Public comment period opens for 54 interim forest management plans

Fifty-four interim plans guiding the management of forest resources on 116 state-owned properties are now available for review and comment through April 17. The interim plans will guide forest management on the properties until formal master plans are completed.
DNR expects to complete master plans for the properties at some point in the future, but until then, the interim plans will guide the management of forest resources for the following properties in Lincoln County: Big Rib River Fishery Area, Rib River Fishery Area, New Wood State Wildlife Area, Ice Age Trail, Bill Cross State Wildlife Area, Chilsen Demonstration Forest, Menard Island Group.
The Interim Forest Management Plans are important because they will allow timber taken off these lands to continue to be certified as sustainably managed, a “seal of approval” that gives the public confidence these properties are well managed. Such plans also will benefit sawmills and other companies using timber from those properties, according to Craig Thompson, a land program manager with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in La Crosse.
“These interim plans are very important for forest certification, which in turn is very important for business,” Thompson says. “People want to know we are managing their lands well, and consumers are increasingly preferring products from sustainably managed forests. A guaranteed stream of certified wood means sawmills and other forest products companies will have the competitive edge they need to do well in domestic and global markets.”
Forest certification is a process that assures consumers that timber (and products made from certified wood) has been grown and harvested in a way that meets strict environmental and social standards. The Wisconsin forest products industry is a $16 billion per year business that directly supports more than 56,000 jobs and generates $228 million in state and local tax revenues.
Information and links to individual interim plans for these properties, as well as directions on how to submit comments, can be found online on the DNR website by searching keyword IFMP.
People can fill out an electronic survey to submit comments, or can download the form and mail it in.
Comments, either electronic or written, are due by 4:30 p.m. April 17, 2013.

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