Rural communities affected by upcoming changes to the Northwest Forest Plan will get to express their views to the U.S. Forest Service, after U.S. House of Representative members called for their inclusion.

The U.S. Forest Service announced Monday it will hold 12 or more additional listening sessions on proposed revisions to the Northwest Forest Plan, or NFP, including locations in Bend or La Pine, Lakeview, Klamath Falls and Hood River.

Three listening sessions have already been held in Portland, Seattle and Redding. Eleven members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to the Forest Service in March, asking the department to also include rural communities likely to be affected by changes to the NFP.

The plan took effect in 1994. It sets federal policy for 24 million acres of public lands across Oregon, Washington and California overseen by the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service. The plan aims to protect the spotted owl, which was listed as threatened in 1990.

Spotted owl populations continue to decline despite sweeping federal efforts, a fact that has elicited criticism from timber interests.

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