[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 189 (Thursday, September 30, 1999)]
[Pages 52766-52771]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-25016]



Forest Service

Revised Land and Resource Management Plan, Uinta National Forest, 

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
and a revised Land and Resource Management Plan for the Uinta National 
Forest, located in Utah, Wasatch, Juab, Tooele, and Sanpete Counties, 


SUMMARY: The Department of Agriculture, Forest Service will prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in conjunction with revision of 
the Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan), and a revised 
Forest Plan for the Uinta National Forest. The revised Forest Plan will 
supersede the current Forest Plan, which was approved October 3, 1984, 
and has been amended seven times.
    This notice describes the needs for change in the current Forest 
Plan that to date have been identified by Uinta Forest Supervisor, 
Peter W. Karp, to be revised; the environmental issues considered in 
the revision; the estimated dates for filing the EIS; the information 
concerning public participation; and the names and addresses of the 
responsible agency official and the individual who can provide 
additional information.

DATES: Comments regarding the scope of the analysis should be received 
in writing by November 30, 1999. The agency expects to file a Draft EIS 
in the Fall of 2000, and a Final EIS in the Spring of 2001.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to: Peter W. Karp, Forest Supervisor, 
Uinta National Forest, PO Box 1428, 88 West 100 North, Provo, UT 84603-

Leader, Uinta National Forest (801) 342-5161.
    Responsible Official: Jack Blackwell, Intermountain Regional 
Forester, 324 25th Street, Ogden, UT 84401.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to part 36 Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR) 219.10(g), the Regional Forester for the 
Intermountain Region gives notice of the agency's intent to prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement to revise the Uinta National Forest 
Plan. According to 36 CFR 219.10(g), land and resource management plans 
shall ordinarily be revised on a 10 to 15 year cycle. The existing plan 
was approved October 3, 1984.
    The Regional Forester gives notice that the Uinta National Forest 
is beginning an environmental analysis and the decision-making process 
for this proposed programmatic action to revise the Uinta Forest Plan.
    Forest plans describe the long-term direction for managing national 
forests. Agency decisions in these plans do the following:
     Establish multiple use goals and objectives (36 CFR 
     Establish forest-wide management requirements (standards 
and guidelines) (36 CFR 219.13 to 219.26)
     Establish management areas and management area direction 
through the application of management prescriptions (36 CFR 219.11(c))
     Establish monitoring and evaluation requirements (36 CFR 
     Determine suitability and potential capability of lands 
for resource production. This includes identifying lands not suited for 
timber production

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and establishment of allowable sale quantity (36 CFR 219.14)
     Where applicable, recommend official designation of 
special areas such as wilderness (36 CFR 219.17) and wild and scenic 
rivers to Congress.
    The authorization of project-level activities on a forest occurs 
through project or site-specific decisions. Project-level decisions 
must comply with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) procedures 
and must include a determination that the project is consistent with 
the forest plan.

Need for Changes in the Current Forest Plan

    It has been almost 15 years since the current Forest Plan was 
approved. Experience and monitoring have shown the need for changes in 
management direction for some resources or programs. Several sources 
have highlighted needed changes in the current Forest Plan. These 
sources include:
     Public involvement that has identified new information and 
public values,
     Monitoring and scientific research that has identified new 
information and knowledge gained, and
     Forest Plan implementation that has identified management 
concerns to find better ways for accomplishing desired conditions.
    In addition to changing public views about how these lands should 
be managed, information and the scientific understanding of these 
ecosystems has evolved.

Proposed Action

    The following topics are being considered for revision in the 
Forest Plan. Each need for change was placed into one of three 
categories: appropriate for inclusion in the revision; able to be 
postponed and later addressed through the continuous assessment 
process; or not requiring attention.
    Identified needs for change are addressed in the following 
sections, with a short description of what each change entails and why 
it is necessary.

