Derek Dowsett is the Producer of the County Seat. Now entering his 11th season of the program, he has received what he considers a "Crash Course" in County Government.

On August 18th, 2014 the federal register issued a notice that the forest service would assess whether forest plan amendments for grazing would need to be made. The process would look at plans on the Dixie, Fish Lake, and Manti-La Sal Forests.

This notice got the attention of county commissioners from around the state and has been a topic of discussion for months. Some of these commissioners remember what happened to the timber industry after the last plan amendment process. Utah’s timber industry has seen a sharp decline since the 90’s because of a decline in timber sales on federally managed forests.

The major concern of amendments to grazing is that they will further restrict grazing on public lands. In counties like Garfield County that is about 90% federal land this is a huge concern because it could further erode the local economy.

The good news is that the actions of county commissioners from around the state have got the attention of the forest service. At this time there are some agreements being worked out that would stop the current process of amending grazing on the three forests.

While that has changed some of the issues we discussed during the taping of this weekend’ program. There is still the underlying issue of the lack of communication between agencies like the Forest Service and Local Governments in land management decisions.

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