogs/planningrule to participate in the planning rule blog and sign up to follow the Forest Service on Twitter at www.twitter.com/forestservice.

      The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages the 193 million acres of National Forest System land, provides stewardship assistance to non-federal forest landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

                                    -30-

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