Time extended for trail comments
Pacific NW National Scenic Trail comprehensive plan
November 3, 2022 | View PDF
The Forest Service is now accepting scoping public comments through November 14th for its proposal to develop a trail-wide comprehensive plan and associated environmental analysis for the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail, extending the original scoping public comment period by 15 days.
The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail was designated by Congress as part of the National Trails System in 2009 and is one of the nation’s newest national scenic trails. The trail covers a route of approximately 1,200 miles, from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean, extends through Montana, Idaho, and Washington, and provides opportunities for long-distance hiking and other non-motorized recreation. Most of the route is in place, on existing roads or trails, and is available for public use.
Development of a comprehensive plan for the management of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail is required by the National Trails System Act [Sec. 5 (e)]. The comprehensive plan project goals are to fulfill legislative requirements from the National Trails System Act, to ensure future administration and management of the trail provides for its nature and purposes, and to ensure this administration and management safeguards the values for which the trail was designated.
During the scoping period, the Forest Service is seeking comments on what should be included in the comprehensive plan, as well as issues and alternatives to be analyzed in the supporting environmental analysis.
The project area for the comprehensive plan includes portions of seven national forests: the Flathead, Kootenai, and Idaho Panhandle National Forests in the Forest Service’s Northern Region, and the Colville, Okanogan-Wenatchee, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie, and Olympic National Forests in the Pacific Northwest Region.
It also includes lands managed by the National Park Service in Glacier National Park, the North Cascades National Park Complex, and Olympic National Park, as well as lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Washington.
Portions of the project area are within the Colville Reservation and Swinomish Reservation.
The project area includes land in the following counties: in Montana – Glacier, Flathead, and Lincoln counties; in Idaho – Boundary and Bonner counties; in Washington – Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan, Whatcom, Skagit, Island, Jefferson, and Clallam counties.
The newly extended scoping comment period will remain open through Nov. 14, 2022. The purpose of scoping is for the Forest Service to identify important issues and determine the extent of analysis necessary for an informed decision on a proposal.
The scoping document can be downloaded from the Pacific Northwest Region’s project website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=52259 (or contact the project lead, Becky Blanchard, at [email protected] or (503) 808-2449 to receive a copy via U.S. Mail or email).
Comments may be submitted electronically through the online portal at https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public/CommentInput?project=52259 by selecting the “Comment on Project” link in the “Get Connected” group at the right-hand side of the project webpage.
If you’re not able to access the online comment form, you may submit comments by regular mail to Pacific Northwest Regional Forester’s Office; Attention: Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Comprehensive Plan Comments; 1220 SW 3rd Avenue, Suite 1700; Portland, Oregon 97204.
Scoping comments received after November 14, 2022, will be considered to the extent possible in the development of the draft comprehensive plan and environmental analysis, but will not provide standing for objection.
The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the full draft comprehensive plan and environmental analysis once those are completed (anticipated early 2023), and comments received during that public comment period will also provide standing for objection.