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E-M:/ REFORM!! State Forest Management to be opened to public

Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org

Friends:  A sea change is taking place in the management of Michigan's State
Forests, the largest single landownership in the state of Michigan.  Draft
guidelines for the Compartment Review process (the decision making level
within the agency, where on the ground management decisions are made)
have been drawn up and circulated to some of the most active groups following
the forests.  These guidelines include, for the first time ever, clear
direction on providing consistent public notice, for considering the input
from the public, for providing notice of decisions made with regard to
managing the forests, and for providing a way for those who believe a
management decision is improper or illegal to bring an administrative
challenge that decision through an appeal process.

This is not the end of a reform process for the management of Michigan's 3.8
million acres of State Forests,(in fact, it focuses only at the lowest level
of management decision making in the six State Forests, skipping the critical
forest wide and statewide management decisionmaking steps) but it is an
enormous step forward.  Sierra Club members have spent much of the last decade
deciphering the system, applying pressure to open up the decision making to
review and input from the public, etc.  While our efforts at times have been
considered controversial, including our decision to bring the first
administrative and legal challenge to a timber sale on state forest lands in
history, the progress we are seeing now in the opportunities for the owners
and users of this land, Michigan's citizens, to have a say, we know will
demonstrate over time the long term benefits of taking on this effort.

For those interested in providing input to these decisions, the Sierra Club
has put together information on how the process works.  We will update this
information as soon as the new guidelines are implemented, but for now we urge
you to find out about what the management plans are for the places you hold
dear in our State Forest lands.  The most heartbreaking stories we hear over
the years are from people who were unaware that a change in management of a
special place was about to take place -- they only learned when they came back
and saw the timber cutting, the brush clearing, the new road, the closed
trail, etc.  Now, it should be much easier for anyone who knows about and
cares about an area to find out what is planned.  That doesn't mean your ideas
will prevail -- but at least you will have a chance to let your views be
known, and find out what the plans are for managing that area.

Please contact Anne Woiwode at anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org  or 517-484-2372
or 300 N. Washington Sq, Ste 411, Lansing, MI 48933 for information about

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