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  1. #1
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    We the people ... Need-for-Change USFS 15 year Plan Revision Session Open House November

    Pisgah Area SORBA » Blog Archive » Need-for-Change USFS 15 year Plan Revision Session Open House November 19th, 2013


    ***Need-for-Change Open Houses Scheduled***

    To make up for the cancelled October 5th Workshop, a series of Drop-in Open Houses are scheduled at six locations, from 4 PM to 7 PM:

    November 18, 2013 McDowell Technical Community College in Marion, NC

    William Harold Smith Building (#19); Room 113

    November 19, 2013 Transylvania County Library in Brevard, NC

    December 3, 2013 TWO LOCATIONS

    Tri-County Community College in Murphy, NC Enlowe Multi-Purpose Rm.

    Appalachian District Office in Mars Hill, NC

    December 5, 2013 Graham County Community Center in Robbinsville, NC

    December 17, 2013 Nantahala District Office in Franklin, NC

    See below for location addresses. Map links are available on the Plan Revision site.

    At the Open Houses, attendees will have the opportunity to submit written ideas for how the 1987 Plan needs to be changed. U.S. Forest Service specialists will be on hand to assist, answer questions, and listen to concerns. Sample Need-for-Change statements were shared with the public in September and are available online at: National Forests in North Carolina - Home. For a paper copy call Heather Luczak at 828-257-4817. The sample also explains how you can share ideas with us via U.S. Mail if you are not able to attend an in-person meeting.

    Members of the public are invited to drop in at ANY TIME between 4 PM and 7 PM. There will be no formal presentations so you need not arrive at 4 PM, nor do you need to plan on staying for the entire time. Also, there is no need to attend more than one Open House, as they will all repeat the same format.

    Members of the U.S. Forest Service Plan Revision Team will pull together all the ideas submitted into an organized and summarized set of statements about the need for change. All ideas will be tracked, so you will know what happens to your ideas, and the Forest Service will post the results on the Plan Revision website in the next few months. We look forward to seeing you at one of the open houses. Thank you in advance for your participation.

    Marion Open House (November 18th):
    McDowell Technical Community College
    William Harold Smith Building (#19); Room 113
    54 College Drive, Marion, NC 28752

    Brevard Open House (November 19th):
    Transylvania County Library
    212 South Gaston Street
    Brevard, NC 28712


    Murphy Open House (December 3rd):
    Tri-County Community College, Enlowe Multi-Purpose Room
    21 Campus Circle; Intersection of US-141 and US-64
    Murphy, NC 28906

    Mars Hill Open House (December 3rd):
    Appalachian Ranger District Office
    632 Manor Road
    Mars Hill, NC 28754

    Robbinsville Open House (December 5th):
    Graham County Community Center
    196 Knight Street
    Robbinsville, NC 28771

    Franklin Open House (December 17th):

    Nantahala Ranger District
    90 Sloan Road
    Franklin, NC 28734

    For maps to each meeting location visit: National Forests in North Carolina - Home
    Last edited by Logover; 11-10-2013 at 05:34 PM.
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  2. #2
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    This sure seems like a big deal. Maybe they could focus on recreation....
    He/she who works the trails does so in their own image.

    Speed just slows me down...

  3. #3
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    Wow, way to go USFS, lets schedule nothing in Asheville. I am sure Robbinsville, Franklin and Murphy will do just fine offering you the best feed back that represents the areas interests.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bfluid View Post
    This sure seems like a big deal. Maybe they could focus on recreation....
    This is a really big deal and mountain bikers need to be heavilly involved with representation at each of these meetings. The LRMP (Land and Resource Management Plan) guides any given forest management directives for a 15-20 year period. Those special interest groups (such a mountain bikers) who show up and partcipate in this process can affect the process and outcome. The hunting contention was very well represented at the early spring meetings, they showed up in force and were very outspoken. We need to make sure the FS planning team also hears our voices.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snototter View Post
    Wow, way to go USFS, lets schedule nothing in Asheville. I am sure Robbinsville, Franklin and Murphy will do just fine offering you the best feed back that represents the areas interests.
    I absolutely agree that scheduling multiple meetings in the region but not in the largest population center with the largest user group where the management office for the entire PNF happens to be located seems to be a bit of a dis-connect. I also hate the informal, drop-in sessions- they do not have clear streams of accountability and give people the "feeling" of having participated without necessarily allowing for the level of direct, sometimes not-friendly, advocacy that is needed.

