The Recreation HQ was at the 2012 National Conference on Environmental Collaboration and Conflict Resolution last week in Tucson, Arizona. I was invited by the Center for Collaborative Policy (CCP) to give a presentation on Avoiding Litigation: Lessons Learned from USFS Travel Management Planning.As you may remember, CCP has been the facilitator for a number of OHV recreation planning efforts including the 2002/2003 CA Route Inventory and Designation Process, the 2001/2002 CA OHV Sound Working Group, and the 2005 FS Travel Management Rule. Some of you have participated in those sessions.
I wrote the following Op Ed on the conference last week with my key takeaways being “Leadership” and “Relationships” as important foundation blocks for successful collaboration between agencies, local government, and user groups.Amador Op Ed – May 29, 2012 (a good read I hope)
It is my view that planning efforts based on the dry lab of routes overseen by a non-engaged Deciding Officer (usually the Forest Supervisor) are doomed to fail.
Many of you who read this blog know about those successes and failures. Hopefully, we are entering a new era where agency staff is not simply going through the motions so they can check the “completion box” on their form. Travel and other plans created without Deciding Officer involvement – including field review - during the pre-scoping phase are a receipt for litigation and/or judgment in the court of public opinion.