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Pennsylvania State Forest Management Plan Focus of Statewide Public Meetings  

Comment Sought on Proposed Changes to Operations, Policies Within Woodlands

HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – A series of nine
meetings will be held by the state Bureau of Forestry to seek public input
on changes to its master management plan charting the course of
Pennsylvania’s state forests for future generations.
“Implementation of our state forest resource management plan in 2003
gave us a solid foundation from which to manage Pennsylvania’s 2.1 million
acres of state woodlands, but four years brings new threats, challenges and
potential,” said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary
Michael DiBerardinis. “Hearing from the public gives us insight into their
needs and concerns related to the forest, which allows us to adapt our
management strategies.”
The meetings will be held during September and early October throughout
the state and will include a presentation on issues facing state forest
managers followed by a facilitated public discussion.
“Ecosystem management and sustainability remain the mission of the
bureau and the backbone of its management philosophy, but there will be
increased focus on recreation planning and programming, as well as
considering emerging policy issues around wind power, carbon sequestration
and other energy-related activities,” DiBerardinis said.
Highlights of proposed changes to the state forest resource management
plan include:
 – The lifting of a moratorium on shallow-gas drilling; operation would be
considered on a limited, case-by-case basis;
 – Increased attention to invasive species, both insects and plants;
 – Pursuit of opportunities for land acquisition; and
 – Designation of more than 13,000 acres as wild and natural areas, which
was first proposed in 2003.
Detailed information about the plan can be found on the DCNR Web site
at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us (choose Forestry, then State Forest Resource
Management Plan 2007 Update).
Pointing to the recent discovery of the emerald ash borer in western
Pennsylvania, the spread of the wooly adelgid and emergence of other
serious insect and invasive plant threats, DiBerardinis said forest pest
management and ecological efforts will be topics for discussion.
“There is uncertainty about how to monitor and manage these forest
health threats, and we will continue our work to educate the public about
them as well as to pursue research and long-term solutions to these
problems,” said DiBerardinis.
The secretary noted that while the first resource management plan
almost 50 years ago focused on timber management, the new plan and its
recent revisions take an ecosystem approach, with a goal of forest
sustainability in order to provide an array of resources, uses, and values
for current and future generations. A key component of the plan remains
expansion of the state’s wild and natural areas by more than 13,000 acres.
“Some things remain unchanged as we update this management plan,” said
DiBerardinis. “Annual timber harvest goals remain the same, as our
production goals remain on target, and the bureau remains committed to
providing a state forest that is a more diverse mix of young and old growth
to provide a wider range of habitat to benefit wildlife.”
The secretary said there are encouraging signs indicating the balance
between forest habitat and whitetail deer populations is improving, and in
some areas the need for deer fencing to protect young forests is declining.
“The white-tailed deer remains a valuable recreational, economic,
cultural and ecological resource that provides quality hunting
opportunities on DCNR land,” DiBerardinis said.
The meeting dates and locations are:
 – Sept. 12, Ramada Inn, State College;
 – Sept. 18, Renovo Elementary School, Renovo;
 – Sept. 19, Brady Township Community Center, Luthersburg (near Dubois);
 – Sept. 20, Potato City Inn, Coudersport;
 – Sept. 25, Antiochian Village, Ligonier;
 – Sept. 27, The Inn at Reading, French Creek;
 – Oct. 1, Genetti Hotel, Williamsport;
 – Oct. 2, Holiday Inn/Dunmore, Scranton; and
 – Oct. 4, Hotel Carlisle and Embers Convention Center, Carlisle.
Written comments will be accepted until Oct. 31. Interested parties may
submit comments online, at one of the public meetings, or through the U.S.
mail to: DCNR – Bureau of Forestry, State Forest Resource Management Plan
Update, P.O. Box 8552, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8552.
Comments will be summarized, reported and incorporated into the plan in
CONTACT: Terry Brady
(717) 772-9101

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural


23 August 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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