Thursday, October 29, 2009

Buffers, Filters, Camels, and Travel Management

As more National Forest’s enter into the DEIS or FEIS phase of the Travel Management Rule, there is a disturbing trend that has appeared. Some Units appear to have developed
a “decision filter” through which the designation of OHV roads and trails must pass.
*Photo: Don Amador at 2004 Black Dog DS Ride on Mt. Hood National Forest

Yesterday, the public comment period ended for the Mount Hood National Forest’s DEIS. On behalf of the BlueRibbon Coalition, I filed a comment letter on the proposal.

BRC Oct. 28, 2009 Comment Letter on the Mount Hood DEIS

One of the DEIS’s procedural flaws was that it “created” new OHV policies based on public input and developed a “new” purpose and need/proposed action that was starkly different than the original purposed and need/proposed action. Also, the need to buffer out OHV recreation that was near Wilderness areas or other non-motorized land-use classifications was now an implicit or explicit part of the agency’s decision matrix.

The General wants riders to watch for the “buffer” issue to be used on other Forests.
As some of you know, in most Wilderness Bills (including the recent 130,000 acre Lewis and Clark Wilderness Bill for the Mount Hood) there is very strong language that prohibits the agency from creating buffer zones (including buffers for “quiet recreation”) around Wilderness areas.

See Sec. 105, page 73, for Buffer Language in the 2007 Lewis and Clark Wilderness Act

It is important for OHV advocates to know about this very specific buffer language because you will often find local “quiet recreation” advocates cheering for more OHV routes to be closed next to Wilderness or other non-motorized land classifications

Oct. 25 “Quiet Recreation” Guest Column

The General urges OHV advocates and local recreationists to be on the lookout for Forest Service units that have created a highly restrictive “closure filter” through which TMR must pass. From what I have seen on some Forests – it may be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle then for an OHV route to be designated.

Thank in advance for your continued efforts on TMR. It has, and continues to be, an extremely difficult process. Hang in there!


  1. Hey Don, thanks for all your help! Has it really been since 2004? We must change that!

  2. Tom,

    Yes... way too long! I want to thank the riders who have been involved in this process by attending meetings, working on maps/routes, and sending letters.


  3. CGORA thanks you for your help!

  4. Don, I've been actively following and commenting on the Sequoia plan. I'm happy to say that it appears that the public's opinion is reflected in their latest proposed action. I am sure the Stewards of Sequoia were a big influence. I hope in other Forests local groups are able to organize and influence like the Stewards did. Keep up the good fight, & hope to ride with you again some time sooner rather than later.

  5. You bet that Stewards helped a lot with the Sequoia! Local groups can and do make a diff.