The Siuslaw National Forest and the Coos Bay District of the Bureau of Land Management are seeking public input on the management of the Devils Staircase Wilderness and two wild and scenic rivers — Wasson and Franklin creeks.
The wilderness area and creeks are located east of Reedsport, between the Smith and Umpqua rivers, and were designated for special protections by Congress in March of 2019.
At present, the two agencies are cooperatively developing management plans that will guide administrative and public use of the special landscapes.
“Wilderness areas and wild and scenic rivers are special places for many reasons, but most unique is the way in which they are managed,” said Robert Sanchez, Siuslaw Forest supervisor. “Public input about recreation, special uses, wildlife habitat, and other values and opportunities will help us steward these areas for years to come.”
As an early step in the planning process, the BLM and Forest Service are asking members of the public to share their interests, values, and knowledge about these areas. The public is invited to comment through an online platform, which allows individuals to provide information on specific locations within the project area. Additionally, the online platform explains what Wilderness and Wild & Scenic River designations mean and contains a preview of the upcoming planning process. Comments will be most helpful if received by March 5, 2021.
“People stepped forward to share how special these areas are to Western Oregon, which led to their designations as Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers. Now, input from the public will help us ensure we manage these areas to preserve what makes them unique,” said Steve Lydick, acting Coos Bay District manager.
Information provided by the public will help land managers develop the Comprehensive River Management Plan (CRMP) for Wasson and Franklin creeks, as well as craft an amendment to the Siuslaw Land and Resource Management Plan (also known as the Forest Plan) for the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness. Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers have special federal protections that encourage minimal interference and human impacts on the natural landscape, and these planning documents will help the agencies meet their legal and regulatory management requirements. This is the first of multiple opportunities members of the public will have to contribute to the planning process.