1. Topics Appropriate for Inclusion in the Forest Plan Revision

    The following topics will be included in the Forest Plan revision 
because law and/or regulation require them to be considered in all 
forest plan revisions.
    a. Wild and Scenic Rivers: The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 
was enacted to protect and preserve, in their free-flowing condition, 
certain selected rivers of the nation and their immediate environments. 
The Act established the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System (NWSRS), 
designated rivers included in the system, established policy for 
managing designated rivers, and prescribed a process for designating 
additional rivers to the system. The Act requires consideration of Wild 
and Scenic Rivers as part of the ongoing planning process. In 1997 the 
Uinta National Forest, in consultation with tribal governments and 
state and other federal agencies, undertook an inventory of the rivers 
on the Forest. Four segments were found to be free-flowing and in 
possession of at least one outstandingly remarkable value, making them 
eligible for designation. Until such time as a suitability 
determination and Congressional designation can be made, the Forest 
Service must protect the values that made the stream eligible for 
NWSRS, and maintain the rivers' free-flowing character. The proposed 
action is to establish direction to provide interim protection for 
these four rivers and to defer decisions on NWSRS recommendations until 
these decisions can be made through separate, more focused analyses 
    b. Wilderness Recommendation From Existing Roadless Inventory: 
Forest Service policy, the regulations in 36 CFR 219.17, and the 1984 
Utah Wilderness Act require that roadless areas be evaluated and 
considered for recommendation as potential wilderness areas during the 
forest planning process. In 1997 the Forest began updating its 
inventory of roadless areas. A Draft Inventory of Unroaded and 
Undeveloped Lands on the Uinta National Forest was released for public 
review in April 1999, identifying 528,015 acres of roadless areas on 
the Uinta National Forest.
    c. Reevaluation of Lands Not Suited for Timber: NFMA and its 
implementing regulations require identification of lands appropriate 
for timber management. The revision process provides an opportunity to 
reassess and better define the lands deemed appropriate for timber 
management, and to account for changes in land status and uses having 
occurred in the past 10-15 years. The revision will also use more 
accurate technology (such as GIS data) than was available during 
development of the original Forest Plan. The proposed action is to make 
any appropriate adjustments and better define the lands suited for 
timber production.
    d. Areas Where Change May Be Needed: The topics in the following 
sections were included in the revision based on information found in 
monitoring reports, insight from Forest Service employees and their 
experience with the public regarding the effectiveness (or 
ineffectiveness) of the current Plan, requirements in Forest Service 
Handbooks and Manuals, and employment of new direction and policy.
    The following topics will be included in the Forest Plan revision. 
Experience indicates that existing direction for the following topics 
is too limited or is inappropriate. Forest plan direction could be 
changed on a project by project basis through amendment; however, 
addressing these topics through the revision would eliminate the need 
for several future site-specific amendments and would facilitate 
achievement of other Forest Plan, ecosystem management, and Natural 
Resource Agenda goals.
    e. Revise the List of Timber Practices: The Forest Plan identified 
the even-aged silvicultural system as the primary means of forest 
regeneration. While this may be appropriate for lodgepole pine and 
aspen, which develop an even-aged structure, many spruce/fir stands 
naturally develop an uneven-aged structure, and consequently, 
individual and group selection (instead of clearcutting) have been the 
preferred regeneration methods under an uneven-aged silvicultural 
system. The proposed action is to expand the array of silvicultural 
systems and harvest methods that may be used.
    f. Eliminate Game Retrieval Policy: Although the Uinta Forest Plan 
does not make site-specific travel management decisions, it does 
contain direction allowing off-road and trail motorized vehicle use to 
retrieve legally taken big game animals. Monitoring has revealed that 
the practice often causes resource damage. The policy is inconsistent 
with other local national forests and other Uinta National Forest 
policies. Ghost roads are created that are difficult to control and 
that increase road densities. Limiting off-road motorized vehicle use 
to only game retrieval purposes is virtually impossible. The proposed 
action is to eliminate this provision. Site-specific travel management 
decisions will not be made through the Forest Plan revision.
    g. Expand Management Direction for Areas of Heavy Dispersed 
Recreation Use: Dispersed recreation use on the Forest has increased 
significantly over the last several years, and this is expected to 
continue in the future. This use is resulting in resource damage and 
conflicts in some areas. The proposed action is to develop Limits of 
Acceptable Change (LAC) guidelines for determining unacceptable impacts 
to resources, and to use Meaningful Measures (another set of criteria 
developed by the Forest Service) for

