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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, July 7, 2004


Craters comment deadline approaching

Final plan to be out by end of 2004

Express Staff Writer

Less than a month remains to comment on the draft management plan for the expanded Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.

The 90-day public comment period on the 400-page draft plan ends July 29.

This is the final opportunity for people to get involved in developing the plan that will guide management of the monument for the next 15 to 20 years, said Jim Morris, the monumentís superintendent.

Craters of the Moon National Monument was expanded by presidential proclamation Nov. 9, 2000. With the signing of that document, the monument grew from 54,000 acres to 755,000 acres. But a management strategy for the vastly larger monument was needed.

The draft plan is the result of three years of collaboration between the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management. The process included involvement with the public and other cooperating agencies to develop one comprehensive management plan for the monument.

If things go according to schedule, the new plan could be in place by January.

"The draft plan identified a preferred alternative as well as three other possible courses of action describing levels of development, transportation and access, and managing cultural and natural resources," Morris said. "We want people to tell us what they like or donít like about the alternatives. The interagency team will consider all public comments received as a final plan of action is developed."

But so far, the agencies have only received about 20 letters and a batch of form e-mails.

"It may be that people are waiting for the last moment, or they may like what they see in the plan," Morris said. "Or maybe itís just summertime, and everyone has a lot going on."

However, comments have been helpful so far. Morris said that the most helpful comments sight specific attributes of the proposal and reasons for positive or negative reivews.

The draft plan was released April 30, and copies are available at public libraries throughout the region, as well as online at www.id.blm.gov/planning/index.htm.

Comments should be sent by July 29 to the Craters of the Moon Planning Team, Shoshone BLM Field Office, 400 West F Street, Shoshone, ID 83352. They can also be sent via e-mail to ID_Craters_Plan@blm.gov.

"This is it," Morris said. "We will be put together a plan, and hopefully we wonít still be revisiting this a year from now."


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