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Hackensack, MN — The Woodtick Wheelers ATV/OHM Club would like the public to know that the Chippewa National Forest, Walker Ranger District, is planning to close 27 miles of roads in the Remer area to all vehicles and is now inviting comments from the public regarding the closings. Comments must be received by the CNF by February 19, 2010.

The road closings are part of the Proposed Action for the Moon Resource Management Project, which includes activities regarding timber harvests, road management and the improvement or possible replacement of the Laura Lake Bridge.

The project area encompasses an area on the east side of the Chippewa National Forest, Walker Ranger District. The boundary is roughly described by lines from Goose Lake and Highway 65 on the north; Vermillion Lake and Remer on the east; Mable, Swift and Lucille Lakes on the west, and the Chippewa Forest boundary to the south.

For additional information, maps showing the roads proposed to be closed to all vehicles, and comment sheets, contact Carolyn Upton, District Ranger, Chippewa National Forest, 201 Minnesota Avenue East, Walker, MN 56484-2189 or call (218-547-1044).

The Woodtick Wheelers ATV/OHM Club, formed last July and now with over 150 members, brings together ATV and OHM enthusiasts to enjoy, promote and protect responsible riding in the Chippewa National Forest and the surrounding area. For information, write to the Woodtick Wheelers, P.O. Box 83, Hackensack, MN 56452.

Moon RMP System Road Obliteration (Total Miles: 8.74) Road Numbers:

2057, 2070, 2113C, 2113G, 2113H, 2117C, 2117D, 2302G, 2301I, 2324, 2329, 2352G, 2559, 2564B, 2702, 2764, 2784, 3571, 3579B, 3579G

Roads Recommended To Be Closed To All Vehicles (Total miles: 14.91) Road Numbers:

2063, 2069B, 2103C, 2117A, 2117F, 2321B, 2321G, 2323B, 2559, 2579, 2583, 2703, 2792, 2792A, 2792B, 2792C, 2792D, 2792E, 2792F, 2793, 3572

_______________________________________________________________

I have written a Letter to the Editor and submitted it to newspapers in northern Minnesota. I have pasted a copy of that letter below.

Thanks.

Dave Halsey, President, Woodtick Wheelers ATV/OHM Club,

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HEADLINE:

Chippewa National Forest Needs Greater Transparency In Road Closings.

In the fall of 2008, the Chippewa National Forest closed the Woodtick Trail and hundreds of miles of low-traveled roads to ATVs and other off-highway vehicles. Public hearings were held, but there was no publicity of the road closings in local media. The “NO OHV” signs went up and that was that (with fines totaling $175).

Last summer, the Woodtick Wheelers ATV/OHM Club was formed in response to those road closings. The club quickly grew to over 150 members, showing the impact the road closings had on residents and cabin owners, many who now have no access to a public forest they and their families had enjoyed for decades.

On January 20th, 2010, the Chippewa National Forest sent out information packets announcing its plan to close another 27 miles of roads in the Remer area, not just to ATVs but “to all traffic.” After receiving a packet on the “Proposed Action” — called the Moon Resource Management Project — I looked on the web sites of local newspapers to see if it was publicized. Except for an announcement buried in the Chippewa National Forest web site, I couldn’t find any articles informing the public about the road closings.

Not only did the project receive little or no publicity, it was made mid-winter when many people who use those roads are not even in the area, and it gives the public just 30 days to comment.

Enough is enough. The Chippewa National Forest needs greater transparency as it continues to close or “obliterate” (their word) roads used for decades by hunters, hikers, and people from 12 to 85 who enjoy the National Forest in their cars, trucks and ATVs.

Those who run the Chippewa National Forest are not the “landowners of the National Forest,” as their public liaison told our ATV club. They are merely the caretakers. We, the public, are the landowners. And we deserve to be treated as such.

For additional information on the Moon Resource Management Project, maps showing the roads proposed to be closed to all vehicles, and comment sheets, contact Carolyn Upton, District Ranger, Chippewa National Forest, 201 Minnesota Avenue East, Walker, MN 56484-2189, call (218-547-1044), or go to the Chippewa National Forest web site and click on “Projects and Plans.”

Hurry, the deadline for your comments on this unpublicized road closing is February 19, 2010.

David Halsey – Outdoor Writer, Hunter, President of Woodtick Wheelers ATV/OHM Club

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BLUERIBBON COALITION LANDUSE UPDATE!