    That said, I will make every effot to be at the Brevard meeting, although Mars Hill is a lot closer to my house- but I use Pisgah District, not Appalchian District, resources. Like W-man said, this in once every couple decades opportunity to at least express an opinion about how forest lands are managed and I'm going to take the opportunity given, even if I don't like the format or location. I will also submit comments in writing. Please come out, this is not another "boy who cried wolf" call for action for a process that will see no results- this is really happening and will have a real impact long-term.

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    Watch out for the Wilderness Coalition during these revisions. It will push for new wilderness tracts or other restrictions. Bikers should be aware. If a trail or area has lots of MTB use, the Coalition will claim overuse and a need for MTB restrictions or wilderness. If a trail has little MTB use, the Coalition will claim that it might as well be wilderness/restricted because bikes don't use it anyway. Another tactic is for the Coalition to recruit a semi-high profile faux-mountain biker who owns a local business to claim that he or she is for wilderness/restrictions and try to speak for all mountain bikers. Otherwise members of the Coalition will basically berate opposing mountain bikers for going against the environment.

    I've been through it elsewhere and witnessed the tactics.

  7. #7
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    I was thinking about these meetings last night (yeah, I know, I've got problems) and realized I should be less negative about the process. It is great that we have the opportunity to give our input. Moreover, one good thing is you get to meet different folks with vastly different from perspectives from your own. I have always enjoyed and learned from my interactions at public input meetings with both my fellow forest users and USFS staff.
    It is super important for mtb-er's to have a visible presence in this planning stage. If you live near one of the public meetings, please consider coming out to express your support for trails and managing the forest from whatever perspective is important to you.

  8. #8
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    Re: Need-for-Change USFS 15 year Plan Revision Session Open House November

    The Brevard meeting is tomorrow, Tuesday 11/19.

    Time to pony up and represent. Yeah, that means you.

    It would be nice to have a unified voice for once.

    Connectors, loop opportunities (or stacked loops), and getting single track that parallels 276 and the Davidson are some good key points to mention. Recreation should be the main focus and not wilderness and resource extraction.
    He/she who works the trails does so in their own image.

    Speed just slows me down...

  9. #9
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    Recreation should be the focus.

    My main talking points are:

    As the population continues to grow in the region and tourism continues to increase we have a real and demonstrable need for more trails, not less.

    More areas need to be used for recreation by building new trails and designating existing non-system trails (such as the Big Pisgah tract).

    More remote and rugged class 1 trails are needed for users who want to get away from the crowds.

    A viable plan for maintaining all system trails needs to be drafted and implemented. Trail maintenance should focus on maintaining proper tread, keeping water off trails, user experience and resource protection.

    Each District needs a full time Trails and Recreation Ranger.

    Any resource extraction should be secondary to recreation. Timber sales in important recreation areas such as Brushy Ridge and Courthouse Creek should not happen. Fracking should never be a possibility in NC National Forests.

    Due to heavy use the Pisgah District should be changed from a National Forest to a National Recreation Area.
    More Trails, Not Less

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  10. #10
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    Again everybody this is a drop in, so its not a big time suck.
    He/she who works the trails does so in their own image.

    Speed just slows me down...

  11. #11
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    I don't have the time, knowledge, or ability to draft some big long document to submit, but would like to at least go by tomorrow to add to our MTB numbers or whatever.

    What's the best thing to do that will actually be counted as input?
    Yeah, it's strange. But oh well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Broussard View Post
    I don't have the time, knowledge, or ability to draft some big long document to submit, but would like to at least go by tomorrow to add to our MTB numbers or whatever.

