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CALIFORNIA - Lassen NF Over-Snow Vehicle (OSV) Use Designation DEIS Available Online

February 16, 2016 6:40 PM

The Forest Service is evaluating its existing management of OSV use on the Lassen National Forest (LNF). The goal of this proposed project is to designate LNF system roads, trails, and areas where OSV use will be allowed, restricted or prohibited. The Forest Service has conducted an environmental analysis of the Lassen National Forest Oversnow Vehicle (OSV) Use Designation. A draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) is now available online at the Lassen National Forest website at

CALIFORNIA - Lassen NF Over-Snow Vehicle (OSV) Use Designation DEIS Available Online

Greetings BRC Action Alert Subscribers,

The Forest Service is evaluating its existing management of OSV use on the Lassen National Forest (LNF). The goal of this proposed project is to designate LNF system roads, trails, and areas where OSV use will be allowed, restricted or prohibited.

The Forest Service has conducted an environmental analysis of the Lassen National Forest Oversnow Vehicle (OSV) Use Designation. A draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) is now available online at the Lassen National Forest website at http://data.ecosystem-management.org/nepaweb/fs-usda-pop.php?project=45832.  The draft discloses the analysis of the environmental impacts of designating snow trails and areas of National Forest System land for OSV use, as well as the grooming of snow trails for OSV use.

Comments on this proposed project will be accepted for 45 days on January 29, 2016. The comment period ends on March 15, 2016. Submit comments to Forest Supervisor of the Lassen National Forest by one of the following methods:

Mail: 2550 Riverside Drive, Susanville, CA 96130
Telephone: (530) 257-2151
Facsimile: (530) 252-6463
Email: comments-pacificsouthwest-lassen@fs.fed.us with Subject: Comments on Lassen OSV Designation in order to be considered when making the final decision.

Office hours, for those who wish to hand deliver their comments, are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday- Friday (except Federal holidays). Acceptable formats for electronic comments are text or html e-mail, Adobe portable document format (.pdf), and formats viewable in Microsoft Office applications (.doc or .docx).

In reviewing the DRAFT Proposed Action for OSV Designation, please consider the following questions: Has the Forest Service missed any major areas or routes that historically have been used by snowmobiles? If so, where and how are they being used? Is the DRAFT Proposed Action clearly stated and mapped?  If not, how can it be improved?

*It is important for OSVers who have knowledge of historical-use patterns to attend the meetings and "ground-truth" the proposed action maps!

LISTED BELOW ARE SOME OSV MANAGEMENT CONCEPTS FOR SUBPART C

ADOPT CURRENT PROGRAM
At the minimum, the FS should adopt current OSV program.

PLAN FOR LOW SNOW YEARS
Analyze higher elevation "plan B" staging areas for low snow years.

UPDATE GROOMING PROGRAM
The grooming program should be dynamic to allow for the grooming or non-grooming of trails
based on use levels and snowfall amounts.  Consider narrow groomed trails (use tractor that does grooming with 8ft or less width) to allow for utilizing more of the narrow OHV trails where a larger groomer cannot fit.  These narrow trails could be for an enhanced backcounty "snow trail" experience. Current groomed trail mandates dictate trail widths of a minimum of 10 feet wide with a typical width of 10 to 14 feet as prescribed by the Forest Service handbook for class 4 trails.

ADVOCATE FOR THE OSV SOUND STANDARD - SAE J2567
The OSV Community at large should advocate for states, and units if needed, to adopt the OSV Sound Test - SAE J2567.  Adoption of the SAE J2567 for OSVs will be an important land-use/mitigation tool to add to our tool box.

REVIEW NON-MOTORIZED LAND CLASSIFICATIONS
Review current non-Wilderness areas that could be reopened or have routes cherry-stemmed for connectivity and/or touring opportunities.  Many 1980-1990s-era Forest Plans used non-Wilderness "non-motorized" classifications to protect the area from timber production or summer wheeled recreation.  OSV recreation (and OHV for that matter) 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 OSV use, including designation of cherry-stemmed routes. 

Consider revising current restrictive language for OSV recreation in current non-motorized land classifications (i.e. Near Natural, etc.) that creates flexibility for the agency to designate routes in said non-motorized land classifications.

REVIEW/UPDATE PARKING AND STAGING
Analyze current parking/staging opportunities and plan to expand or create new parking/staging areas.  On many Forests, the trailhead parking -- including turnarounds for larger vehicles such as motorhomes or extended cab pickups with large trailers -- is not adequate.  The FS should engage related partners, such as state or local road departments and counties, to address parking/staging needs or road use agreements or county route designations where said needs are addressed in the early planning stage. 

This is the lesson learned from Subpart B where the agency developed their OHV route network in a vacuum without engaging various government partners in the scoping process to add functionality to the trail and area network.

CONFLICT OF USES
Designate non-motorized companion trails along motorized routes or designate/groom non-motorized only trails to Wilderness or non-motorized land classification to reduce conflict of uses.  Direct non-motorized uses to non-motorized land classifications.  Consider enhanced staging/parking for non-motorized users so as to provide better access to non-motorized areas.

ENCOURAGE ROBUST STAKEHOLDER INVOLVEMENT IN PLANNING PROCESS
Continue to encourage early participation with local OSV clubs, concessionaires and OSV rental
companies to review current functionality of the OSV program for issues such as needs for seasonal or permanent stream crossings (i.e. installing half culverts, OSV bridges, etc.),  connectivity, trails for both beginner and skilled riders, looped opportunities and adequate open or play areas where new OSV users can practice and improve their skills.

REVIEW EFFICACY of SIGNING PROGRAM
Review (with users and other stakeholders) and update the current signing, as needed, for route identification, Wilderness boundaries, painted parking lines and vehicle circulation at staging areas, and notification of users entering a fee area.

CONSIDER UNIT SPECIFIC FEE "All Pay" PROGRAM IF NEEDED
If funding is a problem, the unit should consider a special user-fee pass/permit system "Fee-Demo" that is specific to an area, Forest, or Ranger District.  Consider on-site self-service stations where a pass can be purchased to support on-the-ground services at said unit.  Fees would be collected from both motorized and non-motorized users.

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. -
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!

  

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