BLUERIBBON COALITION ACTION ALERT!
PRIORITY LEVEL: CRITICAL
CLEARWATER NF TRAVEL PLAN - COMMENTS NEEDED BY OCTOBER 2, 2009
Of all of the recent travel plans in Idaho, the Clearwater is by far the worst for OHV and snowmobile recreation.
Recreationists will lose more opportunity with this travel plan than any other travel plan in the state.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This plan includes both summer and winter travel.
We have tried to make commenting on these plans as easy as possible. So there are no excuses.
Remember, the deadline is this Friday (October 2),
so please read the Action Alert below and take action today!
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact BRC.
Thanks in advance for your support,
BLUERIBBON COALITION ACTION ALERT!
The comment period deadline on the draft winter and summer Travel Plan for the Clearwater National Forest is set for October 2, 2009. This is the first time a National Forest in Region 1 has attempted site-specific implementation of their new (and unlawful) de-facto Wilderness policy. COMMENTS ARE URGENTLY NEEDED
WHY THIS IS SO IMPORTANT:
Since 1991, motorized opportunities have decreased dramatically in Idaho. The Clearwater is an excellent example. According to the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, in 1991, there were 885 miles of motorized trails. In 1994, there were 829 miles. In 2005, the Clearwater had 696 miles.
The Clearwater is proposing additional closures with this latest travel plan. And Motorcycle single track trails will see a huge hit, with one Alternative closing just over 60%!
Comments must be in writing (paper or electronic) and must be received by October 2, 2009.
Mail written comments to: Kamiah Ranger Station, Attn: Lois Foster, Travel Planning Team Leader, Rt. 2, Box 191, Kamiah, ID 83536. Email comments to: [email protected]
MORE INFO ON THE WEB:
BRC encourages OHV and snowmobile enthusiasts to carefully view the maps on the web and check to see if the trails you use or the areas you enjoy are on any of the Alternatives. Travel Planning and OHV Rule - Clearwater NF
For more information, contact Lois Foster, Team Leader, at 208-935-4258.
STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO EMAIL YOUR COMMENTS:
NOTE: Please be polite and, if possible, make your comment letter as personal as you can.
STEP 1: Open your email program and start a draft email. Address the email to [email protected]
. Put "Comments on Clearwater National Forest Travel Plan" in the Subject Line.
STEP 2: Use the comments below as a guideline for comments in your email.
Cut and paste is okay, but try to make your comment letter as personal as possible.
STEP 3: Take just a minute to add a bit about where you live, where you like to ride and how much trail-based recreation means to you. Be certain to include your name and address. A return email address is NOT sufficient! ("anonymous" emailsare often discarded).
EXTRA CREDIT: If you can add any trail-specific information or personal testimony about your experiences enjoying this spectacular area, please take a minute to add that to your email. (See links above for maps and other info.)
Sample comment letter:
Kamiah Ranger Station
Attn: Louis Foster, Travel Planning Team Leader
RT 2 Box 191
Kamiah, ID 83536
As an Off-Highway Vehicle enthusiast, I strongly oppose the level of closures proposed by the Clearwater National Forest. I object to the fact that the agency refused to develop even one alternative that did not significantly reduce motorized trail opportunity.
If forced to choose between the flawed range of Alternatives you have presented to the recreating public, I would recommend Alternative B be adopted. However, numerous changes should be made to both summer and winter use.
I strongly oppose the Clearwater's approach to managing recommended Wilderness Areas (RWA). Simply stated, if OHV use did not preclude these areas being designated as RWAs, then continued OHV use would not significantly impact their RWA status. To argue otherwise is arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of authority. The inventory criteria must not deviate substantially from the management prescription.
The Alternatives are especially disappointing for snowmobile use. Over the last 20 years, high mountain alpine riding has been drastically reduced across Idaho and Montana. The Clearwater contains some of the last remaining areas that provide this very valuable opportunity. All of the Alternatives propose unacceptable losses for snowmobilers. I recommend you meet with representatives of Idaho State Snowmobile Association and discuss how your alternatives can be modified to provide an adequate level of this type of use.
