PROTECT JONES STATE FOREST BY PETITIONING TEXAS A&M FOR A PUBLIC MASTER PLANNING PROCESS

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Please sign the petition below to PROTECT 100% OF JONES STATE FOREST THROUGH REQUESTING TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY FOREST SERVICE TO INITIATE A PUBLIC MASTER PLANNING PROCESS FOR JONES STATE FOREST

 

WHY IS JONES STATE FOREST IMPORTANT?

Excerpt from https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/jones-state-forest/

W.G. Jones State Forest is one of the nation’s largest working urban forests. The primary purpose of this forest is resource education. Sound scientific forest management that protects and perpetuates native flora and fauna is practiced. Demonstration and research areas have been installed to test various forest management techniques, forest genetics, and forest product utilization studies. 

The forest’s location and special ecological distinctiveness makes it one of the region’s unique resources for showcasing research and demonstration in urban forestry issues, environmental education, atmospheric studies, and a host of other opportunities with tomorrow’s leaders, improving communities’ health and outdoor nature connections, and connecting diverse community members to the benefits of natural resource conservation through continuing education.

WHY IS A MASTER PLANNING PROCESS NEEDED FOR JONES STATE FOREST?

Recent state legislation (CSSB 1964) has been working its way through the Texas Legislature.  It needs to be strengthened before it can adequately protect Jones State Forest at the 100% level from any and all development.  While the committee substitute of the bill greatly improved general protections of Jones State Forest compared to the introduced version, there are important management issues that would benefit from public input to a master plan.  A master plan would include these issues:

1.  Address the generalized protection and the generalized permissible actions offered by CSSB 1964 and instead have a specific plan for how the forest is managed.

2.  Identify critical wildlife protection areas

3.  Identify areas of the forest by type of management needed, e.g. removal of invasive species

4.  Identify existing infrastructure (parking, trails, fencing, buildings, roads, etc.) by usage and footprint and address usage and footprint of future infrastructure

The situation of the JSF property is vastly different today from when Texas A&M University assumed management.  In 1949, JSF was completely rural.  Now, the forest is bracketed by development and is a rural island.  The management and development plans of TAMU for JSF are more important now to more people than at any other time in the forest’s history.   

THE PETITION

We respectfully request that Texas A&M University be a good neighbor to all the advocates for Jones State Forest and take the lead on implementing a public master planning process for Jones State Forest that adheres to three important criteria:

1..  The master planning process is PUBLIC.  The planning process would include at least quarterly meetings in Montgomery County with opportunities for public input, and coordination with the City of Conroe and The Woodlands Township, as well as Montgomery County.  Input will be sought from national and state natural resource agencies. 

2.  There are timely start and end dates for the process.  It is suggested that TAMU initiate the process by January 1, 2018, with a first draft available for public comment January 1, 2019 and a final plan by June 30, 2019.

3.  Management of the Jones State Forest will conform to the public master plan

By signing this petition, you will be joining many others who are asking Texas A&M University to agree to implement a public master planning process for the administration of Jones State Forest in a manner that is consistent with the goal of 100% protection.

Thank you for advocating for 100% protection of Jones State Forest for the benefit of all Texas in perpetuity!



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