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Eldorado National Forest Draft EIS Released

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The Draft EIS for the Route Designation Project on the Eldorado National Forest has been released, and if it goes through in it's current state WE WILL BE GETTING SCREWED BIGTIME!

I've just started going over it but here are a few items of note:

The proposed alternative is Alternative C, not the worst one, but definitely restrictive.

Here is a direct quote on seasonal closure:

Seasonal Closure

A seasonal closure will be instituted on all native surface roads and trails each year from November 1 to April 30 to protect routes from wet weather damage. If it is determined by the Forest Supervisor during the months of November, December, or April, based on soil moisture evaluations, rainfall, road or trail conditions, and weather forecasts, that during this period areas

are suitable for use, the Forest Supervisor has the authority to open those areas for a specified amount of time. The public will be notified when areas are open and, also, when the seasonal closure is reinstated.

Here is just a brief list of permanent trail closures:

Horse Canyon Trail near Silver Lake

The Switchback Trail at Silver Lake (out of Plasse's Resort)

Mud Lake - Long Valley Trail

The Caples Creek Loop (aka Three Man Trail)

The "Out and Back Trail" that goes from Strawberry Jeep Trail to the PC Trail

Lovers Leap Trail

THE ABOVE ARE SOME OF THE BEST HIGH SIERRA TRAILS IN THE ELDORADO NATIONAL FOREST

Plus pretty much everything that they have already closed over the last couple of years. I'm sure there is a lot more, and we really need to go over this document and start preparing Public Comments to be submitted starting July 20th.

By the way, if you don't submit any Official Public Comments you will not have any standing towards further action later, such as appealing the final decision.

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closed to everyone, including hikers right. Now that would be an interesting twist.

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It looks like they want to expand wilderness areas too. On one map it only shows the section next to Caples lake but on another there's quite a bit more. Wilderness designation is the easiest way to take riding areas away. Let's not let that happen. It is our land and we need to let them know it.

dave

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Where does it end?:thumbsup: Thanks for keeping us informed and trying to rally the troops.

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Thanks OD. I haven't had a chance to go over it, I just saw the e-mail this morning.

I guess I'll have to change my username since I won't be able to ride out of Silver Lake anymore. :thumbsup:

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It looks like they want to expand wilderness areas too. On one map it only shows the section next to Caples lake but on another there's quite a bit more. Wilderness designation is the easiest way to take riding areas away. Let's not let that happen. It is our land and we need to let them know it.

dave

The forest can not designate wilderness. Only Congress can do that. However, I would not be surprised if what you see on the maps is the S493 wilderness bill.

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what is the best factual comment letter we can write?, maybe OD or Don Amador and LAO Dave Picket will help us draft a comment letter we can use as our basis, then every one tailor a personal comment letter.

to what address do we send our comments?

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closed to everyone, including hikers right. Now that would be an interesting twist.

No, the trails that I specifically mentioned in this post, along with some of the ones that have already been closed are to become "Non-Motorized NFS Trails". That means they are open to non-motorized wheeled vehicles, equestrians, and hikers. THIS IS SIMPLY SHUTTING US OUT OF THE HIGH COUNTRY!

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what is the best factual comment letter we can write?, maybe OD or Don Amador and LAO Dave Picket will help us draft a comment letter we can use as our basis, then every one tailor a personal comment letter.

to what address do we send our comments?

It's going to take some time going over the Draft EIS and it's language to come up with the best arguments to put into our comments. The "Public Comment" period does not start until next Friday, July 20th. Information on submitting comments should be available on the forest service website, and will be discussed at length in the upcoming public meetings. I do know that comments can be mailed, hand delivered, or emailed. They will be publishing an email address specifically for submitting comments.

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Not only does it take a lot of work to ride the trails, but it take a lot of work to keep them open (IE).. opposition :thumbsup: Ditto for keeping US informed.

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To catch up and keep up on the subject, here's a link:

http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/eldorado/projects/route/index.shtml

Keep informed and active

Ride on

Brewster

CERA...assistant LAO

Just read that link. Its amazing how illogical the statements are. At the top it mentions about the increase in ohv use in the NF and down from that it mentions about enhanceing of the ohv system in the NF. I'm going to have to look up the word in enhance. I thought it meant to make better or improve. How can they possible say that closing trails and reducing the numbers of areas to ride in when the number of users is going up is enhancing. The greenies have unfortunatly shaped the aguments in there favor. This degrading of the enviroment is a bunch of B.S. A two foot wide trail through the tens of thousands of acres is not degrading anything. We've stood by and allowed the greenies to convince the FS that this is the issue because thats the only way they can win. You never hear them say the truth. That being when a couple of bikes past a hiker just once in the entire day during their hike their expierence has just been ruined for the rest of the day. They are not satisfied with the millions of acres of wildness area they got to hike in all to themselves they want it all. Now I wonder is this an exceptable argument to make to the FS.

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Does anyone know if the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) can play into this role? By forcing everyone to hike into the areas currently accessible by motor vehicles doesnt this violate that act?

(a) Study.--The National Council on Disability shall conduct a study and report on the effect that wilderness designations and wilderness land management practices have on the ability of individuals with disabilities to use and enjoy the National Wilderness Preservation System as established under the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.).

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Just got this e-mail

To : eldoradoroutes <eldoradoroutes@fs.fed.us>

Subject : Clarification of Proposed Action vs Preferred Alternative

Hi Everyone,

Apparently there has been some confusion in the DEIS concerning the

proposed action vs the preferred alternative. The proposed action,

Alternative C, was released on October 26, 2005 and initiated the

Wheeled

Motorized Travel Management project. The Forest Service then requested

that

individuals identify issues they might have with the Proposed Action.

