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Clearwater Travel Plan document available for review

Kamiah, ID, August 11, 2023—A supplemental draft environmental impact statement for the Clearwater National Forest travel plan is now available for a 45-day public review and comment period. The release marks the latest milestone for a project that has been in development for more than 16 years. According to Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Supervisor Cheryl Probert, the supplemental draft environmental impact statement is being prepared to comply with a ruling issued by U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill in December 2022. In response to litigation by Friends of the Clearwater, the Judge remanded the 2017 Clearwater travel plan record of decision, vacated the decision to allow motorized use on the Fish Lake Trail, and gave the Forest until June 1, 2024, to reconsider and further evaluate the travel plan as required in the ruling. “We take the Judge’s order very seriously and are doing our best to resolve the lingering travel plan issues,” Probert stated. The supplemental draft environmental impact statement is narrowly focused on the travel plan’s compliance with forest plan objectives for elk habitat potential and validation that the Forest selected designated routes for motorized use with the objective of minimizing environmental impacts. Reinstating summer motorized use on the Fish Lake Trail and a Forest Plan amendment of current elk habitat potential objectives are also proposed. “It is very important for people to understand this analysis will not re-examine all issues associated with travel planning. Our goal is to comply with the Judge’s orders and fully implement a travel plan that addresses environmental concerns and meets the needs of people,” Probert stated. While the Forest works on the analysis, the popular Fish Lake Trail located in the upper reaches of the North Fork of the Clearwater Basin remains closed.

The supplemental environmental impact statement and additional information can be reviewed on the Forest’s website at Questions about the project should be directed to Andrew Skowlund, North Fork District Ranger at 208-476-4541.