Forest Service officials to hear objections on new Colville management plan

Roger Harnack

During three days of meetings next week, the U.S. Forest Service will hear from residents and organizations who have previously objected to a new management plan for Colville National Forest.
The meetings will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, April 24-25, at Spokane Community College-Colville, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, April 26, in the Stevens County Ambulance Training Center.
Nearly 1,000 objections to the management plan are listed on the Forest Service's related website.
A majority of objections filed by Northeast Washington residents and organizations say the plan designates too much wilderness area and restricts too many commercial and recreational opportunities. As a result, they say the plan will lead to more catastrophic forest fires in the region.
On the other side of the issue, several organizations from Western Washington, Oregon and elsewhere object to the plan, saying it doesn't designate enough wilderness area.
Many on that side of the issue suggest that limited forest use will enhance the economy through eco-tourism; however, Pend Oreille County commissioners have noted that less than 1 percent of visitors to the forest come for wilderness area.
The meetings are open for public observation, but not comments.
Comments will be reserved for those who previously objected to the plan.
Here is a link to the comments listed on the webpage: