Throughout the country, units of the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service are in various stages of the route inventory and designation process as outlined in the National Travel Management Rule. The Sierra National Forest published a Notice of Intent on September 12, 2007, in which the proposed action would preclude motorized use on about 90% of presently-open and historically-traveled routes. That proposal could even ban OHV use on the popular Stagecoach Trail near Miami Creek.
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