Inyo National Forest Releases Record of Decision for Forest Plan

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– The Forest Supervisor, Tammy Randall-Parker, has signed the Record of Decision to approve the 2019 land management plan for the Inyo National Forest. The approved plan will become effective 30 days after publication of the notice of its approval in the Federal Register, and it will provide guidance for managing 2 million acres of the forest’s resources for the next 10-15 years.

The forest supports about 3,400 jobs in recreation, tourism, and electricity generation, and is a major supplier of clean water; generating an estimated $119 million of annual labor income every year. The revised plan also guides grazing, mining and renewable energy. More than four million people visit the Inyo National Forest each year.

The plan recognizes that fire is integral to forest health, while still taking proactive measures to protect communities and mitigate smoke impacts, which affects residents, visitors, and tourism. The plan strikes a balance between treating fuels, protecting communities from wildfire, and allowing fire to provide ecological benefits like fuel reduction when safe to do so.

Every national forest is required by federal law to have a land management plan that is periodically revised as conditions change. The Inyo National Forest has worked with the public, area tribes, and local, state and federal agencies since 2012 to revise its plan. Public input shaped direction for recreation, aquatic resources, ecological sustainability, eligible wild and scenic rivers, and species of conservation concern.

All of the changes between the draft Record of Decision, released in 2018, and this final Record of Decision were in response to objections. The Record of Decision explains that the Forest Supervisor largely chose alternative B-modified, but incorporated direction for California spotted owl from alternative A. The Forest also included three additional areas for recommended wilderness from alternative C. The three additional recommended wilderness areas are the Adobe Hills, Huntoon, and South Huntoon areas in Mono County. The final decision also added 15 more river segments as eligible for the wild and scenic river system, all within the Mono Basin. Changes are within the considered alternatives that were publicly shared and analyzed in the final environmental impact statement.

“In 1907, the Inyo National Forest was established to protect lands that provide clean water to Los Angeles,” said Forest Supervisor Tammy Randall-Parker. “Since then, the forest has become an international destination for people seeking exceptional landscapes and recreation opportunities. The revised plan will help balance these uses with maintaining a healthy forest.”

More about the land management plan and its associated documents can be found online: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/inyo/landmanagement/planning.

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