We’ve had lots of questions about this US Forest Service process. Background: in 2009, the USFS adopted a network of existing routes into their system. They were sued for NOT completing a NEPA when the roads and trails were adopted. This process is a response to that suit. The abstract below summarizes this step in the USFS process:
Abstract: The Pike and San Isabel National Forests (PSI) are preparing a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) to designate roads, trails, and areas on the National Forest System (NFS) lands administered by the PSI, in accordance with the Travel Management Rule (TMR; 36 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 212, 251, and 261). The routes and areas determined to be appropriate for public motor vehicle use would then be included in future PSI motor vehicle use maps.
PSI staff have included five alternatives in the DEIS, including the no action alternative, which will analyze and disclose to the public the environmental, social, and economic impacts of the roads, trails, and areas proposed for the five alternatives under consideration. The alternatives are based on the results of a settlement agreement in 2015 between the PSI and plaintiffs, as well as the public’s comments during the scoping process. The forest supervisor’s proposed action is Alternative C, which emphasizes a safe, efficient, and environmentally sound transportation system. It allows for existing forest uses and includes the routes in the PSI infrastructure database, plus urgent priorities, such as limited additions and modifications identified by the PSI in its travel analysis process related to the TMR.
Links Motorized Travel Management (MVUM) Analysis
Draft Environmental Impact Statement DEIS
What does this mean for non-motorized access, eg for mountain bikers or hikers?
Mostly not much. Especially if the preferred alternative ( C ) is chosen, non-motorized access won’t change.
Some of the alternatives call for obliteration of the motorized routes – Our position will be that if any existing routes are restricted for motorized use, non-motorized must be maintained. There is a process to file an objection if non-motorized access were restricted through this motorized process.
The restriction of some motorized access proposed in some alternatives would restrict access to non-motorized trailheads, for example on Rampart Range Road and Mt. Herman. MWTA will compile a list of trailheads to which we believe access should be retained, and will publish these before the comment period ends Nov 4th. We are working with partner orgs and welcome your input on these.
There are further implications of restricting or expanding motorized use throughout the PSI, including the establishment or pre-emption of non-motorized areas in the forest. MWTA has not taken a position on these at this time – again we welcome your input on this.
Most importantly – share this information with your friends and bring the squad to the USFS open house on the topic Friday Oct 11 6-730pm
|S4 Inc Center For Excellence, 1925 Aerotech Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80916-4221, United States
Link to our partner CMTRA’s Facebook event for this open house https://www.facebook.com/events/411613342878165/
Send us your comments to: info (at) medwheel.org