    What's the best thing to do that will actually be counted as input?
    Comments like Driftwoods above can go a long way when attending these meetings. (Please tailor your comments to your desires). If you attend and don't leave any comments they will have no idea what type of user you are by just attending alone (to my understanding). So please do comment when asked at the meeting on items of relevance to MTBing or anything you feel important to you.

    For me it is helpful to have some basic items typed or memorized out before attending so I will not have to spend time creating that while I am there.
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  13. #13
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    Thanks for posting this. Going to do my best to show up tomorrow.
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  14. #14
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    Just to clarify, they are asking for written comments.

    At the Open Houses, attendees will have the opportunity to submit written ideas for how the 1987 Plan needs to be changed. U.S. Forest Service specialists will be on hand to assist, answer questions, and listen to concerns. Sample Need-for-Change statements were shared with the public in September and are available online at: National Forests in North Carolina - Home. For a paper copy call Heather Luczak at 828-257-4817. The sample also explains how you can share ideas with us via U.S. Mail if you are not able to attend an in-person meeting.
    Who wants to ride Bennett after attending?
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    So I have read the sample form. All looks great if your were privy for the FS TIBS from 87. Is there a PDF of the current "plans" from 1987? It would be helpful knowing what I am trying to change. I know what I would like to see but whether or not that is change. I guess I would like to be able to communicate my opinions in an intelligent manner.

    Going for sure. I will be leaving the Enka area around 4ish if anyone needs a ride. I don't have the lights to do Bennet but might be open to a beer at the tasty weasel afterwards.
    Sent via my heady vibes from the heart of Pisgahstan

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood View Post
    Just to clarify, they are asking for written comments.



    Who wants to ride Bennett after attending?

    Drift- I'm going to ride Thrift>Grassy>Sycamore>North Slope, haven't done N Slope yet this year. Maybe climb Thrift to come down black after Sycamore, not sure. I won't, however, make it down there until 6 or so probably...so if you're dead-set on Bennett or can start earlier, more than understandable.

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    Who wants to ride Bennett after attending?[/QUOTE]

    My plan is to ride Black Mtn before the meeting, if I get all the leafs blown from the yard, driveway and porches and gutters cleaned out. Have not been on upper Black in many years and want to see current conditions (which I hear are not good).
    Hope to see many mtn bikers at the open house.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Broussard View Post
    I don't have the time, knowledge, or ability to draft some big long document to submit, but would like to at least go by tomorrow to add to our MTB numbers or whatever.

    What's the best thing to do that will actually be counted as input?
    There should be displays and info given, and folks respond to the info they see at the open house.

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    "More remote and rugged class 1 trails are needed for users who want to get away from the crowds."

    There is no such thing as a class 1 bicycle trail. Class 1 is reserved mostly for Wilderness areas or low use back country. Given the amount of traffic Pisgah receives, most trails in the District have TMOs (trail management objectives) as Class 3 but there are some Class 2s.

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    If you didn't make the meeting tonight comments can still be sent in at ncplanrevision@fs.fed.us
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    Trans Times article on the meeting last week below. Out of the many thousands of mtn bikers who live in the area, I counted less then 10 at the open house.




