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Mt. Hood National Forest Off-highway Vehicle Travel Management Plan EIS -- Update Let

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The following letter was mailed out to our mailing list this week. I

wanted to share it with you electronically as well.

Thank you for your continuing interest in this project.

Jennie O'Connor Card, OHV Interdisciplinary Team Leader

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Interested Citizen,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the valuable

comments that each of you provided during our public scoping period, and

to update you on our progress with the Off-highway Vehicle (OHV) Travel

Management Plan. As you know, the Mt. Hood National Forest is preparing

an environmental impact statement (EIS) to establish and designate a

system of roads and trails for off-highway vehicle (OHV) use, not

including over-snow vehicles. The EIS will be formulated in accordance

with the USDA Forest Service’s new travel management policy: Travel

Management; Designated Routes and Areas for Motor Vehicle Use; Final

Rule, announced November 2, 2005. The decision resulting from this EIS

will be used to prepare a motor vehicle use map for the Forest, which is

expected to be published in late 2009.

Results of Scoping

Based on the scoping comments received, the scope of this project has

been revised. The revised scope includes two changes.

First, this planning process will not be determining where licensed

motor vehicles are allowed to drive off roads to access dispersed

(undeveloped) camping. The initial scoping for this proposal

demonstrated that combining the designation of OHV routes and the

designation of motorized access to dispersed camping corridors was

confusing to the public and complicated the planning process. The

existing condition for access to dispersed camping will remain in

place. Motorized access to dispersed camping may be analyzed more in

the future.

Second, the designation of OHV routes will no longer be constrained

to the six locations identified in the scoping process. The six

identified locations are: McCubbins Gulch (Barlow Ranger District),

Rock Creek (Barlow Ranger District), Gibson Prairie (Hood River

Ranger District), Bear Creek (Hood River Ranger District), Peavine

(Clackamas Ranger District) and LaDee Flats (Clackamas Ranger

District). The proposed action presented during the scoping process

will remain unchanged. Based on specific scoping comments received,

OHV routes are being considered in other locations in the development

of alternatives.

In order to reflect the changes in the scope of the proposal, the

underlying purpose and need for action is being revised as follows.

The purpose of this project is to designate routes for off-highway

vehicle (OHV) use by class of vehicle (excluding over-snow vehicles)

and time of year. By meeting this purpose, the Mt. Hood National

Forest will comply with 36 CFR Parts 212, 251, 261, and 295 – Travel

Management; Designated Routes and Areas for Motor Vehicle Use; Final

Rule [Federal Register Vol. 70, No. 216 (2005)] for OHV use. The

Final Rule states that we “must strike an appropriate balance in

managing all types of recreational activities. To this end, a

designated system of roads, trails, and areas for motor vehicle use

established with public involvement will enhance public enjoyment of

National Forests while maintaining other important values and uses of

NFS [National Forest Systems] lands” (page 68265). This National

Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process will only address OHV use;

subsequent NEPA processes may address broader access and travel

management issues.

In order to comply with the OHV portions of the Final Travel

Management Rule, there is the underlying need for:

Designating and/or constructing OHV routes (as appropriate) on

Mt. Hood National Forest to provide recreation opportunities;

Changing the current management direction in the Mt. Hood Land

and Resource Management Plan to comply with the Final Travel

Management Rule; and

Balancing recreation opportunities for OHV use with other

recreational uses of the National Forest and resource

sustainability.

Project Timeline

As the interdisciplinary team conducted the preliminary analysis and

developed alternatives for analysis in the EIS, the need to conduct

additional field work and surveys was identified. In order to conduct a

thorough analysis for each alternative, I have extended the project

timeline to allow for additional field work to be conducted this summer.

I feel this is important to ensure the EIS contains a complete

comparison of alternatives. Based on this extension, the draft EIS will

not be available for a public comment period until March 2009. Comments

on the draft EIS will be analyzed, considered, and responded to by the

Forest Service in preparing the final EIS. The final EIS is scheduled to

be completed in June 2009.

If you have any questions concerning this project, please contact Jennie

O’Connor, OHV Interdisciplinary Team Leader, at (541) 352-6002 x634 or j

ennieoconnorcard@fs.fed.us. Again, thank you for your interest in the

project and I look forward to reviewing your comments during the public

comment period for the draft EIS.

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Hey, Rick!!!

I got one of these letters in the mail today too.

I just kinda looked it over real quickly, and not in any great detail. But this part right here kinda got me wondering:

Second, the designation of OHV routes will no longer be constrained

to the six locations identified in the scoping process. The six

identified locations are: McCubbins Gulch (Barlow Ranger District),

Rock Creek (Barlow Ranger District), Gibson Prairie (Hood River

Ranger District), Bear Creek (Hood River Ranger District), Peavine

(Clackamas Ranger District) and LaDee Flats (Clackamas Ranger

District). The proposed action presented during the scoping process

will remain unchanged. Based on specific scoping comments received,

OHV routes are being considered in other locations in the development

of alternatives.

Are they considering MORE areas to be designated for OHV recreation? 👍

Jimmie

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That is the way I read it. But there also was a statement about developing alternatives in other areas. It reads good so far but as always the devil is in the details.

This could set a precedent for other areas such as GPNF.

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I checked on it yesterday and they plan to add more road access in other areas. They really like the idea of using roads as "trails." Great for Quads, but not exactly single track.

We will see what happens..........................

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