Citizens speak up about Forest Service plan
Graham County residents who felt overlooked when the U.S. Forest devised its last 20-year plan had their voices heard Thursday during a public meeting at the community building in Robbinsville.
“We need to know what Graham County’s top priorities are,” said Sophia Paulos, county director for economic development, before inviting input from nearly 75 citizens.
Attendees were directed to share their feelings about: timber harvest, wildlife/hunting, trails/Recreation/Tourism, EMS/Public Safety and Roads/Access.
Paulos explained that the Forest Service devises long-term plans based on feedback from individuals, counties, municipalities, groups and tribes on how the existing plan needs to change.
Thursday’s meeting provided plenty of input from loggers, fishermen, hunters, hikers and nature lovers who would like to see more forest land made accessible.
“We were so happy that so many citizens of Graham County came out to give their insights to the process,” Graham County Manager Becky Garland said.
The information from the meeting will be organized and sent to U.S. Forest Service officials for consideration before they release 20-year plan.
The forest plan, which was last updated in 1994, is a required document that stipulates what activities can take place on a particular national forest.
The forest plan is typically revised every 15 to 20 years.