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Covering recreation and environmental issues within California
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

Roads by Definition

Roads by Definition
by: John Stewart
Natural Resources Consultant
California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs

The Forest Service is embarked on a mission to evaluate and designate routes of travel within the National Forest System. The final product will be a Motor Vehicle Use Map. The central theme of the MVUM is to designate the routes of travel open for public use. Current policy stipulates the MVUM will be subject to annual review and update.

The map will highlight the terms and definitions which are provided below. The USDA Forest Service recognizes five road maintenance levels (Source: Forest Service Handbook 7709.58.10):

Level 1: Is assigned to intermittent service roads during the time they are closed. The closure period must exceed 1 year. Basic maintenance is performed to keep damage to adjacent resources to an acceptable level and to perpetuate the road for future use. The road may be of any type or construction standard or may be managed at any other maintenance level when open. When at level 1, roads are closed to vehicular traffic, but may be open and suitable to non-motorized uses.

Level 2
: Roads are for high clearance vehicles only. Passenger cars are not a consideration. Traffic levels are minor and usually consist of administrative, permitted, recreation, or other dispersed use.

Level 3: Roads are open and maintained for a prudent driver in a standard passenger car. User comfort and convenience are not considered priorities. These roads are typically low speed, single lane with turnouts and spot surfacing.

Level 4: Roads provide a moderate degree of user comfort and convenience at moderate travel speeds. Most roads are double lane and aggregate surfaced. Some roads may be single lane, paved, or dust abated.

Level 5: Roads provide a high degree of user comfort and convenience. These roads are normally double lane and paved. Some may be aggregate surfaced and dust abated.

Click on the MUIRNet Notebooks (Federal) menu option for additional information about the U.S. Forest Service.

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