FOREST SERVICE LAUNCHES INTERACTIVE MAP, SEEKING INPUT ON RECREATION SITES

RHINELANDER, Wis. (November 21, 2017) – The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest has launched an interactive map to help gather comments on campgrounds, boat landings, picnic areas and beaches as it works to develop a sustainable recreation program.

"The interactive map allows visitors to click on specific recreation sites and share their comments on how they use the site and why it is important to them," said Jeff Mell, Lands, Recreation and Wilderness program manager for the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

To access the interactive map go to https://go.usa.gov/xnBMf and click on the link to the interactive map and select a recreation site and input your comment.

The comments received will be combined with the Forest's internal analysis and used to develop a draft proposal for a sustainable recreation program. The Forest anticipates sharing a draft proposal in spring 2018.

The Forest is striving to develop a long lasting sustainable program that balances the economic, social and environmental benefits with changing public needs and flat or declining federal budgets. The Forest wants to work with others – tribes, partners, volunteers, visitors, and surrounding communities - to help determine the most suitable activities, investments and locations within the context of other offerings on private and public land.

"The Forest understands that this is not an easy task and it will come with difficult tradeoffs which will affect our communities," said Mell. "However, we can no longer afford to maintain aging facilities, underused picnic areas, campsites and recreation areas."

Many of the Forests recreation assets are starting to show signs of disrepair and the costs to operate and maintain these sites continues to increase to a level that is beyond the Forest's capabilities.

"Prior to 2015, the Forest continued to invest in all of our recreation sites despite financial challenges in the recreation program," said Mell. "Since then, we have temporarily closed or reduced services at some of our recreation areas and focused resources on those that were open. We now need to outline a more permanent solution that sets the recreation program on a sustainable path."

To submit your comments go to https://go.usa.gov/xnBMf and either click on the interactive map or comment form. You may also visit any of the Forest Service offices.

The initial comment period is from November 1 through December 31st. The Forest will also be using comments submitted in the past as part of this process.

For more information about the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest please visit our website at www.fs.usda.gov/CNNF or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CNNF002 or like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CNNF002.

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