Forest Road and Trail Access Call to Action
WE NEED YOU PLEASE! The Forest Service is having a public meeting and taking input before they make wide-sweeping changes to roads and trail access in our region. In particular to us anglers, we want to protect the Bear Creek drainage for our Greenback Cutthroat Trout. (Currently, El Paso County has plans to build a public trail system in the drainage, which would simply EXTINCT the GBCT during heavy rain.) We also want to protect Wildcat Canyon as a roadless wilderness based on its unique ecological niche as having survived the Hayman Fire. (Currently, illegal motorized access of Wildcat Canyon includes 4WD mud fests in the river. We’ve got to make our voices heard and protect our waters!)
You can either attend the meeting to provide input electronically before Nov. 4 via this link:
Here are detaiils of the meeting:
— Officials from the Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Comanche and Cimarron National Grasslands (PSICC) today released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for public motor vehicle use. The Notice of Availability will publish in the Federal Register on September 20, 2019, initiating the formal 45-day public comment period that ends November 4, 2019.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is part of the 2005 Travel Management Rule, requiring National Forests and Grasslands to designate roads, trails and areas that are open for motorized use. It offers five alternatives for a system of designated roads, trails and areas by class of vehicle and season of use. The alternatives reflect input from forest users, partners, and state and local governments.
“Feedback on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement will help strengthen our analysis,” said Forest and Grassland Supervisor Diana Trujillo. “Hearing the voices of various forest users is extremely important to us. Our goal is to designate a motorized system that works for the public while caring for natural and cultural resources.”
The alternatives address a range of concerns about resource impacts from motor vehicle use, reduced motorized access, and potential conflicts between motorized and non-motorized users. The five alternatives are summarized below.
• Alternative A, Public Motorized Routes Prior to Settlement, is the Forest’s public motorized route
system prior to the November 2015 settlement agreement.
• Alternative B, Settlement Action Proposal, removes all roads and trails not previously analyzed as
identified in the November 2015 settlement agreement. Alternative B reduces the Pike and San
Isabel National Forest’s motorized network by 34 percent.
• Alternative C, Proposed Action, emphasizes a safe and environmentally sound system of roads, trails and areas that allows for existing forest uses and access to private property. It decreases roads open to motor vehicle use by just under 11 percent and increases trails open by almost 22 percent. The 4 percent overall reduction in roads and trails specified under the proposed action aims to reasonably address and balance the expressed concerns of motorized users, non-motorized users and
• Alternative D, Motorized-Recreation-Focused Proposal, emphasizes public motor vehicle use and recreation. This alternative combines parts of Alternative C with motorized routes proposed during
public scoping. It proposes new motorized areas. Alternative D decreases motorized access by about 3 percent overall.
• Alternative E, Non-Motorized-Recreation-Focused Proposal, emphasizes natural resource protection, habitat quality and non-motorized recreation while providing the least amount of public United States Department of Agriculture
motor vehicle access across the forest. Alternative E decreases motorized access by just over 50 percent overall.
The Travel Management Rule exempts the following from designation: aircraft, watercraft, and oversnow vehicles; use by the military, law enforcement, firefighters, and Forest Service for administrative activities; permitted special uses, such as livestock grazing, mining, logging, and collecting fuelwood, Christmas trees and other forest products; and access to pipeline and utility corridors, as well as access to private land.
Here is a link to the News Release posted by USDA: