Plumas National Forest continues to seek comments on road use
The Plumas National Forest is continuing to solicit feedback on its current motorized travel management planning effort (Subpart A) involving national forest system roads that may no longer be needed and/or are posing a risk to a natural or cultural resource. This is the second round of public workshops; the first were held in June.
“The chief of the Forest Service has directed all national forests and grasslands to identify a road system that provides safe and efficient access for recreation and resource management, while protecting our country’s natural and cultural resources,” said Earl Ford, Plumas National Forest supervisor.
According to Ford, unlike an earlier travel management planning effort, no decisions are being made now. “We are compiling information we will consider in our future planning and project level decisions.” The PNF has an extensive network of about 4,000 miles of low volume (low traffic) roads to maintain. “Balancing this obligation with decreased funding and increasing demands from users is a huge challenge,” noted Ford.
The current effort, Subpart A of the 2005 Travel Management Rule, focuses on identifying forest roads that may be unneeded or pose a risk to other resources while an earlier effort, Subpart B, focused on unauthorized routes that needed to be identified as motorized trails and added to the system. Subpart B also required motorists to stay on authorized roads and trails, prohibiting cross-country travel.
“We are building on our 2003 roads analysis that was focused on roads suitable for passenger cars and adding information on roads with lower maintenance standards, such as those primarily used by high clearance vehicles,” said Ford. He noted motorized trails and unauthorized routes analyzed in Subpart B are not part of this process. The travel analysis report must be completed by the end of fiscal year 2015. Not having a map and report completed may negatively impact the road operations and maintenance funds available for the Plumas National Forest.
People may share feedback about roads that may or may not be needed via the forest website at fs.usda.gov/plumas. Written feedback may be mailed to: TM-Subpart A, Plumas National Forest, P.O. Box 11500, Quincy, CA 95971.
While updating the roads database is an ongoing process, feedback for this report would be most helpful if received by Sept. 30. Because no decisions are being made now, people may wait to share information when the roads in question are analyzed in specific projects or do both.
Dates for the workshops include:
Blairsden: Monday, Aug. 12, 5 – 7 p.m., Beckwourth Ranger District Office, 23 Mohawk Highway Road.
Oroville: Tuesday, Aug. 13, 5 – 7 p.m., Feather River Ranger District Office, 875 Mitchell Ave.
Quincy: Wednesday, Aug. 14, 5 – 7 p.m., Mt. Hough Ranger District Office, 39696 Highway 70.
An updated map will be available for review in the fall. The accompanying report will be written and reviewed over the winter and spring with a final report due to the Forest Service Regional Office (Region 5) in early summer 2014.
For more information on the overall effort, contact Terri Simon Jackson, Plumas National Forest planning staff officer at 283-7820.