Yellowstone National Park – Winter EIS Scoping Announced!

Dear Interested Snowmobilers,

I am sure many of you have followed the twists and turns of Winter Use Planning processes for the last twelve plus years. There have been many. In addition, the continuing legal battles in the Washington D.C. and Wyoming courts have yet to come to a conclusion that both sides will accept.

The good news is that the next Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process started on January 29, 2010 and could provide for a much-needed reasonable, science-based long-range Winter Use Plan for Yellowstone National Park. The Winter Use plan for Grand Teton Park has been completed.

The first step in the new EIS process is scoping, which the Service defines as:

“The procedure by which an agency identifies important issues and determines the extent of analysis necessary for an informed decision on a proposed action. Scoping, an integral part of environmental analysis, includes early involvement of interested and affected public, as well as internal and external agency contacts. Although formal scoping occurs for a specific time period, we welcome your comments on projects while we are in the process of preparing plans.”

It is important that snowmobilers comment during the scoping process. The process started with the Federal Register Notice on January 29, 2010. The Process will allow 60 days for comments from the public and will formally end on March 30, 2010.

The Park service will be holding scoping meetings on Feb. 16th in Idaho Falls, Idaho at the Hilton Garden Inn, 700 Lindsay Blvd; Feb. 18th in Billings, Montana at the Hilton Garden Inn, 2465 Grand Road; Mar. 8th in Cheyenne, Wyoming at Little America Inn and Resort, 200 West Lincoln Way and a final meeting in Washington D.C. on Mar. 10 at the Old Post Office 12th Street and Pennsylvania Ave. NW. All the meetings will be from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

BRC is developing important areas to comment on and will have that information available in the near future. Please visit our dedicated website at www.saveyellowstonepark.com for updates.

Thanks in advance for your help in commenting during the scoping period on the new Winter Use EIS.

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Rubicon Trail Groups Issue Public Statement

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Friends of the Rubicon and the Rubicon Trail Foundation

PRESS RELEASE: FOTR & RTF STILL COMMITTED AFTER BOS DECISION
Volunteer Coalition and Non-Profit Reflect After County Board of Supervisors Vote

Placerville, CA January 26, 2010: El Dorado County Board of Supervisors voted to formalize the alignment of the world-famous Rubicon Trail. This decision includes a handful of important bypasses around some of the more difficult sections of trail, providing trail users the option of taking a less difficult route around the toughest segments of trail. In a meeting which lasted well into the night, the Board of Supervisors heard arguments from county residents, off-highway vehicle enthusiasts, environmental activists, the U.S. Forest Service, and the State Parks OHV Division about how to best define the trail which winds through the scenic Sierra Nevada west of Lake Tahoe.

The Board of Supervisors discussed options for addressing a Cleanup and Abatement Order (CAO) issued by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. The DOT listed three options for consideration, ranging from establishing 1.) a single defined trail, 2.) a defined trail with bypasses around the most difficult sections, and 3.) a ‘corridor’ option which would have included wide areas where specific trails might be defined. In the end, the Board of Supervisors chose the option of a single route with bypasses, which they felt provided the widest range of opportunities for public access while still addressing the CAO. Tom Celio, Director of DOT, stated that all options presented would be able to address the CAO.

This County action formally recognizes the main alignment of the Rubicon Trail and a handful of alternate routes with multiple levels of difficulty near Devil’s Postpile, Forgotten Sluice, Little Sluice, Indian Trail, and the True Old Sluice. Selecting this middle option is a balance between recognizing a single trail and recognizing every existing alternate and bypass. “In reality we lost very little” said Scott Johnston, President of the Rubicon Trail Foundation, “We are still committed to working with the County – this was a good step toward satisfying the Water Board’s CAO.”

In a frustrating last-minute twist which caught the public by surprise, the Board of Supervisors also voted to reduce the size of the largest rocks in the iconic Little Sluice Box, a signature section of Rubicon Trail near Spider Lake with high technical difficulty. This controversial proposal, was put forth by Supervisor Jack Sweeney after the public comments session was closed. “I and other members of our volunteer community were blind-sided by the discussion/decision to alter Little Sluice”, said Jacquelyne Bebe Theisen, Trail Boss for the Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR). “Our volunteers deserved the opportunity to discuss the alteration of Little Sluice with the Board of Supervisors – and we will. This is not over.”

