Mark Twain National Forest has developed a five-year program of work to transition to a sustainable recreation program, called the Recreation Facility Strategy (RFS). The RFS is now available for the public to review on the Forest’s website (www.fs.usda.gov/mtnf); and the Forest is currently accepting feedback regarding the proposed RFS.

The Forest offers the full spectrum of outdoor recreation opportunities, attracting visitors from across Missouri and beyond. Its suite of developed campgrounds, less-developed primitive camping areas, beaches, boat launches, picnic areas, non-motorized and motorized trails help get Americans outdoors and contribute economically and culturally to local rural communities.

In 2010, the USDA Forest Service issued new strategic direction for the recreation program called a “Framework for Sustainable Recreation.” In 2012, the Forest Service Planning Rule defined sustainable recreation as “the set of recreation settings and opportunities on the National Forest System that is ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable for present and future generations.” This definition recognizes the role the recreation program plays in supporting the overall Forest Service mission of sustainability. Recreation is very often the portal through which people connect to their national forests. National forest recreation plays a key role in the social stability, environmental integrity, and economic vitality of surrounding communities of place and associated communities of interest.

The increasing costs of operation and maintenance and declining fee collections are two big challenges in the recreation program. The Mark Twain National Forest developed its draft five-year Recreation Facility Strategy to reach a sustainable recreation program, and it did so considering public input provided through the Recreation Site Analysis.

Due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, the Forest’s public collaboration effort will look a little different than normal for this project. In addition to providing information online, Mark Twain National Forest will host three public meetings via teleconference to provide any interested public with an overview of the RFS and help answer questions about the process. Each of these telephone meetings will focus on a different geographic area of the Forest.

•May 26, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. (CST): Discuss RFS and proposed changes to Salem and Potosi/Fredericktown Ranger District

•May 27, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. (CST): Discuss RFS and proposed changed to Eleven Point and Poplar Bluff Ranger Districts

•May 28, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. (CST): Discuss RFS and proposed changes to Ava/Cassville/Willow Springs and Houston/Rolla/Cedar Creek Ranger Districts

Before attending one of the teleconference meetings, please visit the Recreation Site Analysis and Recreation Facility Strategy web page (link to this can be found at the bottom of the Forest’s homepage) to review a video and associated materials which will help guide your review and explain how to provide comments. Each teleconference will be accessible to the public by dialing 844-721-7241 (toll-free) and entering the access code 4357871. These meetings will be recorded

“We look forward to having the public review the information on our website and provide feedback,” stated acting Recreation Officer, Tray Hall.

If you are unable to attend the teleconference meetings, you may also provide input electronically through email, please follow the guidance on the Recreation Facility Strategy website to provide your input. If you are unable to provide comments electronically, your comments can be mailed to:

ATTN: Recreation Facility Strategy Comment

Mark Twain National Forest

401 Fairgrounds Rd.

Rolla, MO, 65401

If you have questions about specific recreation sites, please contact the appropriate District Office. Someone would be happy to assist you. A list of office phone number can be found online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mtnf/about-forest/offices

The Mark Twain National Forest will take into account all comments and feedback received during the public engagement period. The Recreation Facility Strategy is a guiding document to help with recreation planning, and does not fall under National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requirements like a specific project would. However, to ensure the Forest is doing its best to make plans that consider all facts and opinions, feedback received will be evaluated and may be used to make changes to the five-year program of work identified in the Recreation Facility Strategy. We value your feedback and participation throughout this effort. Thank you to those that provided feedback as part of the Recreation Site Analysis process that led to the development of this proposed Recreation Facility Strategy.