Park Service gets big response to proposed plan for Current and Jacks Fork rivers

Monday, January 18, 2010

VAN BUREN, Mo. -- Officials at the Ozark National Scenic Riverways this week released a summary of the comments they received from the public on their proposed management plan, which will guide operations along the Current and Jacks Fork rivers for the next 15 to 20 years.

Comments were accepted during a four-month period last summer after National Park Service officials published a newsletter summarizing several management alternatives.

Five public meetings also were held in June to garner public input, with more than 1,000 people attending.

"We're pleased we have such a broad interest," said Ozark National Scenic Riverways public information offlcer Dena Matteson, who added that "a little over 5,000 comments were received."

Documentation of the comments is available on the Ozark National Scenic Riverways website, Matteson said.

"The documents show we did listen to the public," Matteson said. "Managers have not made any decisions. They are trying to collect as much input and research as possible."

Ozark National Scenic Riverways personnel will use the comments gathered last summer to revise their management plan alternatives and, after more research, will issue a Draft General Management Plan/Wilderness Study/Environmental Impact Statement, and their preferred alternative, sometime in the future.

"We're not putting a time frame on it," said Matteson, "because there's so much public interest. Plus, management wants to assess all the input and gather research before making a decision."

Another public comment period will follow publication of the plan, after which the NPS midwest regional director will make a final decision.

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