RTF and FOTR will work together to push the County Department of Transportation, to lead organizations, and agencies together to identify and employ non-explosive management techniques to minimize impacts at Little Sluice and still comply with the Board of Supervisors’ instructions. In the meantime, FOTR and RTF will continue to work with the County to mitigate concerns in the area by distributing WAG bags (for collecting human waste) and spill kits (for cleaning up fluids spilled by damaged vehicles); reaching out with education from the kiosks, providing roving trail patrol and mid-trail staff; and delivering internet-based education.

On several occasions during the course of the meeting, the Board of Supervisors expressed how grateful they were for the incredible commitment of the (OHV) community who volunteer thousands of hours a year educating trail users, performing trail maintenance, and cleaning up and addressing sanitation issues. The volunteers of FOTR, Jeepers Jamboree, California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, and many other local clubs and independents have worked together to maintaining Rubicon Trail for more than 50 years.

The joint efforts of the County, the Forest Service, the California OHV Division, and these volunteers provide an unprecedented example of a collaborative process that works, and are a shining example to land managers and user groups across the nation. “We have to move forward, and keep our volunteers motivated. It’s going to be a challenge, but we can and will succeed,” Theisen added, “We are relieved that after ten years of discussing the issue of trail alignment with little action, the County has finally identified what routes they will maintain in conjunction with the Volunteers.”

FOTR’s extensive volunteer coalition coordinates with RTF’s federally recognized non-profit organization, and with 8+ years of FOTR volunteerism and 5+ years of RTF fund-raising, we expect that the Rubicon Trail will continue to be an environmentally sound, viable, year-round trail accessible to the public for years to come.

If you would like to help with our efforts, you can sign up for a Friends of the Rubicon work party at: www.FriendsoftheRubicon.com or send your tax deductible donations to: Rubicon Trail Foundation PO Box 2188 Placerville, CA 95667. Donations may also be made with PayPal or major credit cards by calling 888-6RUBICON.

More information is available at www.RubiconTrailFoundation.org and www.FriendsoftheRubicon.com

The Prescott National Forest, Located in central Arizona, is revising their Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan).The Forest Service (FS) is asking the public to help identify issues to be addressed as they begin this plan revision.

The Forest Plan is the basic document used to provide guidance for all resource management activities on the National Forest for the next 10 to 15 years. The agency plans to release a draft revised plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for formal comment near the end of 2010. A final revised plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) is expected to be out by the end of 2011.

Comments will be most useful in the development of the draft revised plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement if they are received by February 15, 2010.

Send written comments to:

Prescott National Forest
Attn: Forest Plan Revision Team
344 South Cortez Street
Prescott, Arizona  86303

Comments may also be sent via e-mail by using the “Contact Us” page on the Prescott National Forest planning Web site: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/prescott/plan-revision/get-involved.shtml

For more information, contact Sally Hess-Samuelson, Forest Planner, Prescott National Forest, 344 South Cortez Street, Prescott, Arizona 86303, shesssamuelson@fs.fed.us, 928-443-8216. Information on this revision is also available at Prescott National Forest revision Web site: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/prescott/plan-revision/index.shtml

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact BRC.

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Categories : Land Use

ROHVA Creates www.rohva.org/anpr to Facilitate Submission

IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 28, 2010 — The Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) is calling on enthusiasts and industry representatives to submit comments by March 15, 2010 in response to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proposed mandatory standards for Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs), also known as side-by-sides and UTVs.

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OGDEN, Utah (January 5, 2010) — Tread Lightly!Ò, through a grant provided by the California State Parks, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division, has announced six, no cost training courses to be held in 2010 throughout the state. Since 2003, Tread Lightly!’s train-the-trainer program, Tread Trainerä, has provided individuals from Puerto Rico to Alaska with instruction in innovative, practical methods of spreading outdoor ethics to the public with a curriculum specifically focused on motorized and mechanized recreation.

“This type of schedule is a first in the six years of the Tread Trainer program’s existence,” reports Tread Lightly!’s executive director, Lori McCullough. “Because the need for outdoor ethics training around the country has intensified, we’ve begun to focus our efforts on individual states.”