[[Page 52768]]

defining recreation management objectives. Meaningful Measures blends 
both quantitative and qualitative aspects of recreation and will be 
more useful in budgeting and monitoring than were the reports 
previously used.
    h. Revise Fuelwood Harvest Levels: The 1984 Forest Plan projected 
an annual fuelwood program of 18,000 cords (equivalent to 9 million 
board feet (MMBF)). Although there has been little interest in 
commercial fuelwood, the Forest has maintained a personal-use fuelwood 
program. Current annual demand is about 1,000 cords (equivalent to 0.5 
MMBF). The proposed action is to revise the objective for fuelwood 
harvest to more closely reflect demand.
    i. Update/Revise Management Indicator Species (MIS): The 
regulations in 36 CFR 219.19 require identification and monitoring of 
MIS to indicate the effects of management activities on fish and 
wildlife. A list of MIS were identified in the 1984 Forest Plan, and 
was subsequently amended in 1993. Experience with these MIS indicates 
additional refinements may be needed. Some of the species listed are 
difficult to monitor accurately, and/or their population trends may be 
affected by things other than forest management. The proposed action is 
to change the list of MIS.
    j. Eliminate Emphasis On Adding Developed Recreation Capacity: The 
1984 Forest Plan placed an emphasis on the construction of additional 
recreational facilities to accommodate an expected increase in demand. 
Since the Plan was written, inadequate funding and limited personnel 
have restricted both new construction and the expansion of existing 
facilities. As this trend is expected to continue, the proposed action 
is to change the focus in the Plan to managing existing facilities to 
increase utilization, and to provide for reconstruction when necessary.
    k. Remove Post and Pole Harvest Objectives: Forest Plan timber 
objectives include providing posts and poles to the public as a 
service. While limited post and pole opportunities do exist on the 
Uinta National Forest, these stands are valuable for wildlife, and most 
requests are referred to the Ashley and Wasatch-Cache National Forests. 
The proposed action is to remove post and pole harvest objectives from 
the Forest Plan.
    In addition to the topics previously listed, the following topics 
will be included in the revision. Experience has shown the lack of 
specificity or direction in the following areas has severely hampered 
implementation of the Forest Plan. Addressing these topics, while not 
required, would provide the over-arching framework needed to 
effectively implement the Forest Plan.
    l. Refine Management Area Boundaries: To implement the Forest Plan, 
ecosystem boundaries must be delineated. The present management areas 
are less useful than they could be given the current understanding of 
ecosystems from both a social and biological standpoint. The seven 
current management areas range in size from 56,755 to 290,925 acres and 
are not easily recognized as distinct places. They are not directly 
related to ecological units such as watersheds, and their usefulness in 
examining actions and their effects is limited. The proposed action is 
to redefine management area boundaries, generally using watersheds as 
revised management areas.
    m. Define Management Prescription Categories: A management 
prescription category is a set of management practices and intensities 
scheduled for application on a specific area. Management choices must 
be made in determining management prescription categories, as these in 
turn determine the direction for specific areas based on the resource 
emphasis. Once management areas are defined and potential Desired 
Future Conditions (DFCs) for those areas are identified, management 
prescription categories will be used to describe what is and is not 
allowed in a given area. With some exceptions, the current Forest Plan 
does not clearly identify the management prescription for any specific 
area. The proposed action is to identify the management prescription 
category applicable to each specific area of the Forest.
    n. Identify Desired Future Conditions (DFCs) For All Ecosystems: 
DFCs describe the land, resources, or social and economic conditions 
that are expected in 50-100 years if objectives are achieved. It is a 
vision of the long-term conditions of the land. The current Forest Plan 
describes a DFC for each management area; however, these are often 
vague and/or do not address all components of the ecosystem. Failure to 
adequately describe the DFC results in a high degree of uncertainty as 
to what management actions were intended and needed. The proposed 
action is to develop, for each management area, DFCs addressing all 
affected ecosystems.
    o. Identify Desired Recreation Environments Using the Recreation 
Opportunity Spectrum (ROS): The ROS allocation in the 1984 Forest Plan 
is incomplete and is not being utilized as intended. The Forest Plan 
references locations and acreages, but includes no map. ROS can be used 
together with Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) to define capacity and 
establish standards and guidelines, particularly for wilderness and 
many types of dispersed recreation. ROS can be incorporated into the 
description of the DFC as a useful tool for allocating and separating 
conflicting or competing uses. Site-specific travel management 
decisions will not be made in the revision. However, establishing ROS 
will facilitate travel management planning, which strongly influences 
the supply of opportunity for various activities. The proposed action 
is to identify the ROS allocation for each area of the Forest and to 
incorporate ROS into the description of DFC.
    p. Identify Desired Scenery Management Objectives: The visual 
quality objectives in the 1984 Forest Plan are incomplete and outdated. 
The 1974 Visual Management System used in the 1984 Forest Plan was 
replaced in 1995 with the Scenery Management System (SMS). The SMS 
process can assist in the establishment of overall resource goals and 
objectives to monitor the scenic resource and ensure high quality 
scenery for future generations. However, fully implementing SMS would 
not be practical during revision given the revision schedule and 
available staffing and funding. The proposed action is to identify 
desired scenery management conditions across the Forest, and initiate 
implementation of the SMS.
    q. Delineate Areas Suitable For Domestic Livestock Grazing: The 
Forest Plan addresses suitability of lands for domestic livestock 
grazing, but discusses capability and suitability in terms of animal 
unit months of forage rather than acres. This makes comparison between 
the current Plan and current conditions difficult. Some large tracts of 
land, including the Strawberry Projects Lands, have been added to the 
Forest since the suitability analysis was completed. These areas were 
grazed for many years prior to their transfer to the Forest Service, 
and the Forest annually receives some requests to restore grazing on 
these lands. In addition, two domestic sheep allotments in the Pleasant 
Grove Management Area were identified as suited for grazing in the 1984 
Forest Plan. These allotments are currently vacant and adjoin a 
proposed bighorn sheep reintroduction site. The Strawberry Project 
Lands and these two vacant allotments are part of important watersheds, 
provide valuable wildlife habitat, and support heavy recreation use. 
The proposed action is to delineate the areas of the Forest suited for