Public comments on the Proposed Action were used to develop four

alternatives to that action. The Preliminary Alternatives were presented

to

the public at meetings on June 5 and 6, 2006 and also released on the

Forest website. Public input led to adjustments to the Alternatives

before

the environmental analysis was conducted.

The Preferred Alternative, Alternative D, was identified by the Forest

Supervisor and is the alternative the agency believes would fulfill its

mission of providing a diversity of road and trail opportunities yet

minimize adverse affects on forest resources and conflicts between

Forest

users. The Forest Service is now soliciting public comments on the

effects

of implementing Alternative D as the course of action for Wheeled

Motorized

Travel Management on the Eldorado National Forest.

For a more in-depth explanation, refer to the Council on Environmental

Quality's Forty Most Asked Questions Concerning NEPA Regulations:

http://www.nepa.gov/nepa/regs/40/40p3.htm

We will be adding a section to the website with Frequently Asked

Questions

and their answers. I will send out the link when it is up and running.

Please let me know if you have any further questions,

Jason

ME AGAIN

I don't know what this means but I'm guessing that I'll hold off on getting a dirt bike for now.

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This just in from the Eldorado National Forest, evidently in scanning the Draft EIS myself and others misread which Alternative the Forest Service is proposing. They are proposing "ALTERNATIVE D", not "C". Alternative "D" has 182 miles LESS roads and trails than Alternative "C", although it does leave open some of the High Sierra Trails that I earlier stated would be closed. Under Alternative "D" the Lovers Leap Trail, Horse Canyon Trail, the switchback trail out of Plasse's Resort, and the Mud Lake - Long Valley Trail would remain open. The other trails I mentioned in my earlier post would still be permanently closed. I received this email just as I was starting to REALLY read the Draft EIS. Here is the email:

Hi Everyone,

Apparently there has been some confusion in the DEIS concerning the

proposed action vs the preferred alternative. The proposed action,

Alternative C, was released on October 26, 2005 and initiated the Wheeled

Motorized Travel Management project. The Forest Service then requested that

individuals identify issues they might have with the Proposed Action.

Public comments on the Proposed Action were used to develop four

alternatives to that action. The Preliminary Alternatives were presented to

the public at meetings on June 5 and 6, 2006 and also released on the

Forest website. Public input led to adjustments to the Alternatives before

the environmental analysis was conducted.

The Preferred Alternative, Alternative D, was identified by the Forest

Supervisor and is the alternative the agency believes would fulfill its

mission of providing a diversity of road and trail opportunities yet

minimize adverse affects on forest resources and conflicts between Forest

users. The Forest Service is now soliciting public comments on the effects

of implementing Alternative D as the course of action for Wheeled Motorized

Travel Management on the Eldorado National Forest.

For a more in-depth explanation, refer to the Council on Environmental

Quality's Forty Most Asked Questions Concerning NEPA Regulations:

http://www.nepa.gov/nepa/regs/40/40p3.htm

We will be adding a section to the website with Frequently Asked Questions

and their answers. I will send out the link when it is up and running.

Please let me know if you have any further questions,

Jason

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Yeah, I e-mailed the FS on Sat. asking for clarification on which Alternative they prefer. A little bit of good news for some of the high sierra trails. It still closed down "3 man trail" and that gnarly loop & switchbacks down in Caples Creek. It still has Martin Meadow closed down going to Caples Creek. That makes for a good, long day. Going from Silver lake and around to Horse Canyon, jumping the highway and going down to Caples Creek, crossing the river on the bridge (just above 3 man trail) and heading northeast (trail 17E51) connecting with the buck pasture/Cody Meadows trail (NSR 1014A-17E17) We need to comment about this loop. In the past Scardina told me that trail out of Martin Meadow down into Caples Creek was too steep to maintain dirt bike use. Even though it's been there long before I was riding it and is still basically in the same condition as I can remember. Pluse 17E51 goes right through the middle of that one meadow-we need to ask for a re-route through the trees. KEEP IN MIND THAT WE STILL NEED TO COMMENT ON THE TRAILS THAT ARE LISTED AS BEING KEPT OPEN IN ALTERNATIVE D -BECAUSE THERE'S PROBABLY SOMEONE OUT THERE ON THE OTHER SIDE COMMENTING TO CLOSE THEM!!!!!

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I also emailed the forest service about this because I read it as alternative D was the perfered alternative. It's good about the high country stuff but where are the 182 miles lost in this alternative. I've been studing alternative C, so I guess it's now time to Study D. The other thing that is really bad would be the blanket seasonal closure, It's going to shutdown the lower stuff right during the prime riding season. I think i'm just going to sell my bikes and buy a mean lawn dart set:thumbsdn:

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:thumbsup: During last years field trips the F/S "team" seemed to be softening on the seasonal closure issue,some carefully worded objection to this might get them to come up with something more reasonable.:thumbsup:

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I had an idea to help get as many people as possible to send in comments. I'm thinking of talking to the local cycle shops and seeing if on say a saturday I can set up a booth by the front door. My thought is to have a couple of computers right there with maps and a copy of the EIS and the alternatives. After a little education on the subject I can go to the computer and fill in there information and there personal comments on a form, print it right there stamp it and send them in. It will make it easy for people to comment that otherwise might not take the time to do so. It might be a little bit of work but I think in a couple of day's a lot of comment letters could be generated.

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