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Kentucky Has Stake in New National Forest Rules

February 14, 2012

FRANKFORT, Ky. - In just over two weeks, new rules will take effect that federal officials say are designed to better balance wildlife, timber and recreational issues in Kentucky's Daniel Boone National Forest and others like it, nationwide.

Lane Boldman deals with forest issues for the Kentucky Sierra Club. She says the first forest planning update in 30 years should help address some longstanding issues.

"We've had a lot of impacts with damage to trees, we've had the pine beetle, and then also there's been impacts to the watershed. And what this proposed plan is doing is looking at everything holistically, and we think that's the right approach."

Boldman says the management plan should also offer a better perspective on the value of lands in national forests.

"Oftentimes, land will be designated, say, for logging and mining and hasn't taken into account that there's actually probably a better use for recreation, or more potential for creating jobs through the recreational channels."

Boldman believes the blueprint should also bring benefits to Kentucky's 90,000 miles of streams. In terms of timing for the new rules, Boldman says the important thing is, they're here now.

"This kind of stuff is long overdue. There should have been a lot more clarity on the management process long ago, and so, that's part of the reason we're glad to see that there's movement in this area."

The Forest Service says the new guidelines will give individual forest managers more flexibility to respond to changing conditions, and should speed up the process of developing new forest management plans.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - KY