USFS announces ‘listening sessions’ on Forest Plan

The U.S. Forest Service has begun revising its Willamette National Forest Plan, and has announced two “listening sessions” to give the public a chance to weigh in on May 4 and 6 in Pleasant Hill and in Stayton.

Both will last from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The Pleasant Hill hearing will be at Pleasant Hill High School, 84455 N. Enterprise Road, and the Stayton hearing will be at the Community Center, 400 W. Virginia St.

The Willamette National Forest and other Oregon and Washington forests are revising their plans for a variety of reasons.

Those include “the accumulated scientific learning of the last 25-plus years, changing climate, landscape and socio-political realities.” Forest officials say the revisions are necessary to keep the plans current with today’s needs and values in a way that preserves options for future generations.

“The Willamette sessions are being held in rural communities near the forest boundary to make it easier for local citizens to attend and interact with us,” said spokeswoman Jude McHugh. “This is just the beginning of a several year process and there will be many opportunities and ways to participate.

“We want to hear from everyone, and are especially eager to hear from those who want to help shape a middle ground that meets the needs of communities, individuals and the long-term sustainability of the forest. The Willamette National Forest comprises much of the headwaters for the Willamette River providing clean water and air, wood products and other resources, thus making an important contribution to the ecologic and economic sustainability of our state.”

McHugh urged residents to have their say: “We will need both familiar and new voices to shape a revised plan.”

For more information, contact McHugh at (541) 915-5372 or by email at [email protected].