!Action Alert! - Help preserve MTB access in SoCal National Forests- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    trail rat
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    !Action Alert! - Help preserve MTB access in 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
    "The physician heals, Nature makes well" - real fortune cookie

    CCCMB trail work for trail access - SLO, CA

  2. #2
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    Done. Damn.

    Region One policy is spreading like a disease.
    I don't know what trail we're on, but at least it's getting dark

  3. #3
    trail rat
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    NorCal / Nevada is facing this in Tahoe too.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/california-no...oe-792869.html

    I'm thinking someone in the USFS thinks that this will save them money to manage the National Forests, since hikers and horses do not get as far into the interior, and their number are lower and shrinking, unlike mountain biking.
    "The physician heals, Nature makes well" - real fortune cookie

    CCCMB trail work for trail access - SLO, CA

  4. #4
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    Done, also signon the Rainbow Trail Extension at Grand Canyon

  5. #5
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    Thanks for posting this here as well.

    It isn't about managing non-Wilderness as Wilderness though, 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.


    Original post:
    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.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by evdog View Post

    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.
    Thank you for the clarification. I'll try to write a specific comment before the deadline.
    I don't know what trail we're on, but at least it's getting dark

  7. #7
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    BUMP - Important - please read below:

    Just found out that meetings on updated Forest management plans are coming up this week (March 26-28ish). Details on meetings are below.

    Please make time to attend if you can - and at the minimum it is crucial to write in your comments. Here is why:

    Since the last public hearings, the USFS has taken comments and updated the proposed alternatives and their recommended alternative. In several cases some significant new Wilderness have been added to one or more of the Alternatives:


    Angelus Nat'l Forest: See CORBA site for details - Wilderness Proposal Public Hearings Be there to help save access to trails

    In OC / Santa Ana's: If this Alternative 3 were chosen the following trails would be in Wilderness and bikes would be prohibited: San Juan Trail, Chiquito, Trabuco, Holy Jim, Los Pinos, Bell Ridge, Coldwater - many of the most popular MTB trails in the area.

    In San Bernardino NF: significant Wilderness was added to Alt 3 which covers the upper part of Palm Canyon and Santa Rosa Mountain (Sawmill Trail).

    I'm sure there is more in Los Padres NF, but I am not familiar enough with that area to know what to look for.

    In each case above the options listed as preferred do not include new Wilderness. That DOES NOT mean we are safe. The Forest Service is not obligated to choose its "preferred" option and it could easily choose some hybrid, which could mean including some or all of the wilderness proposed in Alternative 3, depending on the public comments they receive. You can bet the enviro's and anti-access people will be screaming loud and hard for as much Wilderness as possible. So we need to be just as loud. Please attend the meetings or send in your comments if you care about the trails listed above!


    Meeting times and locations:

    March 26, 2013, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Angeles National Forest Headquarters, 701 North Santa Anita Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91006

    March 26, 2013, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Alpine Community Center, 1830 Alpine Blvd, Alpine, CA 91901 (Hosted by the Cleveland National Forest)

    March 27, 2013, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Palomar Ranger District Office, 1634 Black Canyon Road, Ramona, CA 92065

    March 28, 2013, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Santa Clara Mojave Rivers Ranger District Office, 33708 Crown Valley Road, Acton, CA 93510

    March 28, 2013, 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM, San Bernardino National Forest Headquarters, 602 S. Tippecanoe Ave., San Bernardino, CA 92408

    April 9, 2013, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Mt. Pinos Ranger District office, 34580 Lockwood Valley Road, Frazier Park, CA 93225

    April 10, 2013, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Southern California Edison, 103 David Love Place, Goleta, CA 93117 (Hosted by Los Padres National Forest)

    Sorry for the late notice on this, I just learned of the meetings myself. Soon as I get some time I will post up contact info for sending comments as well as a sample letter and comments cheat sheet. Comments should not be due until after the last meeting in April.

  8. #8
    Sheepherder/Cat Herder Moderator
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    Nice work evdog.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  9. #9
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    Bump!

    The current comment period for this process is coming to an end, and final deadline for written comments is this Thursday, May 16. Email your comments to [email protected]

    If you are interested and submitted comments a year ago at the time of the first scoping meeting, then you need to submit comments again based on the USFS proposals presented at the March 2013 scoping meetings (see my post above for links).

    This will be your last chance to comment on the plan. It may be possible to file an objection to whatever decision the USFS ultimately makes, but only if you have submitted comments, and you would only be able to file an objection in relation to a comment that you submitted.

    Many of the comments submitted a year ago would still be valid to submit now, so feel free to use them again.

    The USFS will take a couple months to review the comments and then release a draft Record of Decision in July. Then there will be a 60 day objection period. As I said, you must file comments now to be eligible to file an objection later.


    The comments in my earlier post are still valid with respect to what areas are affected locally. I didn't realize, however, that there are some singletracks in the San Diego backcountry at Eagle Peak Preserve that are at risk of becoming Wilderness.

    http://a123.g.akamai.net/7/123/11558...LT2_370981.pdf
    Eagle Peak Preserve

    The USFS has been nice enough to draw Wilderness boundaries to keep the trail from San Diego Country Estates in Ramona down to Cedar Creek Falls outside of Wilderness, which will allow us to connect up to Cuyamaca via dirt roads. However, Eagle Peak Preserve is currently shown as Wilderness in the current USFS preferred option. This would be a very cool ride to do (a hot ride from now til fall) now that the trail to the falls is open again. San Diego Mountain Biking Association is working to gain support of the San Diego River Park Foundation to get their support to exclude this preserve from Wilderness. Comments from mountain bikers in support of this exclusion would be helpful.

  10. #10
    It's about showing up.
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    Done.
    I don't rattle.

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