Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Blessed" Routes Closed in Current MVUM

In a recent blog, The General advised his followers to “hold the Forest Service accountable” particularly when it comes to travel management planning. A good
case study of a unit being unaccountable is the Smith River National Recreation Area.
*Photo: Trail that is open and blessed on the 1994 Forest Visitor Map, yet it is closed on the current MVUM

In 1990, President George Bush signed the Smith River National Recreation Area Act.

As you know, the NRA just published a MVUM that was apparently based on a pre-Act
(circa 1990 Forest Visitor Map - with many OHV routes not being shown) rather than basing the MVUM on the post-Act 1994 Forest Visitor Map (that showed NRA/Act “blessed” OHV routes) as was promised to the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors.

The Forest’s current and past rationale for making such ad hoc decisions (i.e. to arbitrarily close roads and trails without project level NEPA) is based on their false belief that the 1990 Act gave the NRA “special authority” to bypass the NEPA process and just close routes as they see fit.

The crazy thing is that in the 1995 Forest Plan it references that OHV projects should be “scheduled” to implement OHV use on trails and roads. See excerpt from 1995 Forest Plan:


Page 13
Off-Highway Vehicle
(OHV) Management
Assess areas for OHV use. Schedule projects to implement
vehicle use in some areas and restrict use in other areas.
As needed Recreation
Transportation Management
Assess transportation system and use. Schedule projects to
construct, reconstruct, or decommission roads based on
anticipated needs.
1998 Engineering

Yet over the years and until BRC and local stakeholders started to complain about ad hoc closures, the NRA had been doing aggressive road decommissioning/obliteration without any (in most cases) project level NEPA to back up the work. It appears the NRA continues to use this invalid rationale to deny public access to “blessed” routes via its current MVUM.

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