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Governor and delegation want public input on forest merger

Dec 26, 2012 - The Associated Press

JACKSON -- Gov. Matt Mead and the state's congressional delegation have asked the U.S. Forest Service to involve the public on the possibility of merging the Caribou-Targhee and Bridger-Teton national forests.

The agency has been undertaking an internal study of the idea. The study is expected to result in a recommendation to the service's regional office before February.

With only about six weeks of closed-door meetings remaining in the process, Wyoming representatives and state politicians are speaking out.

Mead said that what happens to federal land in Wyoming is of great interest to him and the state's residents.

U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Mike Enzi and U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis joined Mead in voicing concern about the need to involve the public.

The proposal has drawn criticism from several quarters, with critics saying the forest already are so big that they stress the administrative capacities of staff. Last week the Teton County Commission went on record opposing any such merger.

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