OAKHURST, CA (September 18) -- A field review by national and local motorized recreation groups of the Sierra National Forest near Yosemite reveals the complex nature of travel management planning on federal lands. The BlueRibbon Coalition, a national recreation group, and the Fresno-based Stewards of the Sierra National Forest, toured proposed routes in the Forest's Miami Motorized Vehicle Use Area on September 14, 2008.
Stewards of the Sierra National Forest are submitting comments and proposing an alternative in the DEIS that they hope will inspire the Forest to meet users halfway. Some club members are hopeful the agency will come forward with a plan that designates at least 250 miles of historic user routes in this once Open Forest, where cross-country travel was the legal and valid travel prescription.
Don Amador, Western Representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition, states, "I think the success of travel planning will depend on whether the public perceives the agency as striking a balance and meeting all users at a middle point. Just how the Forest Service recognizes the validity of historic user routes--which often have official agency signs and are on current federal maps--will determine how the public accepts the route designation process."
"The organized OHV community recognizes the importance of, and generally supports, the designation process. As these plans are finalized, it will behoove all involved for the agency to enlist the organized recreation community's help in the implementation of the program. However, such support will be difficult to muster where the agency operates from the default setting of route closure," Amador concluded.
Further details regarding the Forest's planning process are available at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sierra/projects/ohv/index.shtml
Stewards of the Sierra National Forest: http://www.sotsnf.org
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. www.sharetrails.org