Monday, August 30, 2010

"Designate the D#@& Trail" - Next Steps in TMR

During the recent Gulf Oil Crisis, many of us remember when President Obama issued the order to BP to, “Plug the D$%# Hole.” In a similar vein, The General is urging the Forest Service to, “Plan for and Designate the Darn Trail.”
PHOTO: One of the Historic (and signed) OHV Routes closed in Shasta T ROD.

The agency has boldly proclaimed at public meetings and in most TMR Subpart B planning efforts that the Record of Decision’s route network was only the foundation of its OHV trail system and that more planning and designations would take place.

Even if you have disagreed with your local Forest’s recent TMR ROD, you should be asking the District Ranger or Forest Supervisor if they will live up to their promise to do subsequent project-level trail planning.

Right now, each Forest is planning their work schedule for FY2011 which starts October 1, 2010. Here is an outline of that effort.

1 - The Forest Leadership Team (FLT) should be in the process of making a decision if a trail planning project(s) will be included in the FY2011 Program of Work (POW). That decision will be finalized in a preliminary format in the next week or two.

2 - If the FLT approves a trail planning POW, the Forest Supervisor must make the final decision to adopt the project (the Regional Office will have to concur). If adopted they should establish the prioritization and expectations for attainment of the project and how it balances with other the Forest POW. The trail projects should be hard targets. If identified as soft targets (i.e. not very important) – they won’t get done.

3 - If a trail project is adopted and prioritized it must be identified in a Forest Program Work Plan (PWP).

4 - Fiscal and Performance Accountability - this is where the plan must identify the necessary fiscal and staff resources for accomplishment.

Should a Forest decide to go forward with trail planning projects, the agency will take the appropriate NEPA procedural steps (such as issuing a SOPA) so that it can be prepared to submit a trail planning grant to a relevant state OHV grant program (various states such as CA, ID, OR, CO, etc. have a grant program).

OHV organizations and The General were assured by FS leadership back in 2002 that the CA RID Process (and the subsequent 2005 TMR) was not going to be used by the agency to effect landscape level closures to non-street legal OHVs. Tragically on many Forests throughout the country, that was a false promise.

Let’s see if the agency attempts to regain its credibility with the public by keeping the ROD’s promise of doing subsequent project-level trail planning. You will know in the next few weeks.

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