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Colville National Forest Travel Plan meetings

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Well, spring is upon us and the forest circus is holding meetings again to try and shut down more roads and trails. Please try and attend these meetings if you can. If you need to hitch a ride out of the Spokane area please PM me.

Colville National Forest Contact: Franklin Pemberton

Public Affairs Office (509) 684-7177

765 South Main Street Elsha Kirby

Colville, WA 99114 (509) 684-7174

For Immediate Release: March 3, 2009_______________________________________________

Forest Service Wants Input on Motorized Routes

The Forest Service will be holding the first in a series of public meetings to develop a motorized recreation management plan for the “South End” portion of the Colville National Forest. The “South End” area includes the Chewelah, Calispell, and Tacoma Creek drainages, roughly between Chewelah and Cusick, Washington. The first brief meeting will be setting the stage for continued collaboration. Forest Service staff will provide information about the project and how the rest of the meetings will be conducted, and will be held at the Chewelah Peak Learning Center, located at 3215 Flowery Trail Road, near the 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort ski area. The meeting will be from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, 2009.

In the fall of 2008, the Colville National Forest implemented the 2005 Travel Management Rule with the release of the 2008 Motor Vehicle Use Map. Under the Travel Management Rule, motor vehicle use is allowed only on roads, trails, and areas shown on the Motor Vehicle Use Map. While many roads and trails are authorized for motorized use on the current Motor Vehicle Use Map, motor vehicle users have indicated a strong desire for an improved system of routes for off-highway vehicles with more routes and better connection to other authorized routes.

The South End area is one of the most popular areas on the Colville National Forest for motor vehicle-based recreation. But current motor vehicle use and roadside camping is causing a deterioration of many of the values people come to the area to enjoy – a healthy natural environment with clean air, clean water, and healthy habitat for fish and wildlife. Clearly, there is a need to better manage this situation, both to provide for the enjoyment of those recreating in the area and to better protect the resources people come to expect from their National Forest. As a result of this project, the Forest Service hopes to have an improved system of motor vehicle routes, better management of roadside camping, and better protection and rehabilitation of the National Forest resources in this area.

-MORE-

Forest Service Wants Input on Motorized Route Continued

The Forest Service would like to collaboratively address these issues in a forum that builds on the public involvement efforts begun in 2007. To do this, there will be a series of three day long meetings, once a month for the next three months. Collaborators will be encouraged to start by understanding the current situation, discuss proposals from the last series of meetings, and create a proposed action by the end of May that can be used by the Forest Service. With the public’s input, the goal is to conduct the environmental analysis over the summer, approve the plan in the fall, and have approved motor vehicle routes ready to include in the 2010 Motor Vehicle Use Map. The meeting on March 19 will begin this process. Potential collaborators are encouraged to attend this meeting so that they can be aware of subsequent meeting requirements. Subsequent meetings are tentatively scheduled at the Chewelah Peak Learning Center on March 28, and April 25, and a field meeting in the project area on May 9, 2009.

For more information on this meeting or question related to the motorized recreation strategy please contact Jim Parker, at 509-775-7462.

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