A coalition of national and regional outdoor groups, including Outdoor Alliance, Outdoor Industry Association, Appalachian Mountain Club, the Mountaineers and the Colorado Mountain Club, said it has submitted comments to the Obama Administration regarding its efforts to create a new U.S Forest Service planning rule. The groups want the USFS to give more weight to sustainable outdoor recreation in its new planning rule.


A key element in this initial planning phase is the inclusion of recreation on public lands, said Bryan Martin of The Colorado Mountain Club. There is real economic benefit to including cyclists, hikers, paddlers, backcountry skiers and climbers in terms of what they bring from a recreational standpoint.


The USFSs proposed planning rule outlines five guiding principles: restoration and conservation of lands to enhance ecosystem resilience; addressing climate change through monitoring, mitigation and adaptation; maintenance and restoration of watershed health; providing diversity of species and habitat; and fostering sustainable lands and their contribution to rural economies.


The coalition wants the Forest Service to develop a sixth rule that balances and integrates the need for protection of watersheds and wildlife habitat with the highly valued recreational opportunities.

As part of the rule making process, the USFS will hold a Science Forum in Washington D.C. March 29-30 and launch the first of several national and regional roundtable meetings April 1-2. Information on how to participate in the planning process can be found at http://fs.usda.gov.