A couple of upcoming public input sessions will be held in Valentine regarding state’s trees and forests.

The first will be held Tuesday, March 3 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., hosted by the University of Nebraska Lincoln Nebraska Forest Service. The Nebraska Forest Service is asking for public input on issues related to the state’s trees and forests during a series of public meetings ahead of the submission of the Nebraska Forest Action Plan, which is a federally mandated document that assesses the condition and trends of the state’s tree and forest resources.  The meeting will provide and overview of the Forest Action Plain, priority forest area, and issues within the respective landscapes. Meeting attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback through the submission comments. The public commenting period runs March 2 through April 15. Any person may review and submit comments online during the commenting period. For more information, please visit: nfs.unl.edu/forest-action-plan

The next public comment meeting will be March 17 and hosted by the USDA Forest Service, which is soliciting public comment for a proposed project to restore and/or maintain the functional ecological value of the native grassland and hand-planted forests in the Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest. The desired outcomes of the project include:

(in grasslands) Large, continuous acreages of native cool- and warm-season grasses without Eastern redcedar trees present; and

(in hand-planted areas) Space between groups of trees and a variety of age classes among the groups.

Proposed actions to meet the purpose and need include cutting, masticating (grinding), and piling live and dead trees; and prescribed broadcast and pile burning. The project area covers the 116,000 acres of the Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest in Cherry County, Nebraska.

To facilitate public involvement, a public meeting will be held in Valentine, NE on Tuesday, March 17 from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm at Mid-Plains Community College at 715 East Highway 20. Project documents are available for review at the Bessey Ranger District or on the Forest websi te at https://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/nebraska/landmanagement/projects.

Comments will be taken until March 30, 2020 and may be given in various ways, including: at the public meeting in Valentine on March 17, 2020; via email, postal mail or hand-delivered to the Bessey Ranger District office. All comment methods may be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/www/nepa/113182_FSPLT3_5239329.pdf