One of the "18" Closed Routes - The "Mud Lake" Trail
On September 11, 2013 the Eldorado NF reached an appeals resolution with appellants of the June 14, 2013 SEIS and Record of Decision that would have immediately reopened 24 of the “42 meadow routes” and opened another 18 routes after corrective action (mitigation, such as hardening a meadow crossing, fixing drainage, etc.) was taken.
Copy of Agreementhttp://www.peer.org/assets/docs/ca/9_16_13_Final_Eldorado.pdf
List of the 24 open routes and 18 closed routeshttp://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5435815.pdf
FS News Release on Agreementhttp://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/eldorado/news-events/?cid=STELPRDB5435834
Those corrective actions could range from a couple of hours of work with a pick and shovel to project-level NEPA efforts that might include a significant reroute or even installation of an OHV bridge.
HQ is still reviewing the resolution agreement, but it appears that environmental groups have managed to create an extra layer of red-tape by requiring the agency to allow them early review of any proposed meadow project for those 18 routes.
The goal of many anti-OHV groups is to create an additional planning hurdle that must be crossed by the agency before that project can be developed. It appears that goal has achieved in the resolution by creating a new modified NEPA process where those groups can gum up the project before it even gets off the ground.
Although the anti-OHV groups have succeeded in gaining some leverage in mitigation planning for those 18 routes, HQ believes that user groups should hold the agency’s feet to the fire by working hard to effect the Forest Supervisor’s promise to “get on with repairing the other 18 routes.”
Stayed tuned on this never ending saga.