OREGON COUNTY -- Every 10 to 15 years, Mark Twain Forest Service officials review their forest plan. The plan was recently completed. It states the goals and objectives used for managing the millions of acres of land. Forest Service officials said the plans reflect changes to conditions and new information and are set up to meet federal laws, regulations and policy.
The Forest Service manages 1.5 million acres of public land in southern and central Missouri, including 105,607 acres of land in Oregon County, more forest service land than in any other county in the state.
Forest Service officials said along with the revised Forest Service Plan they issue a Draft Environmental Impact Statement. According to Charles Gill of the Forest Service, the DEIS documents the analysis conducted by the Forest Service and describes the anticipated effects of implementing the plan. He said the DEIS examined five alternatives.
"Plans one through four share goals, objectives and forest-wide direction. Alternative five is to continue using the 1986 Forest Plan, as amended. We preferred the alternative three plan," Gill said.
"Alternative three is preferred because it is the best blend of goods, services and values for the public," said Ronnie Raum, forest supervisor for the Mark Twain National Forest. "It allows Forest Service officials to work with nature to conserve important plant and animal species, create and maintain healthy ecosystems and provide a variety of products that local communities and the nation as a whole consider important. Among these products are recreation opportunities, timber products and clean water and air," Raum said.
Raum said the forest plan and DEIS and summary can be seen at any Mark Twain National Forest Service office or at the Alton Public Library.
The Forest Service will hold an open house Feb. 22 at the West Plains Civic Center and all Oregon County residents are invited.