!Action Alert! - Help preserve MTB access in the SoCal National Forests
Your input is needed to preserve mountain bike access in the Los Padres and other SoCal National Forests! The Forest Service is soon to decide if they will manage non-wilderness areas as Wilderness - and this would mean the elimination of our low impact muscle powered recreation on many trails in the SoCal National Forests.
Follow the link below and sign the petition to let the Forest Service know you want those areas managed as "roadless areas" that continue to allow mountain bike recreation! Do it.
Your Help is Needed to Protect Bike Access in Southern California's National Forests | International Mountain Bicycling Association
Done, also sent an email to about 300 mtb'ers in our group. Thanks for posting this.
Thanks for posting this here as well. This is pretty much the same process that is happening up in Tahoe with amendments to their forest management plan.
So it isn't about managing non-Wilderness as Wilderness, it is about amendments to management plans for the four SoCal forests being done as the result of a lawsuit the USFS lost. The amendments change existing land use designations in parts of the forests to Recommended Wilderness, Back-country Non-Motorized, or Back-country Motorized Use Restricted. This affects Los Padres, Angelus, San Bernardino, and Cleveland National Forests.
If you provide written comments to the FS, which I strongly recommend everyone take a few minutes to do, please tailor to whichever areas you are most familiar with. An overview of all maps is here. The more specific info we can inundate the FS with, the better.
Just found out a few days ago that the USFS is holding scoping meetings to solicit public comment on amendments to the management plans for four SoCal National Forests. This comment period closes on June 11 (MONDAY).
The amendments have come following a successful lawsuit against the USFS by enviro's who accused the FS of not managing its lands to protect ecosystems properly etc etc. Basically, there were some areas on the National Forests that had been identified as "roadless" and were to be given further classification, but this never happened. This amendment and comment period is meant to address that, and unfortunately for us it includes some Wilderness areas as part of the proposed amendment. The proposed Wilderness is one alternative action. The other is to keep the status quo. We need to let the USFS know that we support MTB access, and support the status quo.
There are some other proposed modifications to land use classifications, most of which are adding areas to the designation - Non-motorized. Anything on the maps that is cross-hatched is a proposed change to the land use designation.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1) Sign IMBA's petition. Link provided here
2) Provide written comments to the USFS. Comments due Monday June 11, 2012 Link to comments page
The advice we were given is to provide written comments. And since the Forest Service must respond to every comment, it weighs a lot more to provide a list of issues the wilderness proposal creates, being as specific as possible, than to just say you oppose it. If 100 people write in simply opposing Wilderness, it gets lumped into one line in the analysis. If you can identify 5 issues in your letter, you've created 5 lines they must respond to in their analysis.
Examples of issues or questions to include:
- list the specific trails affected by the wilderness proposal and point out that MTB have historic use and would lose access (Barker Spur near Palomar, Cedar Cr Falls Trail, Sea to Sea Trail, Trans-Country Trail, San Deguito River Trail etc)
- point out that any potential for any future MTB access and multi-use trails will be lost, and that MTB are environmentally friendly, good exercise, low impact, passive, etc etc.
- point out how much time MTBers put in to volunteering to construct and maintain trails, and put a dollar value on it if you can
- point out how specific trails affected would impact connectivity to other trails/networks (Cuyamaca to East SD County)
- mention any races or events you know of that would be affected if access to the trails is lost
- other users who would lose access (motos, OHVs)
- that responsible use deters illegal use (poaching, vandalism, etc)
- mention if you are from elsewhere and do trips to SD, how much you typically spend on a trip for food, accomodations, gas etc in the area
- ask them to justify how adding Wilderness will improve recreation opportunities in the area, when one of the biggest user groups is losing access to trails
- Challenge all their math for any financial impact statistics quoted, provide hypothetical calculations of your own.
- point out that NOT having a Wilderness designation will not prevent hikers/horses from using the same trails they use now, so what is the recreational benefit to them?
- ask them how changing designation to Wilderness will allow them to better manage the forests/back country lands. How would they manage them differently than they do now?
- Ask how they would manage the forests to mitigate risk of wildfires, since there are restrictions on use of power tools and machinery in Wilderness areas. This should be a big issue given recent fires.
- point out (with examples if possible) that trails often fall into disrepair once in designated Wilderness due to lack of use. How is this good for recreation?
- how might Border Patrol operations be affected, since some of the proposed Wilderness is within 100miles of the border?
etc etc, whatever you can think of....the more specific you can be the better.
Thank them for their time and for giving the opportunity to comment. These are the people who make the decisions to being rude or abusive will only hurt our cause, please be polite and constructive with any criticism. The FS seems supportive of MTB and I got the impression they only include Wilderness expansion as an option because they are hounded by the enviro's to do so. If we can provide good, specific reasons why Wilderness should not be expanded, we will have a much better chance of maintaining our access to these areas.
Thanks in advance for your time.
I posted on another Thread about this petition. STR in SoCal is currently rallying a signature frenzy. It takes about 49 seconds to sign the petition.
Remember, you don't have to be a MTB'er to sign this. friends, family, if your dog could type! Six degrees of separation includes the world!
It's an IMBA petition and I ask (beg!) you to do all you can to assist.
A genuine thanks to all my mtb friends! And their friends, and their friends friends!
The Petition in here: Tell Southern California Forests to Protect Mountain Bike Access | International Mountain Bicycling Association
As well, very important Petition for Tahoe Basin also posted on IMBA here:
PLI Petition | International Mountain Bicycling Association
I've signed it and I am passing it along to our SoCal sisters and brethren MTB'ers as well.
Last edited by Mikie Watson; 06-09-2012 at 08:49 PM.
Signed a couple of days ago. I'll drop them a comment this weekend when I have some time to look at the planning documents.
evdog, good summary.
Mikie, check your PMs. I like your idea.
Petition link isn't working Mikie
I'm so sorry. Not sure what happen. Here is a fresh (tested link).
I really appreciate you taking the time to sign as well with let me know.
I hope to get up there soon and ride with you guys....
Tell Southern California Forests to Protect Mountain Bike Access | International Mountain Bicycling Association
As well as a Tahoe Basin Petition Here: PLI Petition | International Mountain Bicycling Association
Last edited by Mikie Watson; 06-09-2012 at 08:51 PM.
Signed!! Too bad the PLI list is so long!
You're not lost if you don't care where you are--- Tom Massie