The Custer-Gallatin revision.

Where do you go to recreate? Around here, chances are on the nearly 3.1 million acres of National Forest System lands that make up the Custer Gallatin National Forest. This spring, the CGNF is kicking off a four-year process called the Forest Plan Revision, the guiding foundational document for what we do on national-forest lands, and we need your help.

The first set of public meetings concludes in mid-March, at which point the plan-revision team will look at the interests and issues raised. Where appropriate, information will be considered for inclusion in the assessment of existing conditions, and used in the plan-development phase, which begins in the fall of 2016.

Opportunities for public involvement are woven throughout the process, including formal comment periods at certain stages, and numerous informal opportunities. If interested, you can review previous forest plans at community libraries (see reference desks), meet one-on-one with a Forest Service official, go online and review the public-involvement timeline, or tell us your interests for this forest’s future.

The assessment of existing conditions is the first phase of Forest Plan Revision. This phase starts now and runs through August 2016 when the Forest expects to have a draft assessment available for public review. During this time, interested citizens are invited to provide information about existing conditions, fill information gaps, and identify interests pertinent to particular places or landscapes. Examples include scientific studies pertinent to the Custer Gallatin National Forest landscape, observational data taken in a structured way, and observations on existing conditions, trends, and perceptions across our landscape.

Information can be provided throughout the assessment phase by emailing [email protected] or contacting a Forest Plan Revision public-affairs specialist at 587-6735. Information will be catalogued and considered for inclusion in the assessment, as well as later phases of the revised plan. A catalog of information received will be available for review online at by clicking on the upper right-hand Forest Plan Revision link. We encourage you get involved early in the process and opt into our electronic mailing list on our website.

A forest plan is the overarching document or vision for the forest for decades to come. We encourage you to think about what you want to see on the Custer Gallatin National Forest in the coming years. How can we come together as diverse communities to find common ground and solutions in managing this landscape?

Mariah Leuschen-Lonergan is a public affairs specialist for the Forest Plan Revision planning effort and can be reached at [email protected].