Recreation Task Force
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Jackson Forest Recreation Is in Your Hands

You have only until April 3, 2009 to submit an application to become a member of the newly established "Recreation User Task Force" for Jackson State Forest. If you have a serious interest in enhanced recreation in Jackson Forest, I urge you to submit an application.

The Recreation Task Force is a milestone in the evolution of Jackson Forest toward serving a broad range of public values. Its formation creates an opportunity for those in the community interested in expanded outdoor recreation to play a vital role in shaping a long-term recreation plan for our local 50,000-acre redwood forest. This is a rare opportunity where the state is reaching out and empowering the community to be a major participant in designing enhanced recreation in our forest.

I emphasize that this is a real, rare, and important opportunity. The new management plan mandates that Jackson Forest develop a recreation plan with user help. The independent Jackson Advisory Group considers enhanced recreation a priority for the forest, and the JAG will be participating with the Task Force to assist in ensuring that all are working together constructively.

Further, when the economy recovers and the long-range plan for management of the forest in place, Jackson Forest will have a much larger budget than in the past, and a significant portion of the budget will fund recreation activities. Devoting yourself to the Task Force will not be an exercise in futility, but to the contrary, will result in seeing the fruits of your labor take place throughout the forest.

The Task Force is recruiting recreation users of all kinds. It especially will need representation of what some might consider minor uses, such as mushrooming, bird watching, and nature photographing. There will certainly be applicants from the equestrian and bicycle groups, because there are many in these groups who regularly use and love Jackson Forest. But, a wide variety of interests are sought, as shown by this quote from the formal invitation to apply:

Members may include, but not be limited to JDSF neighbors, cyclists, equestrians, target shooters, teachers, hunters, hikers, campers, bird watchers, mushroomers, nature photographers, trail guide writers, and event organizers.  Applicants should expect to be interviewed.

If you have any of these interests, or others not specified, and the time and energy to make a commitment to the Task Force, pleases submit an application. Remember, the deadline is April 3, 2009. Full details.

The future of recreation in Jackson Forest is in your hands.

To comment on this column, visit Jackson Forum.

[A slightly different version of this was published in the Fort Bragg Advocate/Mendocino Beacon, March 12, 2008.]