Editorial: Can you see the forest for the trees? | RecordCourier.com

Editorial: Can you see the forest for the trees?

the Record-Courier editorial board

The U.S Forest Service is soliciting comments next week from residents on two forest management plans that are hot topics in Douglas County.

On Monday, Forest Service officials will be at the WNCC Douglas campus from 6 to 8 p.m. to explain the plans. The plans, and the so-called roadless area initiative, will be discussed again Tuesday in Markleeville.

County officials and residents have expressed concern over both.

The roadless area plan has been called vague, and outdoor enthusiasts fear the proposal would further limit access to public land. Commissioners expressed their skepticism over a new recommendation that Forest Service officials say would prohibit new roads but not affect existing ones.

The management plans cover a lot of ground – literally – and one of the issues they include is use of controlled burns, which could have a great impact for Douglas County residents. Remember last year when the smoky haze from Forest Service burns choked the Valley? County officials are concerned that long-term USFS plans could conflict with air regulations and cause health hazards for residents.

The Monday and Tuesday meetings are just the first in the USFS summer roadshow. Open houses are also planned in Reno and Carson City, followed by a second round of meetings at all locations in July.

The Forest Service has indicated public comments could be reflected in future drafts of the plans. Despite that vague assurance, with millions of acres at stake in what we have long held is Nevada’s playground, participating in Monday night’s meeting is a wise investment.