The Draft Plan lays out four alternatives, and Alternative B is the Inyo’s preferred option. While Alternative B includes recommendations for a small amount of new wilderness and gives some consideration to sustainable recreation and other conservation issues, it could be more specific about how to protect the places and activities that make our lives, our landscapes, and our livelihoods vibrant here in the Eastern Sierra. The open comment period closes on August 25, so now is the time for you to tell the Inyo National Forest how you feel about places and issues you love and how we can ensure they last for future generations.
The Forest Plan’s preferred alternative recommends 37,000 acres of new wilderness on the Inyo National Forest including additions to the South Sierra, White Mountains, and Piper Mountain Wilderness Areas, however it does not recommend any new wilderness in Mono County. Potential wilderness areas that should also be recommended include the Glass Mountains, Ansel Adams Wilderness Addition, and other areas that meet wilderness standards for high quality ecological conditions and primitive recreation.
While the Draft Plan recognizes the need for sustainable recreation, it should go beyond desired conditions by including standards and guidelines that ensure adequate protection and maintenance of national forest recreation areas. The plan should also provide direction to improve education and interpretation and it should commit to more robust partnerships between local communities and partner groups to help steward the national forest.
Meadows provide important habitat for aquatic species and native plants, improved water quality, and a wonderful place for us to recreate. The Draft Forest Plan would better care for meadows across the Eastern Sierra by including specific standards and guidelines that call for meadow restoration, protection and monitoring.
At Risk Species
The Black-Backed Woodpecker thrives in recently burned forests where they flake bark off dead trees while searching for insects. The Black-Backed Woodpecker needs to be listed as a Species of Conservation Concern. The Draft Forest Plan needs to do more to ensure this and other Species of Conservation Concern thrive by including specific standards and guidelines that guide forest managers to preserve habitat and protect important species.
Wild and Scenic Rivers
The Draft Plan identifies nearly 160 milesof rivers and streams eligible for Wild and Scenic River protection across the Inyo National Forest. Eastern Sierra streams include Rock Creek, South Fork Bishop Creek, and Big Pine Creek, which will ensure ecological integrity and recreational quality, however the lower reaches of Mono Basin tributaries and streams in the eastern portion of the Forest are crucial watersheds that also deserve protection.
*Glass Creek Meadow and Hot Creek photos by Sam Roberts. Black-Backed Woodpecker courtesy of the Sierra Club. All other photos by Ben Wickham.