Where we all take part in forest planning
If we follow the history of OFP all the way back to its humble beginnings, we find that it all starts with the Proposed Planning Rule, published in the Federal Register in February2011. Here in Region 5 (the Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service) there was a new Ecosystem Planning staff director named Joe Stringer who saw the new Rule as a departure from the past and an opportunity to do things differently. So he proposed the assembly of a 4 person team. He intentionally selected employees who had fresh ideas and were not engrained into or professionally attached to past planning practices.
The team was assembled in the spring of 2011 and was comprised of Matt Carroll, Emily Weidner, Kelly Ross, and Erica Schachtell. They were given office space, boxes of documents, and access to the greatest minds in the game right now: district rangers, supervisors, planning staff, members of the public, concerned groups and organizations, and an unlimited number of engaged partners.
The team’s task was to interpret the new Planning Rule and create a written Bioregional Assessment that would lead Region 5 Forests through the next round of Plan Revisions. Exactly how would they do this? What would their deliverable products look like? Was the task even possible? No one knew. But one thing was made clear: whatever they did, they had to do it within four months.