A study that could result in the closure of campgr Advanced Tomato Growing Secrets- Your Questions Answered ounds and other facilities in the country’s national forests will be opened to greater public scrutiny, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The Aspen (Colo.) Times reported that the agency won’t make any decisions on closures for the next two months so an internal “review team” can assess how to broaden citizen involvement in the process, according to Joel Holtrop, a deputy chief of the Forest Service. The review committee will make recommendations April 2.
Holtrop acknowledged the review team was organized in response to increased public and media attention to the effort.
Conservation groups have warned the agency’s Recreation Sites Facility Master Plan process will lead to closures of campgrounds, historic sites and other recreation amenities without public input.
“There are people very concerned in numerous areas,” said Robert Funkhouser, president of the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition, based in Norwood, Colo. He said concerns over the process have spread to some members of Congress, and that has caught the attention of Forest Service officials.
“Obviously, they’re under some pressure, some heat from Congress,” Funkhouser said.
Holtrop stressed multiple times in a briefing for reporters that the facilities master plan isn’t designed with quotas in mind for closure of facilities. The agency isn’t trying to cut a specific amount from its budget, he claimed.
Instead, the plan is meant to determine what the public wants and desires when it visits national forests and grasslands, and to determine how facilities stack up, Holtrop said.
Funkhouser said the Forest Service’s plans at individual forests have largely been kept under wraps. What has leaked out has been “pretty ugly” because of the number of closures, he said.