Yesterday, HQ posted an overview on the issue of “minimization” as addressed (or not addressed) in the recent court decision on the Stanislaus NF travel plan. This rather new and apparent successful legal argument being used by environmental law firms should be a clarion wake-up call to federal agencies who are in the middle (or just getting started) of travel planning efforts.
For example, there is a federal unit on the west coast that recently released a DEIS where there is only one or two sentences that loosely address the issue of minimizing motorized use impacts to the environment.
In light of the many “minimization” lawsuits that have or will be filed, HQ believes that the Forest Service (and BLM for that matter) should devote an entire chapter to analysis of minimizing OHV impacts.
That analysis should include any post Nixon-era land management decisions that already minimized OHV use or user conflicts per directives in his executive order 11644. Other efforts such as signing that directs non-motorized users to non-motorized areas, etc. should be considered as well.
Nixon Executive Order 11644http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/codification/executive-order/11644.html
If OHV and the agency does not get a handle on the minimization issue… HQ believes that OHV recreation could become so minimalized over the next 10-20 years that it could functionally cease to exist -- as we know it today -- on federal lands.
Stay tuned on this issue as the fight for OHV recreation continues in 2013.