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MailTribune.com
  • BLM seeking input on forest-uses plan

    Agency wants to hear about cherished spots
  • How do you play in the woods and on the water?
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  • How do you play in the woods and on the water?
    As part of an effort to revise its resource management plan, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Medford District wants to know what draws people outdoors and what they think of specific BLM recreational sites in the district.
    Whether you have a special recreation area you frequent for a relaxing hike or a favorite patch of whitewater you run in the district, the agency wants to hear from you, said district spokesman Jim Whittington.
    The focus is on wild and scenic river use, as well as recreational sites, both disbursed and officially recognized, he said.
    "We know most of the places," Whittington said of disbursed recreational sites. "We want to see which are the most used. We also want to see what recreational issues people care about most."
    The public comments — the deadline is Feb. 18 — will help the agency prioritize management of the recreation sites, he said.
    Feedback from the public would help the agency evaluate existing recreational experiences, as well as the demand for recreation, he added.
    The outreach is part of an effort across Western Oregon to update district management plans put in place in 1995. Since those plans were implemented, recreational activities have changed, officials said.
    Moreover, recreational visits in the district are expected to increase, they note.
    In addition to gathering suggestions and concerns about specific sites, recreational specialists are interested in hearing about associated benefits people receive from recreational activities in the district.
    The agency will host a workshop focusing on recreation from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at the Medford Interagency Office, 3040 Biddle Road, Medford.
    The session will include small-group discussions and a collaborative mapping exercise to collect recreational data from the public. A facilitator will guide participants, who will be encouraged to express their opinions on specific preferences for recreation activities in specific areas, officials said.
    Statewide, there were 5.4 million recreation visits to BLM lands in Western Oregon in 2011, according to the agency. The public continues to demand a diverse range of recreational opportunities in a variety of natural resource settings, it reported.
    Two Web-based interactive sites have been created to gather additional input from the recreation community. The deadline for commenting on those sites is also Feb. 18.
    Those surveys can be accessed at www.blm.gov/or/plans/rmpswesternoregon/reccomments.php and www.blm.gov/or/plans/rmpswesternoregon/rivercomments.php
    Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or pfattig@mailtribune.com.
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