Release Date: Jun 10, 2011
Contact: Stevin Westcott, 828-257-4215
Forest Service Seeks Public Comment on Draft Plan for Uwharrie National Forest
TROY, N.C. – The USDA Forest Service today unveiled the draft management plan and environmental impact statement for the Uwharrie National Forest and invited the public to comment on the plan until mid-September. The public may view the plan at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/nfsnc/uwharrieplan
and send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
“The science-based, draft plan is the culmination of several years’ work by the Forest Service in collaboration with a wide variety of public and private stakeholders and partners,” said Uwharrie District Ranger Deborah Walker. “I believe we have a solid management plan for the Uwharrie National Forest that will help ensure the health of the forest for future generations.”
The draft management plan proposes direction for management of the 50,814-acre Uwharrie National Forest that spans three counties in the North Carolina Piedmont. Once finalized, the plan will guide management of the Uwharrie National Forest for the next 15 years. The plan works to fulfill the Forest Service’s mission of managing national forests for multiple uses.
The major themes of the draft management plan for the Uwharrie National Forest are: restoring the forest to a more natural ecological condition; better management of cultural resources; and providing outstanding and sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities, with excellent trails and facilities.
Highlights of the draft management plan include:
- Reducing the amount of loblolly pine plantations in favor of restoring longleaf pine forests and oak-hickory forests;
- Increasing prescribed burning to help restore longleaf pine and promote the recovery of endangered Schweinitz’s sunflower, while enhancing other rare sun-loving plants. Selective stream improvements and treatment of non-native invasive species would further restoration efforts;
- Restricting equestrian use to designated trails and areas to reduce, mitigate and prevent adverse effects in the national forest. An alternative proposal is also being considered that would not restrict equestrian use; and
- Protecting artifacts and historic and prehistoric sites within the Uwharrie National Forest that also provide opportunities for research, education and interpretation.
The proposed management plan, draft environmental impact statement, and fact sheet, are posted online at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/nfsnc/uwharrieplan
. The comment period will last 90 days beginning the day the Notice of Availability is published in the Federal Register by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Forest Service’s planning team will review and make adjustments to the proposed plan and draft environmental impact statement based upon comments received. The Forest Service plans to publish a final management plan for the national forest by early 2012.