Thursday, April 22, 2010

Writing an Appeal on Earth Day - Right or Wrong

To celebrate Earth Day this year, The General is drafting an appeal of the Shasta Trinity National Forest’s Motorized Travel Management Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision. Some riders may find it strange that the Recreation HQ is working on an administrative appeal on Earth Day regarding what is clearly the most restrictive travel plan to date in Region 5.
PHOTO: One of the historic OHV/ATV Trails that is closed in the ROD/FEIS (click for expanded view)

The ROD arbitrarily obliterates almost 100 percent of the 800 miles of quality single-track motorcycle and ATV trails less than 50 inches in width. The plan also uses a bizarre and illegal decision matrix that gives the California Wilderness Coalition’s Citizens Inventoried Roadless Areas the force and effect of federal law and then combines those proposals with an illegal interpretation of the Clinton Roadless Rule to exclude over 200 miles of trails in both federal and faux inventoried roadless areas from consideration for motorized use.

The General’s Aug 2009 Missive and Video Regarding the Shasta Trinity DEIS and Holding the FS Accountable

The Recreation HQ believes that humans give value to the earth and our natural surroundings. Nature by itself in the absence of humans cannot give itself value. In fact, nature is not capable of appreciating itself. Volcanic eruptions have destroyed thousands of square miles of spotted owl habitat and polluted hundreds of miles of salmon and steelhead habitat. There are many other examples of where nature does not care.

Does that mean that off-roaders don’t care about the environment? On the contrary, we love the outdoors and that is why we love trail-based motorized recreation. Closing thousands of miles of OHV roads and trails in California and reducing access will decrease the natural value of those areas. In many cases, closing legitimate OHV routes hurts the environment because is displaces that use into more concentrated areas. Closing OHV routes denies the user the chance to enjoy the single track experience.

The Recreation HQ hopes that riders will support its efforts to keep trail-based recreation alive and well on the Shasta Trinity National Forest. Maybe drafting an appeal to protect access to forest lands and holding the Forest Service accountable is the most appropriate way to spend Earth Day!

Comments welcome.

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