Sharetrails Archive Site
Return to Current Site

NEW MEXICO - Carson NF Request Public Comment on the Needs to Change Management Direction of its Existing 1986 Forest Plan

October 28, 2015 3:46 PM

The Carson National Forest has completed its Assessment Report. The assessment describes the current ecological, social, and economic conditions and trends of forest resources per the USDA Forest Service 2012 Planning Rule. These are the resource areas (vegetation, water, soil, air, riparian areas, etc.) and benefits we provide which are at risk of not being sustainable now and into the future. With the Assessment, the Carson NF has also completed the Needs to Change Management

NEW MEXICO - Carson NF Request Public Comment on the Needs to Change Management Direction of its Existing 1986 Forest Plan

Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,

The Carson National Forest has completed its Assessment Report. The assessment describes the current ecological, social, and economic conditions and trends of forest resources per the USDA Forest Service 2012 Planning Rule. These are the resource areas (vegetation, water, soil, air, riparian areas, etc.) and benefits we provide which are at risk of not being sustainable now and into the future. With the Assessment, the Carson NF has also completed the Needs to Change Management Direction of its Existing 1986 Forest Plan. This document identifies current plan management direction which needs to change in order to address the risks as identified through public involvement and the assessment process.

The Carson National Forest is entering phase 2 of the plan revision process, development of a revised plan. The Carson National Forest has published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to revise the Carson National Forest Land Management Plan and prepare an associated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The NOI describes the Proposed Action to revise the forest plan in order to address the Needs to Change. The full text of the NOI is available on the Federal Register. The forest is accepting comments on the Proposed Action and Needs to Change. Alternatives to the Proposed Action will be developed to address significant issues identified through public comment. Comments will be most useful if received by November 20, 2015.

Comments may be submitted to carsonplan@fs.fed.us or by mail to: Carson National Forest, Forest Plan Revision, 208 Cruz Alta, Taos, NM 87571.

BRC believes that OHV recreationists should ask the agency to develop travel management strategies as part of their forest planning efforts.

Here are several concepts that should be included in the forest plan revision process:

ML 3 Roads to Trails - Reclassify ML3 roads to ML2 roads. Reclassify ML2 roads to motorized trails or manage appropriate ML2 roads as "roads managed as trails." Manage appropriate ML1 roads as "motorized trails."

ML 2 Roads to Trails - Convert "roads-to-single track trails" or "roads-to-motorized trails less than 50 inches in width" and "roads managed as motorized trails greater than 50 inches in width" as a tool to help the agency achieve its budget objectives while still providing a substantive and high quality recreational route network.

Single Track Trails - 2005 Forest Service Travel Management Rule (TMR) Subpart B planning efforts in California and other Western States resulted in the loss of many, if not most, of our historic single-track motorcycle trails.  Historic and legal motorized single-track opportunities such as enduro trails, old pack-mule/mining or pioneer trails were simply eliminated from consideration due to time constraints.

During Subpart B of Travel Management, the Forest Service promised OHV leadership that once these initial "foundational" route networks were established and codified that they would work with the users to either bring some of these historic single-track opportunities "back onto the system" or construct new engineered single-track system trails.

BRC believes that a strategy should be developed to replace the lost single- track experience. Retention or enhancement of high quality single-track dirt-bike trails is no different than keeping or enhancing "quiet" single-track hiking, equestrian, and mountain-bike trails.

Wet Weather Closures - Any TMR-based wet weather closure strategy should allow for native surfaced trails and roads to be open when soil conditions/lack-of-rainfall permits. If a wet weather closure is needed, the implementing Forest Order should be for the shortest period of time rather than a longer time period. In NEPA, it is always easier to extend a short closure versus repealing a longer closure.

Mitigate Trail Impacts from Non-Recreation Projects - The impacts from non-recreation projects such as vegetative treatments and wildlife protection efforts often include obliteration of the trail or removal of water control structures such as rolling dips and catch basins. Those trail mitigations can often cost $15,000 to $20,000/mile to install (or replace).  BRC recommends that "trail mitigation" guidelines be added to relevant non-recreation projects.

Review non-motorized land designations - BRC believes the Forest should review current non-Wilderness areas that could be reclassified, reopened, or have cherry-stemmed routes designated for connectivity and/or touring opportunities.  Many 1980-1990s-era Forest Plans used non-Wilderness "non-motorized" classifications to restrict or prohibit summer wheeled recreation. In many cases, OHV was simply not at the table or given substantive consideration during these programmatic planning efforts. In some areas these classifications such as "Near Natural" or "Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized" had the effect of functionally banning OHV use including designation of cherry-stemmed routes. The Forest Plan Revision process is the appropriate planning tool to reclassify lands for managed OHV recreation.

Please share the aforementioned OHV related strategies with agency staff.

For additional information on the Forest Plan Revision contact Kevin Naranjo, Forest Planner, (575) 758-6221, or visit the Carson National Forest Plan Revision Website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/carsonforestplan.

Thanks in advance and, as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact BRC.

Ric Foster
Public Lands Department Manager
BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext. 2
 

The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) is a national non-profit organization that champions responsible recreation and encourages a strong conservation ethic and individual stewardship, while providing leadership in efforts to keep outdoor recreation alive and well -- all sports; all trails. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education and collaboration among recreationists. The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) season is here. Federal employees, please mark BlueRibbon Coalition and Check #11402 on your CFC pledge form to support our efforts to protect your access. Join us at 1-800-BLUERIB - www.sharetrails.org
_______________________________________________________

As a non-profit, grassroots organization funded primarily by membership dues and donations, we greatly appreciate your support. Visit http://archive.sharetrails.org/make-a-difference-now to help fund our efforts to protect your trails!

  

May 31, 2016 10:48 AM
MONTANA - Custer Gallatin NF Forest Plan Revision June Public Meetings Announced
In January, the 3.1 million acre Custer Gallatin National Forest started on a Forest Plan Revision, a four-year process that will ultimately give way to a new forest plan. The Forest Service will host a second set of public meetings across various communities between June 14 and June 30. The focus of this second set of meetings will be the preliminary results from the Assessment of Existing Conditions to date and provide a forum for those attending the meetings and
May 23, 2016 1:40 PM
Sawtooth National Recreation Area Wants Your Input on the Wood River Travel Plan
The Sawtooth National Recreation Area (NRA) is announcing the availability of the proposed action for the Big Wood Travel Management Plan. The purpose of this plan is to bring road and trail use into compliance with the Forest Plan, laws, and regulations; to provide a system of roads and trails for public access and recreational travel; to manage resource impacts that are occurring due to the use of roads and trails; and to rehabilitate non-system routes identified as a problem
May 20, 2016 8:32 AM
CALIFORNIA - Public Invited to Rasor Off-Highway Vehicle Area Tour and Comment
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Barstow Field Office, has scheduled three tour rides of the Rasor Road Off-Highway Vehicle Area OHV area to identify locations used for riding, camping, as well as to assess use habits and general conditions of the area. The California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan of 1980 mandated a recreation plan to address the intensive OHV activity of the Rasor Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Area. Public meetings were held on April 28, May 5, and May 12
[Action Alerts Archive]