    Transylvania resident Fred Whitmire would like to see more being done to help the local wildlife population.
    Ive watched the hunting go downhill for 20 years in this area, said Whitmire, who has hunted off the Blue Ridge Parkway for 30 years. Their (deer) habitat is being destroyed...Theres nothing for them to eat.
    Whitmire was one of roughly 25 people who attended an informal drop-in session for the public organized by the U.S. Forest Service last week at the librarys Rogow Room.
    The Forest Service has been holding a series of open houses in the region to get feedback as it looks to revise its current management plan for Nantahala and Pisgah national forests. The plan, now called the Need for Change Plan, was first implemented in 1987.
    Last weeks meeting in Brevard was originally scheduled for Oct. 5 but was cancelled because of the government shutdown.
    The sessions have been structured around key topic areas, including lands, minerals and energy, vegetation, wildlife, soil, water and fisheries, cultural resources and areas of tribal importance, recreation, scenery, facilities, human health and safety, wilderness and other special designations, roads and trails.
    During last weeks three-hour session, the public could write their suggestions and drop them in a box and hear from Forest Service officials and others about the various topic areas.
    Whitmire, who attended the session with a group of fellow hunters, said a lot of the local white tail deer population is now on private rather than public land. Josh Kelly, a public lands field biologist for the Western North Carolina Alliance, suggested one reason for the decline in the deer population.
    Weve made mistakes in the past by thinking that fire was a bad thing, he said. Fire is a good thing. Using controlled burns to open up the canopy will allow species to regenerate, to fruit.
    Increasing the amount of sunlight that reaches the forest floor, which has been unnaturally disrupted by the extensive logging of the area in the early 1900s, would help, Kelly said.
    He said most of the trees in the forest are about 80 years old, and the woods are still recovering. Logging, he said, allowed faster growing species to take over, creating a dense, dark canopy that altered the natural ecosystem and the forest cycle.
    Michelle Aldridge, who has been overseeing the forest planning process, said it would take about four years to fully revise the 1987 management plans.
    The current first of three phases will assess what needs to happen.
    Were really interested in the publics input; it makes everything work more effectively, she said. Right now, were still in the assessment phase.
    Things have changed since 1987. For one, there was no data in the original plan on the impact of mountain Biking in Pisgah National Forest.
    While it might help the local economy, events and races held in the rain damage the trails where there is little or no maintenance capacity.
    The assessment will look at the impact, and the next phase could provide direction regarding the special permits for bike events and include appropriate timing for races and events.
    The second phase will deal with the federal government requirement to prepare environmental impact and assessment studies. This process will begin around February and include a 30-day public comment period.
    The third stage of the Need for Change Plan will be the monitoring stage, or the implementation of the plan. The Forest Service will look at how effectively they're meeting the plan, by setting up a monitoring program, and identify topics or questions that will be evaluated during its implementation.
    Mostly members of the hunting and equestrian community attended last weeks meeting at the library.
    Tom Thomas, the president of Backcountry Horsemen of North Carolina, lives in Pisgah Forest and has been volunteering with the Forest Service in various capacities since 1969.
    He calls Pisgah National Forest and the surrounding area as the Shangri La of the South, and not just for equestrians.
    I believe in team work, he said. One thing thats hard for the Forest Service is maintaining all these trails. I think if we don't work together, well lose it all.
    Thomas helped build the horse camp at Wolf Ford with the Forest Service, and he is trying to get it on Reserve America, a reservation system for travelers.

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    "Things have changed since 1987. For one, there was no data in the original plan on the impact of mountain Biking in Pisgah National Forest.While it might help the local economy, events and races held in the rain damage the trails where there is little or no maintenance capacity."

    "Mostly members of the hunting and equestrian community attended last weeks meeting at the library."

  24. #24
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    Thanks for sharing, eye opening but not surprising. Is there still time for folks to submit comments online?

    Funny the "Flame" thread is trying to drive a wedge between area mountain bikers about volunteering and we have this 800lbs gorilla in the room. We need volunteers more than ever but we want to argue creativity on trails in Pisgah or Dupont. Bravo, way to keep the real issues challenging WNC in perspective!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodman View Post
    Trans Times article on the meeting last week below. Out of the many thousands of mtn bikers who live in the area, I counted less then 10 at the open house.
    Ouch. Overall, this doesn't sound like great news. I was planning on attending the Mars Hill meeting on Dec. 3 (Tuesday) since it's a bit closer and I figured the Brevard meeting would be well-represented by mountain bikers.

    You know, as slow-moving as the Forest Service is, it almost feels like we're just now starting to see Bush-era policies and lack of progress coming through at ground level. It's like the Trail Strategy was the last dying gasp of the Clinton era.

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