BRC alert: Santa Fe National Forest
If you think it doesn't affect us... think again. This sets precedent. So fight it now.
BLUERIBBON COALITION ACTION ALERT! Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,
Santa Fe National Forest Releases Proposed Action for Travel Management
New Mexico's Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) has released their Proposed Action. Similar to the infamously poor Eldorado National Forest in California, the bureaucrats in the SFNF want to close about half of the roads and trails. See, New Mexico is a hotbed of politically active Wilderness activist groups and the agency is under tremendous political pressure.
The bottom line is we need comments, lots of comments. BRC is blasting out an "all hands on deck" bulletin and asking everyone to access our IMMEDIATE ACTION webpage:
At this stage in the process, the SFNF is supposed to identify "Planning Issues" that are used to develop a supposed "wide range of alternatives" for the next stage of the planning process. So there are two important things about that:
First, the problem with this 50 percent closure plan is that the agency is abusing the planning process itself, and it doesn't matter if you live in Hungry Horse, Montana, or Yeehaw Junction, Florida, that matters to you!
Second, email generated comments will actually be effective here because the local Blackfeather Trail Preservation Alliance (www.nmohva.org/) has done yeoman's job of the trail-specific input. In fact, they developed their own "Pro Access" Alternative. (Worthy of your support indeed: www.nmohva.org/main/defense_fund.php)
DEADLINE IS SEPTEMBER 2, 2008, SO DO IT RIGHT NOW! As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact BRC.
Thanks in advance for your involvement,
Public Lands Policy Director
208-237-1008 ext 102
PS: This really can't wait until after the upcoming long Labor Day weekend. So please, take a couple of minutes and do it now. Then, forward this to your friends, family, neighbors and your riding buddies.
The Santa Fe National Forest is accepting comments on a Proposed Action for Managing Motorized Travel. The comment deadline is September 2, 2008. If you have, any questions regarding this project, or for additional information, please contact Dolores Maese at (505) 438-7877. Read the Proposed Action and view the maps on the Forest's website: www.fs.fed.us/r3/sfe/travelmgt
Send an email comment today.
COMMENTS CONCERNING THIS ACTION WILL BE ACCEPTED UNTIL SEPTEMBER 2, 2008
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
Please send an email to the Santa Fe National Forest. Use the comment suggestions below. Be sure to add a bit of personal information.
If you want, you can use BRC's letter generator (http://www.sharetrails.org/letters/letter.php?id=26). It has an easy interface for sending your letter.
Be polite. Be Professional. Be on time. (The comment deadline is Tuesday, September 2, 2008)
EMAIL COMMENTS TO:
*email@example.com- Acceptable formats for electronic comments are: text (.txt), MSWord 6.0 or higher (.doc), Portable Document Format (.pdf), or Rich Text Format (.rtf).
*In the Subject Line of your email, please put: "Travel Management"
*Paste in the name and address:
Santa Fe Travel Management Planning
1474 Rodeo Road
Santa Fe, NM 87505
*It's always good to include a brief paragraph about how much you and your family enjoy motorized use on National Forest lands.
*Use the comment suggestions below in your email:
MAIL WRITTEN COMMENTS TO:
Santa Fe Travel Management Planning
1474 Rodeo Road
Santa Fe, NM 87505
FAXED COMMENTS TO:
Santa Fe Travel Management Planning, at (505) 438-7834.
As an avid OHV enthusiast, I am extremely concerned about the Santa Fe National Forest's (SFNF) Travel Plan and the process it used to formulate the Proposed Action. I request that you consider three key comments as you move forward in the planning process.
1. The Proposed Action is flawed and should be re-considered because the agency improperly estimated environmental impacts.
It appears that existing routes identified by OHV users for incorporation in the travel system are not being considered simply because they cross a so-called "sensitive polygon." In other words, a route will not be considered based on soil concerns merely because it lies within a mapped "sensitive soil" area and not because of any site-specific analysis regarding the route's impacts on soils or other natural resources.
Such "planning by polygon" is not consistent with Forest Service planning regulations and does not comply with requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
I request that the SFNF take a site-specific hard look and meaningfully consider the potential environmental impacts of specific routes and alternatives presented to the agency by those who are directly affected by the decision. I also request that, when considering potential environmental impacts, all alternatives consider potential mitigation efforts as an alternative to closure.
2. The SFNF must develop a true range of Alternatives.
The off-highway vehicle community generally supports designating roads and trails for motorized use. We also support thorough environmental review and analysis in the route designation process, as well as ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the OHV infrastructure.
What the OHV community does not support is being presented with a "range" of management alternatives where all of the alternatives represent a significant reduction in OHV opportunity. The intent of the Travel Management Rule is "revising regulations regarding travel management on National Forest System lands to clarify policy related to motor vehicle use, including the use of off-highway vehicles." It is not intended to be a means to eliminate, or even drastically reduce, motorized recreation on National Forests.
NEPA imposes a mandatory procedural duty on federal agencies to consider a reasonable range of alternatives to Proposed Actions analyzed during a NEPA process. The alternatives section is considered the "heart" of the NEPA document.
In order to facilitate the formulation of a true range of Alternatives, I formally request that you adopt the Alternative presented by the Blackfeather group either as a stand-alone Alternative or as the basis for an Alternative that attempts to meet the documented increase in OHV recreation.
3. Planning issues:
I request that you adopt the following Planning Issues.
Proposed Planning Issue A:
Cumulative loss of motorized and mechanized recreational opportunity.
The cumulative loss of motorized recreational opportunity should be brought into the analysis and incorporated into the decision making process.
Closures are being proposed via other Forest Plan revisions and Travel Management Plans across Region 3. The Bureau of Land Management is also proposing significant closures. The amount of closures has reached a critical mass. Every single mile of motorized route that is open today is extremely important. Further closures will have a larger impact than those in the past.
Proposed Planning Issue B:
There is a documented need to provide motorized trail-based opportunity. Conversely, designated Wilderness and other non-motorized recreation opportunities are plentiful. Alternatives should be developed to meet the need for a motorized trail experience and all alternatives should consider its impacts on motorized recreation opportunities across the entire forest.
It should be noted that the need to provide for, or at least not reduce the current amount of, routes available for motorized use was a key theme during the many pre-scoping meetings and discussions as well as written comments.
Proposed Planning Issue C:
Trail experience distinct from road experience.
It is important to recognize the distinction between "trails" and "roads" during this planning process. A true trail experience is highly valued by the recreating public. Providing an arguably adequate road system does not in any way begin to address the demand for motorized single track and ATV trails.
Heb Dduw, heb ddim; Duw a digon
I'm that gun-totin', farm-raised, evangelical, pro-environment, OHV ridin'/drivin', Southern civil rights pro-labor Liberal yo' momma told you couldn't possibly exist.