Forest Service open for public comments on Indian sacred sites

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The U.S. Forest Service has opened for public comment through the Federal Register a draft report that outlines its policies and procedures on Indian sacred sites.

The 60-day comment window follows ongoing dialogue between the Forest Service and tribal representatives on sacred sites. The Forest Service will accept public comments on the draft report while honoring its responsibility to consult with Indian tribes, according to a news release.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requested an internal review and consultation with Tribes to determine if existing law, regulations and policies affecting Sacred Sites provide a consistent level of protection. Opening the draft report for public review and comment is in keeping with President Obama’s commitment to government transparency.

Public comments on the report will be accepted from Aug. 5 to Oct. 4. Afterwards Forest Service officials will review and consider all suggestions received.

The draft report is available for review at http://www.fs.fed.us/spf/tribalrelations/sacredsites.

Public comments can be sent to:

U.S. Forest ServiceOffice of Tribal Relations1400 Independence Ave., SWMailstop Code: 1160Washington, DC 20250-1160

Comments also may be submitted by fax to (202) 205-1773 or email to sacredsitescomment@fs.fed.us. The final report is expected to be completed this winter.