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Other side weighs in on OHV plan

Joshua Sebold
Staff Writer
1/19/2011

Predictably, people on both sides of the debate regarding the use of off-highway vehicles (OHV) on the Plumas National Forest (PNF) have appealed the Forest Service’s proposed Travel Management Plan.

The complaints of various counties and OHV user groups have been aired in this paper as the public process has progressed in Plumas County Board of Supervisors meetings and at public workshops held by the PNF.

Larger national and statewide groups have also entered the fray. Our recent story on the Sierra Access Coalition’s appeal indicated that document was coauthored and supported by a larger OHV user group, the California Off-Road Vehicle Association.

The Wilderness Society and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility are challenging the PNF’s decision from the opposite side in another joint appeal.

The Wilderness Society, founded in 1935, describes itself as “the leading American conservation organization working to protect our nation’s public lands.”

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) was founded in 1992 and characterizes itself as “a national alliance of local, state, and federal resource professionals.”

PEER argues it provides “an important counter-force to those who demand weakening governmental protection of America’s land, air, and water quality.”

The joint appeal argues the PNF’s proposed plan will “fail to halt resource damage, fail to reduce conflicts with other recreational users, fail to ensure that water quality goals are met, and fail to meet other important resource objectives.”

Like the other groups that submitted appeals, this document contended the Forest Service inadequately addressed useful comments made by the public.

The appeal also argued the plan failed to “provide for diverse recreational opportunities, minimize environmental impacts, and markedly reduce recreational conflicts.”

The environmental groups also told the Forest Service they didn’t believe the PNF followed its own rules in coming to its decision.

The document requested the decision be withdrawn and replaced with one “that is in compliance with the law.”

The appeal asked that the final use map only include “those motorized routes which can be justified through appropriate documentation showing that they were designed to be used by the public for long-term motorized recreation.”

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