CHEYENNE -- The U.S. Forest Service is starting a two-year effort to adopt a simplified planning rule to deal with new resource challenges including climate change and beetles.
About 40 people convened Wednesday night in Cheyenne to share their ideas for the rule. They included representatives from oil and gas companies, state and local governments, conservation districts and environmental groups, gold prospectors and back-country horsemen, among others.
The goal is "collaborative public land management," said John Rupe from the Forest Service strategic planning office in Lakewood, Colo.
Rupe said the instability of the current planning rule is affecting management of Forest Service lands in Wyoming.
The planning regulations outline what goes into a land management, or forest, plan developed for specific Forest Service units.
Rupe said all the plans in use now are from a planning rule adopted in 1982.
The plans were to be revised every 15 years but 74 revisions are now overdue.
Wyoming's last plan for the Bridger-Teton National Forest was adopted in 1990.
The revision of the Medicine Bow forest plan is taking four years while work on the Shoshone forest rule revision was stopped after 3 1/2 years for legal reasons, Rupe said.
Other planning rules adopted in 2005 and 2008 to shorten and simplify the process were struck down by the courts.
Sharon Friedman, also of the Lakewood Forest Service office, said one issue discussed during a science forum held earlier in Washington, D.C., was how to monitor changes in animal migration patterns that may result from climate change.
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