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domestic livestock grazing using acres instead of animal unit months, 
identifying the Strawberry Project Lands and lands within the two 
allotments in the Pleasant Grove Management Area as not suited for 
domestic livestock grazing.
    r. Establish Direction For Managing Cave Resources: Since the 
Forest Plan was written, the Federal Cave Management Act of 1988 was 
implemented. As the Forest Plan provides no direction for managing cave 
resources, the proposed action is to develop direction for accessing 
and managing cave resources on the Forest. Addressing the following 
topics in the Forest Plan revision would simplify and clarify the 
intent of the Forest Plan without requiring significant resource 
expenditures. Consequently, these topics will be addressed in the 
Forest Plan revision.
    s. Remove Administrative or Procedural Direction: The proposed 
action is to remove information that is not related to land and 
resource management planning or to one of the six decisions made in 
forest plans, or that is redundant. Such information can be found in 
Forest Service Handbooks or Manuals or other reference materials.
    t. Correct Typographical and Description Errors: The proposed 
action is to make editorial corrections, clarifications, and updates in 
order to present an accurate and more professional document.
    u. Correct and Clarify Direction for 3-Pasture Rest Rotation: The 
proposed action is to reword an existing standard and guideline to 
identify the 3-pasture rest rotation as one of several recognized 
livestock management strategies, instead of it being the only 
management option.
    v. Clarification of Existing Minerals Goals and Objectives: Current 
direction does not specify if goals and objectives for minerals 
management refer to locatable, leasable, or common variety minerals. 
Management of these minerals is governed by different laws and 
regulations. The proposed action is to refine the existing management 
direction to be more specific as to the type of mineral resource 
    w. Incorporate Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Air Quality 
Standards: The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has been 
working in cooperation with the Forest Service and other state and 
federal agencies to develop a set of BMPs as part of a statewide Non-
point Source Management Plan for Silvicultural Activities. This plan, 
which will be adopted by the national forests in Utah, provides a set 
of standard management practices to reduce non-point source pollution 
from silvicultural activities. Air quality and visibility are national 
concerns, goals, and priorities. The proposed action is to add 
direction to the Forest Plan to address these issues.
    x. Remove Direction for Afforestation of Oak Woodlands: Ecosystem 
management implies managing wildlands using vegetation native to the 
site. Past afforestation practices on the Uinta have included the 
planting of tree species on oak sites where such species would not have 
otherwise established. These plantings have sometimes done well for a 
number of years, but many have then exhibited a rapid decline. These 
plantings also have the potential to replace the vegetation natural to 
the site. Current thinking on ecosystem management is to manage 
wildlands using vegetation native to the site. The proposed action is 
to eliminate direction in the current Plan calling for afforestation of 
oak woodlands.
    y. Elimination of Numerical Objectives and Implementation 
Schedules: Many of the objectives and schedules in the existing Plan 
are not required, are quickly out-of-date, and have lead to frequent 
confusion. The proposed action is to eliminate those that are not 
required by law or regulation.
    z. Update Property Management Goals and Terminology: Right-of-Way 
and Land Adjustment Plans for the Forest have been updated since the 
1984 Forest Plan was completed. The proposed action is to incorporate 
goals and objectives from these in the revised Forest Plan.
    aa. Remove Direction Allowing Horse Use During Hunting Season in 
All Developed Sites: The Forest Plan allowed for this practice for the 
period of 1980-90, with no direction following that period. The Forest 
has not continued this practice outside of the designated time frame. 
The proposed action is to remove this direction.
    bb. Identify the Jumpoff Point Research Natural Area (RNA) and 
Establish Management Direction for It: In 1987, the Chief of the Forest 
Service signed an Establishment Report designating the Jumpoff Point 
Research Natural Area (RNA). The Jumpoff Point RNA was designated after 
the completion of the Forest Plan, and no amendment was completed at 
the time of establishment. The proposed action is to map this 290 acre 
area as a unique management prescription category and to develop 
appropriate management direction.
    cc. Identify Standards Versus Guidelines: Standards are not 
currently distinguished from guidelines. Standards are direction which 
must be followed; guidelines are direction which generally should be 
followed. The proposed action is to identify which management direction 
are standards and which are guidelines. This will clarify the intent of 
the Forest Plan and eliminate unnecessary site-specific amendments in 
    dd. Revise/Correct the Section Describing Amendment of the Forest 
Plan: The Forest Plan implies amendments may be needed when the list of 
projects proposed in the Forest Plan must be altered. A Forest Plan 
defines programmatic actions and does not make project decisions. The 
proposed action is to revise this section to state that amendment is 
needed when one of the six decisions made in the Forest Plan must be 
    ee. Eliminate Redundant Monitoring Requirements: Currently, the 
Forest Plan requires monitoring of items pertaining to individual 
resource areas. This has lead to overlapping and redundant monitoring 
of items such as riparian habitat and water quality. The proposed 
action is to eliminate redundant and overlapping monitoring.
    ff. Correct the Monitoring Frequency for Timber Suitability: 
Current direction requires suitability determination and monitoring to 
be completed every 10 years. The Forest Plan erroneously states it is 
to be completed every year. The proposed action is to correct this 
    gg. Update Acreages and Other ``Current Situation'' Data: Numerous 
changes in the environment have occurred since this section was 
prepared in 1984. This includes changes resulting from land 
adjustments, the Central Utah Project, implementation of the Forest 
Plan, and natural events such as wildfire. The proposed action is to 
update this section to reflect changes that have occurred.
    hh. Use People At One Time (PAOTs) Instead of Recreation Visitor 
Days (RVDs) for Developed Recreation Supply Objectives: PAOTs are 
commonly used to define capacity; RVDs are used to define use. The 
Forest Plan uses RVDs for both, Using PAOTs to define capacity is more 
accurate. The proposed action is to revise objectives for developed 
recreation capacity using PAOTs rather than RVDs.

