Black Hills National Forest beginning the process of revising its Forest Plan

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 6:04 PM CDT
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CUSTER, S.D. (KOTA) - It’s been more than 20 years since the Forest Plan for the Black Hills National Forest saw revisions. Officials are saying the time has come for more changes.

The Black Hills National Forest is beginning the process of revising its Land and Resource Management Plan. The Forest Plan, as its also known, is the primary guide for forest officials to manage the land.

Jeff Tomac, Black Hills National Forest Supervisor said that the revision will take several years to complete, and will take into consideration all current aspects of the forest.

“They range anywhere from the soil, air, water quality, natural resources, areas of importance to Native American tribes in the Black Hills, as well as many uses of the Black Hills,” Tomac said. “Whether it’s the recreation component, or timber, or livestock grazing, the many, many uses of the Black Hills National Forest.”

The first step in the plan modification is to identify new trends in the landscape that calls for closer attention.

Tomac said that one of those trends is the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation, which he says has raised serious questions about timber production in the Black Hills.

“The Mountain Pine Beetle will be taken into account as we move forward on what is sustainable. The Black Hills National Forest’s timber sustainability will be an issue as we move forward.”

He adds that once the process is underway, public input will be essential in making modifications to the plan. He says several public meetings are to be during the revision.

The last time the Forest Plan was amended was in 2006.

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