US Forest Service

Forest Service looks for public feedback about Tofte Landscape Project

In recent years, the U.S. Forest Service considered a new approach to vegetation management in the Tofte Ranger District in northeastern Minnesota. The new approach was dubbed the “Tofte Landscape Project.” It was created with the idea of allowing the Forest Service to more rapidly respond to changing conditions in the woods while still complying with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

In an introduction to the Tofte Landscape Project, it was explained that Forest Service staff have recognized the need for a process that could allow managers to conduct “the right treatment on the right acre at the right time.”

The Forest Service identified a different planning approach to address these challenges and opportunities through comparing current conditions with forest management and vegetation objectives. Known as ‘condition-based management,’ this approach differs from traditional forest planning by allowing greater flexibility to select treatments and stands across the landscape during the total life of the project, according to Tofte District Ranger Ellen Bogardus-Szymaniak.

Comments must be submitted in writing, electronically or by U.S. mail, within 30 days from the date the legal notice is published in the Duluth News Tribune. The Forest Service anticipates that a legal notice will be published on or by June 15.

To highlight various aspects of the Tofte Landscape Project, the Forest Service is hosting a virtual open house Wednesday, June 30 from 5 to 7 p.m.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with the Tofte district ranger to learn more about the project. Listen to the audio below to hear their conversation from June 2021.

Click here to learn more about the Tofte Landscape Project.