[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 218 (Monday, November 13, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 66162-66163]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-19060]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


U.S. Forest Service Open Space Conservation Strategy and 
Implementation Plan

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Request for public input.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Forest Service is inviting all interested members of the 
public to provide input into the development of the USDA Forest Service 
Open Space Conservation Strategy and Implementation Plan, which will 
help shape the agency's strategic role in a national effort to conserve 
open space. The Forest Service is interested in addressing the effects 
of the loss of open space on private forests; on the National Forests 
and Grasslands and surrounding landscape; and on forests in cities, 
suburbs, and towns. Input for the Strategy and Implementation Plan 
should focus on programs, research, partnerships, and/or policy 
recommendations that could be developed to conserve open space. See 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for more background on the loss of 
open space and the Strategy and Implementation Plan.

DATES: The Forest Service will review public input received no later 
than December 13, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Claire Harper, USDA Forest Service, 
Cooperative Forestry, Mail Stop Code 1123, 1400 Independence Avenue, 
SW., Washington, DC 20250-1123; via electronic mail to 
openspace@fs.fed.us; or via facsimile to (202) 205-1271. The agency 
cannot confirm receipt of comments. All comments, including names and 
addresses when provided, are placed in the record and are available for 
public inspection. The public may inspect comments during regular 
business hours at the office of the Cooperative Forestry Staff, 4th 
Floor SE., Yates Building, 201 14th Street, SW., Washington, DC. 
Visitors are encouraged to call ahead to (202) 205-1389 to facilitate 
entry into the building.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general information about the Open 
Space Conservation Strategy and Implementation Plan and the loss of 
open space, contact Claire Harper, USDA Forest Service, Cooperative 
Forestry, by telephone at (202) 205-1389 or by electronic mail at 
openspace@fs.fed.us. For a summary of the Forest Service's current 
research, programs, and resources available to facilitate open space 
conservation, please review the Forest Service's publication entitled 
``Cooperating Across Boundaries: Partnerships to Conserve Open Space in 
Rural America.'' Electronic copies of this publication are available at 
http://www.fs.fed.us/projects/four-threats/documents/
cooperatingacrossboundaries.pdf, and hardcopies are available by 
contacting Claire Harper at openspace@fs.fed.us. 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    In 2003, Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth identified the loss of 
open space as one of four great threats facing our nation's forests and 
grasslands. Loss of open space is an issue that affects the 
sustainability of both the National Forests and Grasslands and private 
forests. Open space--including public and private land, wilderness and 
working land--provides a multitude of public benefits and ecosystem 
services we all need and enjoy. Three interrelated trends of 
conversion, fragmentation, and parcelization are jeopardizing the long 
term health and function of forests, limiting management options, and 
reducing opportunities for public enjoyment and use. To address the 
loss of open space threat, the Forest Service is building a national 
strategy to identify how the agency plans to focus its efforts on the 
issue. This strategy will provide actions and policy recommendations to 
conserve open space, with an emphasis on partnerships and collaborative 
approaches.

II. Open Space Conservation Strategy and Implementation Plan

    The Forest Service recognizes that it is not the only contributor 
to open space conservation; it is only one among many. The Forest 
Service also acknowledges that the agency's role in open space 
conservation is not to regulate development or land use, but is to 
provide expertise, resources, information, and programs. To help 
prioritize and focus the agency's efforts, the Forest Service plans to 
develop and refine an Open Space Conservation Strategy and 
Implementation Plan to address the loss of open space.
    Input for the Strategy and Implementation Plan should focus on 
programs, research, partnerships and/or policy recommendations that 
could be

[[Page 66163]]

developed to conserve open space. Specifically, input regarding the 
following three questions is most useful:
    1. How can the Forest Service protect land from conversion to other 
uses;
    2. How can the Forest Service assist private landowners and 
communities in maintaining and managing their land as sustainable 
forests and grasslands; and
    3. How can the Forest Service mitigate the impacts of existing and 
new developments.
    By receiving input from people with diverse interests and 
perspectives, the agency hopes to attain an array of viewpoints and 
ideas regarding the Open Space Conservation Strategy and Implementation 
Plan. Feedback from a range of interested individuals will assist the 
agency in developing a well-informed, focused, and effective strategy 
to address the loss of open space threat.

    Dated: November 2, 2006.
Dale N. Bosworth,
Chief, Forest Service.
 [FR Doc. E6-19060 Filed 11-9-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-P