2. Topics Not Addressed in the Forest Plan Revision But To Be Addressed 
Through Continuous Assessment and Planning (CAP)

    The following topics are areas where existing management direction 
needs to be clarified, refined, or changed. These topics will not be 
addressed in the Forest Plan revision, but will be

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addressed through project or forest Plan amendments. Addressing these 
topics in the Forest Plan revision would likely require significant and 
unavailable resources, given time and funding limitations. These are 
topics where implementation can usually proceed and be consistent with 
existing Forest Plan direction (only occasional site-specific 
amendments to Forest Plan direction may be needed to allow 
implementation to proceed).

a. Refinement of grazing standards for stream channel types
b. Expansion of management direction for non-greenline conditions in 
streamside management zones
c. Development of species-specific conservation measures for 
threatened, endangered, or sensitive species.

    There is a need for management decisions on the following topics, 
to the extent they involve Forest Service discretionary decisions. More 
thorough, detailed analysis and consideration of these topics and 
related issues would occur if they were analyzed through localized, 
site-specific analyses conducted outside of the revision process.

d. Wild and Scenic River suitability determinations (Little Provo Deer 
Creek, North Fork of the American Fork River, South Fork of the Provo 
River, and Fifth Water)
e. Wildlife reintroductions
f. Non-conforming uses in wilderness areas
g. Energy corridors

3. Topics Where No change Is Proposed

    The following topics would not be addressed through the Forest Plan 
revision, except to the extent they are directly impacted by other 
revision topics being addressed. These topics cover areas where the 
Forest Plan provides management direction that some may want changed, 
but which otherwise appears to be adequate (and therefore, not a need 
for change).

a. Western Uinta Basin Oil and Gas leasing decisions
b. General intent of DFCs established through the Rangeland Ecosystem 
c. Predator control direction established through the Predator Control 
EIS and in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the 
U.S. Forest Service and the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service 
d. Direction to harvest timber only where needed for forest health or 
other resource objectives
e. Identification of recreation residences
f. Direction established through the ongoing Utah Fire Amendment
g. Direction established through the ongoing Utah Goshawk Amendment
h. Direction emphasizing protection of water quality, particularly in 
watersheds providing water for domestic use.

