Every five years, the public has the opportunity to share their thoughts about the strategic future of the recreation program on Mark Twain National Forest (MTNF); and right now is one of those opportunities.
A process called Recreation Site Analysis (RSA) has begun, and MTNF will be accepting public comments through March 6, 2020. Public comments will provide insight to help recreation staff understand the trends in use. Specifically, MTNF is looking for comments regarding developed recreation sites, such as campgrounds, boat landings, and picnic areas.
Cory Roegner, Forest Recreation Officer, stated, “We want our visitors to enjoy the Forest, and recreation activities need developed recreation sites to support them; so we are going to do our best to balance budgets and demands while being future-focused through this process.”
Many of the recreation sites on MTNF are starting to show signs of disrepair, and the costs to operate and maintain these sites has increased over time to a level that is unsustainable. Given current and projected financial and staffing constraints, some difficult decisions are expected to be necessary for MTNF to provide quality and sustainable recreation opportunities for the long-run; and that is why we want to engage early with those that love to visit the forest.
The comments received will be combined with the Forest’s internal analysis and used to develop a draft proposal for a sustainable recreation program. A draft proposal is expected to be released in May 2020, which will also be open to public comment.
Comments could include, but are not limited to, such things as:
— What are your favorite recreation sites on MTNF and why?
— What would you like to see more (or less) of at a specific developed recreation site on MTNF?
— Are there amenities lacking at any MTNF recreation site? If so, what site and what do you want to see there? Are there any sites you think should be closed or have services reduced to shift funding to another site?
— Are there trends in recreation you are seeing that MTNF should consider during this process?
To submit your comments please email them to SM.FS.MTNF_Rec@usda.gov or you can bring written comments to any of our offices.