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Travel management decision announced

Feather Publishing
11/10/2010

Plumas National Forest officials have completed the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) for the Forest Service’s Motorized Travel Management Project (Subpart B).

The effort focused on the growing number of routes that are not part of the authorized national forest transportation system (routes with numbers) throughout the forest and made a decision on which of those unauthorized routes should be added to the system.

“I believe this decision balances motorized recreation use while protecting natural resources,” said Alice Carlton, PNF forest supervisor.

The decision culminates more than six years of planning and participation by many people. Carlton said the decision dovetails well with the decisions made by Butte and

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Mount Hough Ranger District
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Plumas counties regarding their respective Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) ordinances.

Briefly, motorized vehicles must stay on designated forest system roads, trails and areas, except as allowed by permit or other authorization such as emergency response.

“With almost 4,500 miles of roads and trails, there are lots of opportunities for people to access and enjoy their national forest,” said Carlton. “However, I don’t want to downplay the fact we do have a real shortage of specialty trail experiences for recreationists, such as singletrack motorcycle riders.

“Riding on a well- or even moderately maintained road is definitely not the recreation experience singletrack riders are looking for and it’s a niche we’d like to expand in the future as we are able.”

Prior to the start of the environmental analysis, about 1,107 miles of unauthorized routes on the forest were inventoried; some old, some newly created.

The inventory included routes identified by the Forest Service and routes submitted over several seasons by interested members of the community.

The routes were filtered to remove short dead-end spurs (largely temporary timber sale skid trails); routes without legal right of way across private property; routes causing extreme resource damage and other resource problems.

Care was taken to provide access to as many key recreation destinations as possible and to provide linkages or loop opportunities between routes.

Analysis eventually included 410 miles of routes, and 234 miles were selected in the decision.

A 45-day decision appeal period will begin Nov. 10, with a legal notice published in the Feather River Bulletin.

Implementation will occur once any appeals have been resolved and a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) is published.

The MVUM will show routes available for use and the types of vehicles and any seasonal restrictions that may apply.

Pending any appeal resolution, the MVUM is expected in spring 2011. Until then, the current forest order regulating use remains in place.

More information, including all analysis and decision documents, maps and frequently asked questions, is available at fs.usda.gov/plumas or by calling 283-2050.

Informal open houses have been scheduled and employees will be available to discuss the decision and review details of specific routes. See the accompanying sidebar for meeting times, dates and locations.

Another slate of open houses will be held in the spring when the motor vehicle use map is published.

 

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