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Inyo National Forest Announces the Release of the Motorized Travel Management Final Environmental Impact Statement 
and Record of Decision

Inyo National Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch has signed a Record of Decision approving the selection of Modified Alternative 6 for the Motorized Travel Management project.  The decision follows over five years of  route inventory, environmental analysis, and extensive public involvement and discussion.

The long anticipated decision incorporates the suggestions of an independent collaborative group that worked through differences to develop a community-based proposal for the Forest’s new transportation system.  The group’s proposal was developed into Alternative 6,  which was analyzed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and modified in the Final EIS before becoming the Selected Alternative in the Record of Decision.

“From the start, this project has been about balancing the various needs for motorized recreation opportunities with the need to protect natural and cultural resources,” said Upchurch.  “I believe my decision strikes the best balance in providing motorized access with the protection of these critical resources.”

As described in the Record of Decision the Selected Alternative will restrict public motorized use to designated National Forest Transportation System (NFTS) roads, trails, and areas.  It will add to the system:

•    850 miles of high-clearance native surface roads as high-clearance roads open to all vehicles,
•    122 miles of motorized trails open to all trail vehicles,
•    20 miles of ATV trails,
•    15 miles of motorcycle trails.

The Selected Alternative includes limited changes to existing NFTS roads, including changes in vehicle class, and identifies mitigation efforts that must be completed prior to designating certain routes for motor vehicle use.

“I believe my decision provides a transportation system for the future by providing a sustainable system of roads and trails while protecting important resource values, ” said Upchurch.  “It removes many duplicative routes, and provides interconnected loops and linkages into backcountry landscapes, including a key north/south connector between the Inyo Mountains and the White Mountains.”

Upchurch said that in making his decision he drew heavily upon the local knowledge and experience of users of the Inyo National Forest.  Throughout the multi-year process members of the public have continually provided input on how a transportation system could provide better access to important recreation destinations or better protect the resources.  He stated that the final decision was strengthened by all of the input that helped to design a functional network of roads and trails for the enjoyment of both local residents and visitors to the area.

This fall the Forest Service will work to complete a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) depicting the designated system on the Inyo National Forest, which will be made available to the public at no cost.  The MVUM will be revised and reissued as needed to accommodate future changes to the designated transportation system on the Inyo National Forest. 

CD copies of the Final EIS and Record of Decision have been mailed to everyone who commented on the Draft EIS.  To request a copy of the Final EIS and the Record of Decision, please contact Marty Hornick at 760-873-2461 or Susan Joyce at 760-873-2516.  The FEIS and ROD can also be downloaded from the Forest’s website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/projects/ohvroute5.shtml, however the file sizes of the maps are quite large, so please request a CD if access to high-speed internet is not available.

Six public meetings to discuss the decision and its implementation have been scheduled for the month of September.  Please contact Nancy Upham at 760-873-2427 for more information about the meetings or with any special needs related to accessibility.

September 3
Hawthorne, NV
Mineral County Library 
110 First St.
"Drop-in" Session 4:00-6:00 pm

September 21
Ridgecrest, CA
Kerr McGee Center
100 W. California Ave
6:00-8:00 pm

September 22
Mammoth, CA
Minaret Mall, Suite Z
437 Old Mammoth Rd.
6:00-8:00 pm

September 23
Bishop, CA
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, 849 Home St.
6:00-8:00 pm

September 24
Dyer, NV
Dyer Community Center
6:00-8:00 pm

September 28
Lone Pine, CA
Mt. Whitney Ranger Station
640 S. Main St.
"Drop-in" Session
11:00-3:00 pm

This decision is subject to appeal pursuant to the regulation at 36 CFR 215.  Detailed procedures for appeal are provided in the Record of Decision. 

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