U.S. Forest Service Advisory Committee Issues “Planning Rule” Recommendations

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

An Advisory Committee convened by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has issued detailed recommendations on how to implement the agency’s 2012 “Planning Rule.” The Rule is the master guidance document for developing land-use plans instituted by individual forests. The 21-member committee, comprised of representatives from a wide variety of land-use stakeholders, including motorized recreation, submitted the recommendations to assist the USFS as it prepares final directives for implementing the Rule.

The Planning Rule has been a contentious subject of debate, lawsuits and court actions in recent years. Providing concise meaning to words and phrases used in the planning directives has proven a challenge. The Advisory Committee sought to find consensus.  

Topics included in the recommendations include adaptive management, National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) integration, outreach for diversity, public involvement and collaboration, social economic and cultural assessment, water, wilderness, climate change, species of conservation concern and reducing litigation. Each of these subjects are vital to the planning goals and objectives in the Rule.

The recommendations are designed to guide the USFS as it finalizes Planning Rule directives in 2014. A summary of the recommendations is available. Read the complete report.

For more information, please contact Stuart Gosswein at