Forest Service seeks public input

AuTRAIN — The U.S. Forest Service is requesting public input for the AuTrain Public Access, Parking and Rehabilitation Project online and through comment cards until Friday.

“We have heard from many people, but we would like to hear from more recreationists who use the area,” said Becky Cain, Forest Service recreation planner.

The Forest Service is preparing an environmental assessment for the project under the National Environmental Policy Act to analyze and disclose the environmental impacts of proposed activities and corresponding alternatives within the project area.

The primary purpose of the project is to move the project area toward the 2006 Hiawatha Forest Plan Forest-wide and Management Area direction. The project is proposed to address needs and opportunities identified by both the Forest Service and local community.

Those needs and opportunities include: increasing public safety, improving public access and parking, decreasing erosion and river sedimentation, improving sanitation, reducing litter, providing sustainable picnic/gathering areas, and improving forest health and vigor while reducing fire fuel loads.

Comments should be within the scope of the proposed action, have a direct relationship to the proposed action and must include supporting reasons for the responsible official to consider. Comments will be used to identify relevant issues, display environmental effects and/or develop a range of reasonable alternatives to the proposed action. A “no action” alternative will also be analyzed.

The preferred method to submit comments is electronically through the Comment Analysis and Response Application database at: cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?Project=49226.

Alternatively, hard copy comments can be mailed to US Forest Service, c/o Au Train River Project, 400 E. Munising Ave., MI 49862 or fax to 906-387-2070.

For additional information contact Cain, West Zone Recreation Planner, Hiawatha National Forest, 906-387-2512 ext. 38 (voice), or go to the HIF website at www.fs.usda.gov/projects/hiawatha/landmanagement/projects.