With the opportunity to train so many outdoor recreationists, land managers and instructors in California , Tread Lightly! hopes to more fully incorporate its message of responsible outdoor recreation in OHV education programs, employee and volunteer training, and throughout the state’s many recreation areas.

“The Tread Lightly! ethic is a critical component to enjoying and protecting our beautiful state,” said Daphne Greene, California State Parks OHV division deputy director. “By offering this educational opportunity to willing volunteers, we are investing in a better future for our children by teaching people to value and protect our trails, parks and recreation areas.”

“The Tread Trainer program is of utmost importance as it embodies the true meaning of what our organization is all about: people educating themselves and doing their part to behave responsibly while recreating outdoors,” said McCullough.

Individuals that complete the one-day Tread Trainer course become representatives of Tread Lightly!. Tread Trainers present the Tread Lightly! message of responsible recreation practices to other educators, clubs, government employees, outdoor enthusiasts or community members. Presentations often focus on guidelines for minimizing recreational impacts as well as motivating individuals to be ambassadors of their chosen activity.

Since the program’s launch, Tread Lightly! has increased its outreach ten fold and has made nearly a quarter of a million face-to-face impressions.

As a long time partner of Tread Lightly!, California State Parks is the first state to work with the organization to provide the Tread Trainer course on such a large scale. The California State Parks OHMVR Division’s recent underwriting of the 2010 Tread Trainer courses came through a grant from their 2008/2009 Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program.

In addition to the Tread Trainer courses, two Master Trainer courses will also be offered in the California schedule. The Master Trainer course is an intensive two-day workshop designed to create volunteers equipped to train trainers on behalf of Tread Lightly!.

Tread Trainer course schedule:

  • – January 23, 2010 – Paso Robles, CA
  • – February 27, 2010 – Ontario , CA
  • – March 20, 2010 – San Jose , CA
  • – April 10, 2010 – Borrego Springs, CA

Master Trainer course schedule:

  • – May 14 & 15, 2010 – Rancho Cordova , CA
  • – June 11 &12, 2010 – Ontario , CA

Individuals interested in the Tread Trainer program can go to www.treadlightly.org for more information or to register for a course. Each course is free, but a credit card is required to register.

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Categories : Land Use

POCATELLO, ID (January 5) – A coalition of recreation advocacy groups filed an Amicus Curiae brief in the 10th District Court of Appeals related to the 2001 Roadless Rule this week, marking over a decade of involvement in the controversial issue. The recreation groups include the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs (“CA4WDC”), United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA) and the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA).

Environmental activists are appealing a 2008 decision by U.S. District Court of Wyoming Judge Clarence Brimmer declaring the Clinton era Roadless Rule illegal. That ruling came in a case brought by the State of Wyoming in 2007, which paralleled an earlier complaint filed by Wyoming in 2001. Brimmer’s 2008 decision minced few words, concluding the 2001 Rule “was driven by political haste and evidenced pro forma compliance with” environmental laws, using descriptors such as “flagrant” and “cavalier” in characterizing the “unequivocal” violations.

Brian Hawthorne, BRC’s Public Lands Policy Director, said, “With millions of acres of National Forests susceptible to disease and wildfire, it should be evident that a top-down, one-size-fits-all management program should never be the answer. Each roadless area is unique, and local conditions should be taken into consideration when actively managing these lands.”

“This marks a decade of involvement in the Roadless issue,” said Greg Mumm, Executive Director of BRC. “Force-feeding a ‘hands-off’ policy to manage Roadless Areas, like congressionally designated Wilderness, has been a goal of the preservationist groups for some time. BRC is proud to have protected recreational access to these lands and we are committed to continue this important effort.”

Noting the U.S. Forest Service will be revising the regulations for preparing Forest Plans, Paul Turcke, the attorney for the recreational groups, observed in their brief that “our Nation’s treasured forest lands must be actively and effectively managed. Such management necessitates detailed, site-by-site analysis; not politically convenient templates. That improper procedural means advance an agenda of less rather than more active human presence is of little legal import. This Court should seize the opportunity to place the 2001 Roadless Rule alongside the 2005 State Petitions Rule and similar misplaced efforts to manage our National Forests via election cycle emanations from the DC beltway, and to begin a return to professionally-driven and project-focused management that our forests and citizens deserve.”

The Recreation group’s filing can be found online. Learn more about the history of the Roadless Rule and latest updates on www.sharetrails.org.