Potential Alternatives

    The No Action Alternative, continuing management under the present 
Forest Plan, will be considered in the analysis of the proposed action. 
The No Action Alternative would not include any of the legally mandated 
revision topics.
    Topics to be addressed in the proposed action were described 
previously. No other alternatives have been developed at this time. 
However, additional alternatives will likely be developed based upon 
comments provided.

Involving the Public

    The Forest Service is seeking information comments, and assistance 
from individuals, organizations, tribal governments, and federal, 
state, and local agencies who may be interested in or affected by the 
proposed action (36 CFR 219.6).
    Public participation will be solicited by notifying (in person and/
or by mail) known interested and affected publics. News releases will 
be used to give the public general notice, and public involvement 
opportunities will be offered at various locations. Public 
participation activities included written comments, open houses, focus 
groups, and collaborative forums.
    Public participation will be sought throughout the revision 
process, but will be particularly important at several points along the 
way. The first formal opportunity to comment is during the scoping 
process (40 CFR 1501.7). Three public meetings are scheduled during the 
scoping process. These will run from 7 to 9 p.m. and be held October 
26, 1999, at Wasatch County Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, 475 N. 
Main Street, Heber City, Utah; October 27, 1999, at Mellor Banquets, 
877 North 100 East, Lehi, Utah; and October 28, 1999, at Payson City 
Banquet Hall, 439 W. Utah Avenue, Payson, Utah.

Release and Review of the EIS

    The Draft EIS is expected to be filed with the Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA) and be available for public comment in late 
Fall of 2000. At that time, the EPA will publish a notice of 
availability in the Federal Register. The comment period on the Draft 
EIS will be at least 90 days from the date the EPA publishes the notice 
of availability in the Federal Register, as required by the planning 
    The Forest Service believes that at this early stage it is 
important to give reviewers notice of several court rulings related to 
public participation in the environmental review process. First, 
reviewers of the Draft EIS must structure their participation in the 
environmental review of the proposal so that it is meaningful and 
alerts an agency to the reviewer's position and contentions; Vermont 
Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. NRDC 435 U.S. 519, 553 (1978). Also, 
environmental objections that could be raised at the Draft EIS stage 
but are not raised until after completion of the Final EIS may be 
waived or dismissed by the courts; City of Angoon v. Hodel, 803 F. 2d 
1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 1986) and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. v. Harris, 490 
F. Supp. 1334, 1338 (E.D. Wis. 1980). Because of these court rulings, 
it is very important that those interested in this proposed action 
participate by the close of the comment period so that substantive 
comments and objectives are made available to the Forest Service at a 
time when it can meaningfully consider them and respond to them in the 
Final EIS.
    To assist the Forest Service identifying and considering issues and 
concerns on the proposed programmatic actions, comments on the Draft 
EIS should be as specific as possible. It is also helpful if comments 
refer to specific pages or chapters of the draft statement. Comments 
may also address the adequacy of the Draft EIS or the merits of the 
alternatives formulated and discussed in the statements. Reviewers may 
wish to refer to the Counsel on Environmental Quality Regulations for 
implementing the procedural provisions of the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) at 40 CFR 1503.3 in addressing these points.
    After the comment period ends on the Draft EIS, comments will be 
analyzed, considered, and responded to by the Forest Service in 
preparing the Final EIS. The Final EIS is scheduled to be completed in 
the Spring of 2001. The responsible official will consider the 
comments, responses, and environmental consequences discussed in the 
Final EIS, and applicable laws, regulations, and policies in making 
decisions regarding the revision. The responsible official will 
document decisions and reasons for the decisions in a Record of 
Decision for the revised plan. The decisions will be subject to appeal 
in accordance with 36 CFR part 217. Jack A. Blackwell, Intermountain 
Regional Forester, is the responsible official for this EIS.

[[Page 52771]]

    Dated; September 20, 1999.
Peter W. Karp,
Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 99-25016 Filed 9-29-99; 8:45 am]