The Junction Mountain Trail #191 provides a great looping single-track trail looping opportunity for motorcycles using Trail #106. This trail provides a great looping opportunities for motorcycle use in the Kelly forks area.
The Junction Creek Trail #106 is a great looping single-track trail looping opportunity for motorcyclists.
The Windy Ridge Trail #167 (Cook Mountain Section) should remain open. Closing this trail eliminates a popular and sustainable looping opportunity for the Weitas drainage and Junction mountain area.
The Switchback Hill Trail #567 provides access to the Scurvy Mountain Lookout from Windy Ridge and Junction Mountain. This trail is enjoyable and allows riders to make connections with the Scurvy Mountain Lookout.
The Cook Mountain Trail #627 and the Windy Creek Trail #634 also offers great looping opportunities. These trails are being used almost solely by motorcyclist enthusiasts and must to be brushed by the Trail Rangers annually.
The Upper Weitas Creek Trail #20 is one of the few ATV opportunities in the area and is highly prized by the ATV community for the scenery it provides. In addition, the Fish Lake Trail #419 is a very popular ATV Trail to a scenic fishing destination.
The Weitas Ridge Trail #173 provides a looping opportunity for expert level motorcycle enthusiasts, limiting the number of motorized users who can use the trail. The trail runs along the ridge so there is limited sedimentation into streams.
The Weitas Butte Trail #103 provides an essential connection to the Weitas Creek Trail System. The ford at the bottom of the trail at Weitas Creek keeps motorcycles off this trail until late summer. This trail is cleared annually by the local motorcyclists.
The Liz Butte Trail #649 provides great looping opportunities with Weitas Creek Trail 20 and Trail 650. It is also cleared by local motorcycle enthusiasts.
The Bugle Point Trail #580 is a great single-track trail that allows motorcyclists to bypass the Pierce-Superior Road #250 and connects up with the Weitas Creek Trail.
The Trail Creek Trail #124 provides a single-track trail connection to the Pot Mountain Area for motorcyclists.
The Pot Mountain Ridge Trail #144 is a premier single-track motorcycle trail. This trail provides one of the most scenic rides in Idaho.. This trail requires an advanced skill level to ride which limits the motorized use. The trail is also limited to later season of use due the elevation and snowpack.
Jackknife Ridge Trail #154 provides an important connector to the Pot Mountain Trail. Discontinuing the maintenance the motorized trail ranger program performs will result in increased erosion and eventually render the trail unusable.
The Chateau Rock Trail #165 provides a looping connection to the Pot Mountain Trail #144. This trail is primarily used and cleared by motorcyclists. The Cave Point Trail #617 provides another looping connection to the Pot Mountain Trail #144
The Cold Springs Peak Trail #169 provides a single-track trail experience to the cabin and has been cleared by trail rangers for many years.
The entire length of the Elizabeth Mountain Trail #445 is an important connector to the Black Canyon road and allows motorized users access to the lakes in the area. The trail is in good condition with minimal sediment load carried down the trail.
The Pollack Ridge Trail #478 is in great condition and was rebuilt by a prison work crew in the mid 90's over the years the trail rangers have had to work hard to keep this trail open and free of brush. It makes a great loop opportunity to fish lake.
The Osier Ridge Trail #429, along with Pollack ridge, provide an excellent ride and loop opportunity on a trail that is easily sustainable for motorbike recreation opportunities.
Alternatives C and D close the Upper North Fork Trail #373 to motorized use. This trail is also a part of the Idaho Centennial Trail (west). It is the last remaining single-track motorized trail in the Vanderbilt area. In order to keep at least one trail in this area on the system, the trail should be designated for motorcycle use.
All alternatives will close trails #373-A and #94. These two trails are a part of the Idaho Centennial Trail and provide visitors the opportunity to travel the Idaho Centennial Trail outside of recommended wilderness. It is improper for the Forest not to include these trails on any of their Alternatives.
The Eldorado Creek Trail #31 on the Lochsa Ranger District should remain open for single-track motorcycle use. Resource damage is a non-issue on this trail.