Forest Service Proposal to Change Wildlife Protection in National Forests

By Mitch Lex

The U.S. Forest Service released a proposal last month that will change the protection of wildlife and habitats against logging, mining and livestock grazing throughout 193 million acres of National Forest. Released as part of the final environmental impact statement for the rule, this is the fourth time since 2000 that the Forest Service has attempted such a proposal. The three previous proposals were all found to be unlawful.

Huron National Forest, Photo: Pure Michigan

Enacted in 1976, The National Forest Management Act created by Congress was designed to guide the management of the national forest system. National regulations were adopted by the Forest Service in 1982 to monitor actions such as logging, mining, livestock grazing and certain types of recreation. The rule included mandatory protection of fish and wildlife habitats and required the Forest Service to maintain populations. The plan would require that the Forest Service only maintain viable populations for species of “conservation concern.”

While this proposal may not directly affect MNA properties, it does impact the national forests that form a network with our sanctuaries.  For 60 years, MNA has been protecting endangered and threatened species, and every endangered plant species in Michigan can be found in our sanctuaries. This protection is made possible by working together with national forests such as Huron and Hiawatha to ensure that rare and endangered plants and animals can continue to live in safe habitats.

Check out the Forest Service website and this national forest interactive map for more information.