As many folks know the various national forests always seem to be working on a new forest plan. The forest plans have always required a lot of public input, plus a serious environmental impact statement. They have had to redo forest plans because of inaccurate or politically inspirated data in their EISs.
My experience is that forest plans make a big difference. If an area is judged suitable for grazing, for example, no matter how much greater its value may be in an alternative use such as nationally important fishery, you can’t get the damn cows out without an amended forest plan.
Now the Forest Service is arguing that no real decisions are made with Forest plans, so no environmental impact statement is needed. Of course, conservation groups are suing them.
There are some who agree with the Forest Service (I mean people who are not Bush Administration political appointments).
Here is a link to a blog established by a number of college professors interested in forest policy and Forest Service people (all are operating this blog as individuals, not in their capacity as a Forest Service employee or position at a university).
I should add the Forest Service can’t just end the process because the National Forest Management Act of 1976 says they will do forest plans, and that they will revise them. I don’t really see how they can get away with this “reform.”