Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Eldorado NF SEIS - Water Quality, Conditional Designations, and OHV

Rock Armor on Rubicon Trail
As OHV and other access stakeholder groups prepare comments for the Eldorado SEIS, HQ wants to remind readers that water quality-based travel management decisions – particularly in high elevation alpine-like settings – are here to stay.
Yesterday, BRC issued an alert/update with key concepts for affected parties to review as they prepare to file comments on the SEIS.  One of those ideas is “conditional designation” or pre-designation of routes once relevant mitigation measures are implemented.
BRC Alert with Key Concepts on Eldorado SEIS (link to 11 year Eldo legal fight there too)
OHV Bridge at Mace Mill OHV Area
OHVers already have examples of water-based legal and political battles at the Rubicon Trail, Mace Mill OHV Area, Minimization Criteria in the Stanislaus legal case, and Carnegie SVRA just to name a few.  Implementation of water-based mitigation measures (trail reroutes, hillside stabilization, bridges, barriers, construction of contour trails, armored trails in riparian areas, etc.) have been critical in those areas to keep trails open.
Link to QWR’s Recent Blog with Photos of Carnegie SVRA Mitigations
Overview of the “Minimization” Issue in the Stanislaus NF Legal Case
Contour Trail at Carnegie SVRA
HQ believes that conditional designations are an effective tool in travel planning.  Several Forests have adopted that prescription to restore access to historic motorized trails in alpine areas.  Also, our good friend, Steve Pretzel, the Director for Trail Bike Management in Australia, has addressed water-quality and other environmental and political issues to enhance OHV recreation in that country.  Trail crews at various state and federal agencies and private firms including the folks at Trails Unlimited and RecConnect spend a lot of their time installing water-based mitigation measures.
Link to Inyo NF Conditional Designations
Link to 2012 NOHVCC Conf. where Pretzel, Trails Unlimited, et al gave presentations
Given the current and foreseeable political, regulatory, economic, and legal climate, OHV user groups and clubs will have to work even harder with land management agencies and partners on efforts to address water-based environmental concerns that will “minimize” trail closures and maximize trail opportunities.    

1 comment:

  1. Don,

    As a Cal4 contributing member, I am concerned about supporting the Eldoration SEIS "Mitigation" alternative mentioned at BRC and CAL4 websites. What, if any, assurance do we have that if mitigation around meadows becomes a requirement, that any mitigation will ever occur? I realize it this alternative may more solidly "legitimize" and help defend trail access in the long term from further litigation, but will actual mitigation ever become a reality?
    Favorites routes could be closed for years until mitigation is becomes actual equipment "on the ground" to move a route around a meadow. Even mitigation is subject to further court battles, let alone funds to perform any mitigation.

    My comments to Ms. Hardy may be to simply support the "Proposed" action, I think.