Fresno residents speak out about forest service plans

FRESNO, Calif.

Ed Hampton of Clovis wants wilderness protection for the Dinkey Creek area.

"Right now Dinkey Creek doesn't have any dams or anything on it and it's in Fresno County and its pristine creek and it would be nice to get that area protected so our kids and everybody else will have that area protected be able to enjoy it like we have all our lives," Hampton said.

John Stewart who represents the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs wants to make sure they have access to the forest.

"A lot of our members have a high value of recreation in the Sierra Forest and they are very concerned about what this forest plan will mean to them and their recreation opportunities."

Dave Martin says the Forest Service is taking this all in as part of its land use planning for the next 20 years.

"Times change, people change, populations change and public land management needs to change with it," Martin said.

One change many here are concerned about is habitat protection for the Yellow Legged Frog and Yosemite Toad. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are analyzing ways to protect the creatures, but the Forest Service has already been protecting them in the Sierra National Forest.

" And the types of things we've been doing to help insure their populations don't decline we're pretty confident will lead to not changing much at all if anything how we are actually doing things on the land right now," Martin said.

Friday's meeting is just one in a series of hearings to get public input on forest plans that will be drawn up over the next year.

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