Five out of the 6 National Forests in Arizona are considering new rules for use of off-highway vehicles on 9.5 million acres of public lands in Arizona. Of the 5 Alternatives being considered by the Forest Service, the preferred alternative for Arizona is a complete yearlong ban on all cross-country travel. This is the proposed plan amendment, Alternative #4. Off-highway vehicles will be severely restricted to use on designated trails only. The actual trail designations may not come for several years. The 5 National Forests to be affected by this ban include: the Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Kaibab, Prescott and Tonto National Forests. Cross-country travel is defined by the Forest Service as travel off of or away from open roads or trails. The Forest Service has noted that user created trails, particularly in areas adjacent to residential development, lack engineering and environmental elements of design and they will be shut down with the issuance of this new policy. The implementation of this policy in Arizona will create a precedent for other National Forests throughout the U.S. This is a policy decision that has the potential to affect everyone. Throughout Arizona, comment was received by the Forest Service in response to its March 27, 2001 Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS. The Draft EIS containing the 5 Alternatives and the Proposed Action Alternative is now in the final drafting stages and it is anticipated that it will be released by late July 2002. Opportunity to comment on the Draft EIS and Proposed Action Alternative #4 will occur at that time. There will be a 45 day comment period. The second part of the National Forests new OHV management strategy to be undertaken will be the local site specific planning that will occur following the final EIS. The site specific planning phase will then designate the trails open for recreational OHV use. First your riding areas will be closed outright! Then the Forest Service will consider which trails to designate for OHV recreational use! As you know, this can be a long process. PLEASE SEND YOUR COMMENTS TO THE FOREST SERVICE. To add your name to the mailing list for future announcements contact: Jim Anderson, Land Management Planner at the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, 928-333-6370. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact the Forest Supervisors in the 5 National Forests: John C. Bedell Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Forest Supervisor's Office PO Box 640 Springerville, AZ 85938 928-333-4301 web: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf James W. Golden Coconino National Forest Forest Supervisor's Office 2323 E. Greenlaw Lane Flagstaff, AZ 86004 928-527-3693 web: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino Mike King Prescott National Forest Forest Supervisor's Office 344 S. Cortez Prescott, AZ 86303 928-771-4700 web: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/prescott Karl Siderits Tonto National Forest Forest Supervisor's Office 2324 E. McDowell Road Phoenix, AZ 85006 602-225-5200 web: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto Mike Williams Kaibab National Forest Forest Supervisor's Office 800 S. 6th Street Williams, AZ 86046 928-635-8200 web: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/kai ARRA will notify you of additional information when it becomes available. ARRA's website can be found at: http://www.responsiblerecreation.com Note: Fire danger is extreme throughout Arizona. Large area closures continue on several National Forests. The Apache-Sitgreaves, Coronado and Prescott National Forests are closed. There are additional closures in the Kaibab and Coconino National Forests. Information about fire conditions and closures can be obtained by visiting http://www.azfireinfo.com. Some developed campgrounds remain open with restrictions on campfires and cigarette smoking. Fireworks are illegal in Arizona. Our thoughts are with the fire fighters.