Eldorado Travel Management: A Draft Supplemental EIS concerning 42 high-elevation routes in the Eldorado NF has been released for public comment. Initial information from the Forest Service indicated that a minor modification of standards and guidelines would clear a majority of the routes for re-opening. However, the public meetings indicate that extensive mitigation work will be required before routes can be opened.
A conference call between the BlueRibbon Coalition and Cal4 was held to layout a strategy to move forward within the bounds of the on-going litigation. (As I was in Boise, I was on the call from Paul Turke’s office.)
Following that conference call, I drafted letter with talking points that has been posted to the Cal4 website to allow members to easily submit comments on the Eldorado SEIS.
BlueRibbon Coalition has submitted an Action Alert to their mail list pointing people to the Cal4 website to submit letters through the letter generator. To date, 65 letters concerning Eldorado have been submitted through the Cal4 letter generator.
USMC Johnson Valley Acquisition: The proposed acquisition of Johnson Vally OHV Area by the USMC now has a formal Record of Decision. Additionally, the proposal has been submitted for Congressional action under a military appropriations bill. Due to on-going budget debates, final outcome of the proposal is not clear. However, due the sequestration, the base expansion is low-hanging fruit that has a high probability of being dropped.
SB 234 - Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Bill: The bill is now in print and should be the final bill. While several changes were proposed, the bill has been scaled back to deal only with grandfathering the aftermarket seats, and clarifying that handholds can be modified.
Basically, model year 2013 and older side-by-side vehicles can have an aftermarket rear seat with some restrictions. And, the definition of a “hand-hold” has been clarified. This was prompted to get the CHP to drop opposition to the bill. To date, the Sierra Club has provided the only opposition to the bill.
OHMVR Commission Meeting: The OHMVR Commission meeting was held in Redding and featured a tour of the Chappie-Shasta OHV Area. The new State Parks Director (Gen, Tony Jackson, USMC (Ret)) was in attendance.
Between frequent brief conversation during the tour and in discussions at dinner, I am encouraged that General Jackson will work to enhance recreation opportunities within State Parks.
I drafted a letter to General Jackson thanking him for attending the Commission meeting and his encouraging words towards enhancing the recreation component of State Parks.
The letter has been sent to Governor Brown, Resources Agency Secretary Laird, and State Parks Director Jackson under California Motorized Recreation Council letterhead. AMA District 36 and 37, American Sand Association, California Nevada Snowmobile Association and Off-Road Business Association joined Cal4 as signers on the letter. (A copy of the letter is attached to this report.)
Clear Creek Management Area: BLM has released their decision on the Clear Creek MAnagement Area which is continued exclusion of OHV recreation. In the last Congressional session, Representative Sam Farr introduced legislation to re-open Clear Creek as a National Recreation Area supporting OHV opportunity. That legislation is expected to be re-introduced within the coming months. Stay tuned as the issue is still alive.
Southern California National Forests Land Management Plan (LMP) Amendment: The Forest Service has released, for review and comment, the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) Southern California National Forests Land Management Plan (LMP) Amendment. The proposed amendment would revise land use zone allocations for select Inventoried Roadless Areas within the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres, and San Bernardino National Forests. It would alson amend LMP monitoring protocols.
The Draft SEIS is available for review and comment on the project website at: http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/fs-usda-pop.php?project=35130 The purpose of this comment period is to provide an opportunity for the public to provide early and meaningful participation on a proposal before a decision is made. Additionally, those who provide substantive comments during this comment period will be eligible to file an objection to the proposed amendment pursuant to the 36 CFR part 219 subpart B regulations at the time the Final Environmental Impact Statement is released.
The Environmental Protection Agency published a Notice of Availability (NOA) for the Draft SEIS in the Federal Register on Friday, February 15, 2013. The opportunity to provide comments ends 90 days following that date. The comment period will close on May 16, 2013.
Send written comments to the Cleveland National Forest, 10845 Rancho Bernardo Road, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92127-2107, ATTN: LMP Amendment. Send electronic comments via e-mail to:
Dinky Landscape Restoration Project: Work on the scoping for the proposed Bald Mountain Project continues. A document for public comment is expected by late April. The proposed pro- ject will involve forest thinning and meadow restoration. Two routes are proposed for formal closure. Both have been administratively closed to public access for about 20 years. The routes face issues with endangered species and close proximity to a stream.
Forest Plan Revisions (Inyo, Sierra, and Sequoia NFs): Public meetings have begun on the forest plan revision process. A bio-regional assessment is currently being developed and ex- pected to be complete in December 2013.