Steven K. Beverlin, Forest Supervisor Malheur National Forest; Eric Watrud, Forest Supervisor; Umatilla National Forest; Thomas Montoya, Forest Supervisor, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest contributed to this letter.

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Dear Friends of the Blue Mountains,

As National Forest Supervisors, we would like to thank everyone who contributed to the Revised Blue Mountains Forest Plan. On June 29, we published the Revised Forest Plan and supporting documents for the Malheur, Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests (Blue Mountains) — available at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/BlueMountainsPlanRevision. The credit for the Revised Forest Plan goes to all of the individuals and entities who have been involved over the years.

The purpose of the Revised Forest Plan is to provide an updated framework to guide the management of approximately 5.5 million acres of public lands in Eastern Oregon and Southeast Washington. We are committed to working with you, our diverse public and stakeholders, to implement the Revised Forest Plan once it is finalized by the Regional Forester. Our aim is to keep improving the condition of these National Forests while also supporting the prosperity and well-being of local communities. For example, the Revised Forest Plan was designed to contribute to the recovery of Endangered Species Act-listed fish, including salmon and steelhead, as well as other species, while continuing to support multiple uses such as timber harvest and livestock grazing.

The Revised Forest Plan honors the time and energy invested by many people since 2004. Since then we have worked with a diversity of partners to organize more than 120 opportunities for public and stakeholder input, plus many other informal opportunities for information exchange. The values of transparency and inclusiveness have guided the plan revision process at each phase. Although this approach has taken more time, it has resulted in a stronger Revised Forest Plan that represents the many different views, uses and interests in these National Forests.

We are grateful to each person who has invested time in this planning effort. We also appreciate those who continue to engage in the objection process. The objection-filing period is scheduled to end Aug. 28. If you would like to file an objection, please carefully follow the instructions provided in the Federal Register Notice and the Objection Process Brochure, both available on our website. It is the responsibility of Objectors to demonstrate their standing on specific issues based on their previous substantive formal comments submitted during the 2010 formal scoping period or the 2014 formal comment period.

The next step after the objection-filing period will be a 90-day resolution period overseen by a Washington, D.C.-based Reviewing Official. Keep in mind that individuals or entities with standing may request Interested Person status as an alternative to filing an objection. Interested Persons may participate in resolution discussions about specific issues raised by Objectors.

To have standing, Interested Persons must have previously submitted substantive formal comments related to the objection issues during the 2010 formal scoping period or the 2014 formal comment period. Interested Persons must file a request to participate as an Interested Person within 10 days after a “legal notice of objections received” has been published following the objection-filing period. In their request, the Interested Persons must identify the specific issues that they have interest in discussing during the objection meeting(s) in order to participate in those discussions. We will provide further instructions on how to request Interested Person status shortly after the objection-filing period concludes.

For now, if you have participated in this plan revision process over the years, please accept our sincere thanks for your contributions.

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