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John Stewart

Sequoia NF Conceptional Alternatives Revealed

As noted from the Sierra NF meeting, the Recreation Concept is ill-defined as presented in the four conceptional alternatives.  The concepts are based of the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum that was defined in 1986; almost 30 years ago when recreation pressures and public demand for recreation were different than they are in 2014.  The concept includes “minor edits to resolve GIS conflicts” and is consistent through three of the concepts.  This begs the question “If minor edits to resolve GIS conflicts are recognized, what additional changes would be revealed with a more comprehensive review of the outdated ROS?” Addressing “minor edits to resolve GIS conflicts” are not framework/programatic actions.  They are fundamental activities that are required within daily work activities to maintain accurate records.These issues were again articulated to another cast of characters with the charge to present agency points and receive public feedback.The agency did receive a message that “recreation” as defined in the conceptional alternatives was ill-defined and need a complete description that articulated the current status and aspirational goals to achieve a desired condition that addresses the needs of current and future recreation needs within the framework of the forest plan.In other words, a few ill-defined sentences are not sufficient to provide a robust description of current recreation needs.  This description should include such issues as travel management and the Motor Vehicle Use Maps, National Visitors Use Monitoring, and other agency programs dealing with recreation management.These need to be included as reference documents (and data points) to conceive management alternatives that provide a future management framework.Understandably, this is a “conceptional” document.  However, with respect to recreation, the “concepts” are vague and lack a foundation to develop the aspirational “guidance framework” envisioned for the forest plan.The Pacific Crest Trail is part of the National Trail System designated by Congress.  As such, it is a linear feature on a map.  Congressional intent did allow for developing “right-of-way” corridors to ensure the PCT (and other trails within the National Trail System) provided a contiguous 100 minimal experience.  The “right-of-way” corridors were to account for segments where private or state lands impeded a contiguous 100 mile experience on federal lands.One concept proposed is that a “corridor” be established for the PCT within the area of forest plan coverage.  A briefing paper was provided that addressed this issue.  While there is a proposal floated to establish a one-mile corridor for the PCT, the briefing paper makes it clear that this pending forest plan revision does not make travel management decisions.  A study of the briefing paper shows an attempt to define a “corridor” that does not change existing approved uses; however, it does create a situation where future multiple use could be subjected to restrictions in future management reviews.  While there is an implied intent for no restriction on other activities, there is no prohibition of such a restriction.Overall, the concept of a corridor is a consideration that needs review to determine if it will enhance the recreation experience of the user and provide for protection of the resources.  Such a the trail corridor should be of sufficient width to address primary uses or users in keeping with the congressional intent is designating the trail.  In other instances, the agencies do define “corridors”; generally, 30 feet from center-line, as a means to protect resources while allowing opportunity for off-trail activities such as camping.Overall, these are conceptional alternatives and will be adjusted based on feedback received from this round of listening sessions.  These goals are expected to be the foundations for a document that defines goals and objectives that can be translated into implementation activities that can be monitored.  Monitoring implies being able to determine success or failure in achieving goals and objectives.With the Sierra and Sequoia meetings complete, the Inyo NFs is next in hosting their public outreach meeting.  Stay tuned, more information is coming out as to the direction these plans will take.

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John Stewart

Sierra NF Conceptional Alternatives Revealed

The Recreation Concept is ill-defined in presenting the four conceptional alternatives.  The concepts are based of the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum that was defined in 1986; almost 30 years ago when recreation pressures and public demand for recreation were different than they are in 2014.  The concept includes “minor edits to resolve GIS conflicts” and is consistent through three of the concepts.  This begs the question “If 'minor edits to resolve GIS conflicts' is recognized as a need to accomplish, what additional changes would be revealed with a more comprehensive review of the circa-1986 ROS?”  Understandably, this is a “conceptional” document.  However, with respect to recreation, the “concepts” are vague and lack a foundation to develop the aspirational “guidance framework” envisioned for the forest plan.A briefing paper was provided that addressed the Pacific Crest Trail.  While there is a proposal floated to establish a one-mile corridor for the PCT, the briefing paper makes it clear that this pending forest plan revision does not make travel management decisions.  Further, the trail corridor will be of sufficient width to address primary uses or users in keeping with the congressional intent is designating the trail.Overall, these are conceptional alternatives and will be adjusted based on feedback received from this round of listening sessions.  It is troubling that framework guidance for the future will rely on outdated information from the past.Sequoia and Inyo NFs will be hosting similar public outreach meetings this week.

