[Tagging] Feature Proposal - RFC - boundary=forest(_compartment) relations

Kevin Kenny kevin.b.kenny at gmail.com
Sun Jan 31 15:01:36 UTC 2021

On Thu, Jan 28, 2021 at 10:25 AM Brian M. Sperlongano <zelonewolf at gmail.com>

> For this proposed forestry boundary tagging, there are legitimate
> contentious issues here with the intersection between
> boundary=protected_area and boundary=forestry that I really think deserve
> wide input.  It's still not clear to me whether or how this new tagging
> would apply to US National Forests - is it the whole boundary or just
> internal forestry areas, and if just internal, I'm not sure how one would
> determine (for this specific case in the US) which internal area would be
> considered a forestry area vice just a wilderness area that happens to be
> covered with trees.  From what I've seen of these examples, it sounds like
> in many cases "state forests" in the US are not forestry areas but just
> regular protected wilderness, though it gets fuzzy since forestry is
> apparently about "more than just timber production".

Timber production, species protection, water conservation, fish and game
management, public recreation,

> I assume that other countries have similar areas to US National Forests
> with differing definitions that may or may not apply under these
> definitions and I think it's important that folks more familiar with how
> these types of areas are set up in various countries weigh in on how well
> these definitions apply in various places.

I've not actually seen that much call for the distinction between
'forestry' and 'non-forestry' areas of National Forests, so much as the
distinction between the proclamation boundary and the 'fee simple'
boundary.  The outer proclamation boundary is the National Forest only in
that the Forest Service is authorized to purchase land (presuming that
appropriations exist for the purpose) within it. It has zero impact on the
land management otherwise, and is ordinarily unsigned. Even many residents
are unaware that they live within a proclamation boundary unless the
proclamation is relatively recent - there are cities in Utah that lie
largely inside the boundaries, and nobody considers them to be forest lands
in any way.

With that said, National Forests are indeed multi-purpose; they serve a
complex variety of ends. OSM's data model presumes that a
government-managed area is managed for a single purpose, but that's not the
way that the USFS or BLM (or for that matter NYS DEC) operate.

With regard to State Forests, New York's areas with that title are all at
least hypothetically available for production, with recreation and fish and
game management as secondary objectives. (In practice, they may be managed
as wilderness areas that happen to lie outside the Blue Line
that delineates the proclamation boundary of the Forest Preserve, but in
most cases that could be changed with a simple executive order.)

They should not be confused with Wild Forests, which are areas where the
state constitution prohibits the sale of the area or the harvest or
destruction of the timber. and which are one tier of protection below
Wilderness Areas. For the latter two, the distinctions are not obvious to
most visitors - the most obvious is that Wild Forests may support some
grade4 and grade5 tracks, allowing for uses such as mountain biking and
snowmobiling, and for motorized access for persons with disabilities. It's
also permissible in some cases to operate float planes on the waterways,
which is a no-no in wilderness areas. Wild Forests also often have
extremely diffuse boundaries - becoming aggregates of many disconnected
parcels - because they do not have a legal requirement for contiguous
parcel size. If memory serves, a Wilderness Area must ordinarily be at
least 10,000 acres (a little over 40 kmĀ²) of contiguous land.

It gets complicated fast. Some of New York's larger state parks (Allegany,
Bear Mountain-Harriman-Sterling Forest, Moreau Lake, Fahnestock, etc.)
contain tracts that are managed as wilderness to all intents and purposes.
But it's a completely different law authorizing their creation, and a
completely different executive department managing them - right down to the
fact that the rangers have an entirely different chain of command.

I could discuss at length the whole zoo of Canoe Area - basically, a
Wilderness Area where road and trail access is not a priority, Primitive
Area - an area with some asset that is inconsistent with a wilderness
designation but for which no specific timetable can be assigned for
removal, and about a dozen other generic templates for management plans,
but that starts falling into, 'don't map the local law'. I link them all to
web pages that are only a click or two away from the detailed unit
management plans so that interested users can find them. That's good enough
for OSM. And I say this as someone who takes an interest in such things,
since I'm a hiker who occasionally ventures off-trail and need to know the
regulations for the specific area I'll be visiting.

73 de ke9tv/2, Kevin
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