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John Stewart

Forest Service launches over-snow vehicle use designation analysis

The Forest Service will soon begin the process of preparing a separate environmental impact statement for each of the five forests: Lassen, Tahoe, Eldorado, Stanislaus, and Plumas National Forests. The environmental impact statements will be prepared as part of a staggered completion schedule (separated by several months for each of the five forests), starting with the Lassen National Forest. The Regional Forester’s office is coordinating this effort. The Forest Supervisor on each of the five forests will be the responsible official and will sign the final decision for each forest.

Public participation is essential for the project’s success and in helping identify issues and concerns to consider in the analysis. Before the Forest Service begins the environmental analysis, we encourage members of the public to attend upcoming open houses to learn more about this project, offer input for the upcoming National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, and share information. Four of the five forests are hosting open houses in November. The Tahoe National Forest will host meetings after the NEPA process begins, sometime after December 2014.

Meetings are scheduled as follows:


•    Stanislaus National Forest: Monday, November 3, in Sonora, Calif. at the Best Western Sonora Oaks, 19551 Hess Avenue, at 6:30 p.m.
•    Eldorado National Forest: Tuesday, November 4, in Placerville, Calif. at the Best Western Placerville Inn, 6850 Green Leaf Drive, at 6:30 p.m.
•    Lassen National Forest: Wednesday, November 5, in Susanville, Calif. at the Lassen National Forest Supervisors Office, 2550 Riverside Drive, at 6:30 p.m.
•    Plumas National Forest: Thursday, November 6, in Quincy, Calif. at the Mineral Building on the Plumas County fairgrounds, 204 Fairgrounds Road, at 6:30 p.m.

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John Stewart

Illustrated San Gabriel Mountains NM map available online

This monument was designated pursuant to the Antiquities Act of 1906, which pertains to Federal lands only and enhances protection of those lands within the boundaries of the monument, which in all cases are limited to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the resources to be protected.

 In determining the appropriate boundaries, factors such as extensive infrastructure, existing encumbrances, land ownership, and anticipated management access needs were considered in order to afford the best opportunity for successful and effective monument and forest management.

All areas and resources within the Angels and San Bernardino National Forests, including areas not within the monument boundary, will continue to be managed in accordance with the Forest Service’s mission to protect the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

For more information on specifics related to the map and its boundaries, please contact Sherry Rollman, Angeles National Forest, at (626) 574-5205.

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John Stewart

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Designated

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The new National Monument will allow hiking, fishing, mountain biking, camping, hunting and other established recreational activities such as four-wheel driving on designated roads, and will not create new water rights or affect existing water rights.  The designation will only apply to federal lands and will not impact private, state, or local property within the boundaries of or adjacent to a national monument.In June 2014, Representative Chu authored HR 4858, the San Gabriel National Recreation Area Act, which is sitting in the House Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation. This monument designation includes almost half of the area proposed under the legislation.  The map below depicts the area of the new National Monument.

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John Stewart

Forest Service Announces Public Meetings for Revised Forest Plans

§  6:00-8:00pm - Monday, September 15, Sierra National Forest, Holiday Inn, 5090 East Clinton Way, Fresno, CA§  6:00-8:00pm - Tuesday, September 16, Sequoia National Forest, Supervisor’s Office, 1839 South Newcomb Street, Porterville, CA§  6:00-8:00pm - Thursday, September 18, Inyo National Forest, Tri-County Fairgrounds, Sierra Street & Fair Drive, Bishop, CAThe NOI will inform the public of the Forest Service’s intent to prepare and develop an environmental impact statement (EIS) that, when completed, will revise forest plans for the Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests.  The NOI will also have information on the purpose and need for this action along with the agency’s proposed action.  The final EIS will result in three separate Records of Decision and three separate forest plans.  Forest Supervisors will remain the “responsible official” for making decisions on their specific forest plans.The Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo are three of eight national forests that were selected as “early adopters,” meaning they will be the first forests to revise their land management plans using the new National Forest System Planning Rule, which was completed in 2012.  The planning rule provides the framework for Forest Service land management plans across the nation.Next month’s public meetings are part of the “scoping period” which gives the public a chance to tell the Forest Service what issues and concerns they think should be addressed in the EIS before the Forest Service begins drafting the document, and to provide written public comment regarding the NOI’s purpose and need, and its proposed action.     For more information regarding forest plan revisions, visit the Pacific Southwest Region’s planning website at: www.fs.usda.gov/main/r5/landmanagement/planning.For forest-specific information, please contact that forest directly:Inyo NF: Deb Schweizer at 760-873-2427 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. NF: Alicia Embrey at 559-784-1500 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. NF: Dirk Charley at 559-297-0706 x4805 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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