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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2005, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Forest Service Alters Off-Road Rules

Forest Service alters off-road rules

By Michael Doyle -- Bee Washington Bureau
Published 2:15 am PST Thursday, November 3, 2005
Story appeared on Page A6 of The Bee


WASHINGTON - California's off-road enthusiasts will face new limits under first-of-their-kind Forest Service rules made final Wednesday. Some favorite Sierra Nevada play areas might go out of bounds. Overall, though, Forest Service officials contend, the new restrictions will better balance recreation and resource conservation.

"Our goal is to improve opportunities for motorized recreation and still ensure the best possible care of our land," Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth said Wednesday. With political engines revved up on all sides, the Forest Service did not impose a single national standard. Instead, each national forest - including the 19 in California that together encompass 20 million acres - must identify which areas are open for vehicle use.

Currently, some forests restrict vehicles to certain areas while others let them roam relatively freely. By requiring all 155 national forests and 20 national grassland areas to spell out where off-road vehicles can and cannot go, the new rule gives land managers the order they've long wanted. The new forest rules will identify what kind of vehicles will be permitted on what roads and trails and during what times of the year.

More generally, the new rules reverse how the Forest Service regulates vehicles. Instead of allowing them everywhere they are not explicitly prohibited, they will now be prohibited everywhere they are not explicitly permitted. Some forests are already moving in this direction.

The Eldorado National Forest, for one, tallies off-highway vehicle use on about 2,100 miles of roads and trails. By next October, acting under court order, the forest will have completed its environmental study formally designating what can remain open to vehicles. The Stanislaus National Forest likewise just completed public hearings in September on its vehicle use plans, and the Sequoia National Forest is close to issuing orders banning cross-country vehicle use.

By September 2008, aided by $2 million a year in state funds, all of the national forests in California are supposed to finish their vehicle-use maps.

"They're finally taking their responsibilities to manage off-road vehicles seriously," said Karen Schambach, president of the Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation, "but they should have been a lot bolder."

Schambach's conservation group, based in Georgetown, in El Dorado County, successfully sued the Forest Service to compel completion of the new vehicle use plans on the Eldorado National Forest. She said the Forest Service fell short by not setting a two-year deadline for all vehicle-use maps nationwide, and she criticized the agency for not providing additional funds to speed the work.

Conservation groups also want to ensure the final maps minimize environmental damage. Forest managers will collaborate with local residents and others in completing the maps.

"The biggest concern we have is that the rules are fairly implemented and that routes aren't eliminated that are legitimate routes," said Dick Taylor, owner of a Bakersfield tire store and president of the Kern Off-Highway Vehicle Association.

Taylor said he considered the new Forest Service rules "a prudent move" even as he stressed that "proper public input" will be needed in crafting each forest's individual plan.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2005, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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Closed unless posted open really sucks.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2005, 08:09 PM
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lets just post a bunch of open signs.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2005, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mikerox
lets just post a bunch of open signs.
Well, I wouldn't like to see a bunch of signs everywhere. Properly maintained trails don't really even need many signs at all.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-04-2005, 06:26 AM
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i think the USFS is against some tough stuff right now. They were set up with vary different goals. the number one prioritiy of the FS was logging, followed by wildlife. now recreation, which was not even considered when established is taking all the resources that they have to offer. The forest service is trying to find new ways to manage for all the different uses on the forest. they are taking from the park service when looking at putting up maps/signage/instuctions...
i wish we all had answers for this stuff, but i know that the more public input as well as public compliance, the better!

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-04-2005, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrizman
the number one prioritiy of the FS was logging, followed by wildlife.

You left out Watershed protection.

The original goals of the Forest Service was defined in the Organic Administration Act of 1897. This new law had the stated goals of Watershed protection, and Forest Protection, and a continuous timber supply.

In 1960 the Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act added Outdoor recreation, range, fish and wildlife.

In 1976 National Forest Management Act add wilderness.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-04-2005, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
Well, I wouldn't like to see a bunch of signs everywhere. Properly maintained trails don't really even need many signs at all.

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Having battled with the Prescott National Forest for years, I can tell you it's worse than that. The PNF told me that unless roads (NOT trails; in USFS parlance a "trail" is for non-motorized vehicles) are signed (meaning marked with route number), they are considered closed.

On the subject of maintenance; most four wheelers like the roads rough and rugged. However, that's a sand trap from which there is no escape.

The PNF (and I suspect all other Forests are in similiar shape) has about 1,250,000 acres and a road network of about 1800 miles. Currently they have funding to maintain about 150 miles of that 1800. The rest are on a straight trip to complete deterioration.

As time passes and the roads crumble into decay, the Forest Service will then come along and close selected roads because 1). They present a danger to the public or 2). To preserve and restore the land (meaning reverting to a roadless area).

I have long suspected that the Forest Service would be completely happy if 99% of the range was roadless and all the forest visitors were herded into approved campgrounds. That sounds like hell to me...

The obvious solution is to increase funding to the Forest Service for road maintenance. That doesn't mean turning all the forest roads into four lane freeways, but a lot of the forest roads haven't seen a dozer since they were created. However, with the current junta in power, any increase in Forest Service funding is highly unlikely.


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-04-2005, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MountainCoot
The obvious solution is to increase funding to the Forest Service for road maintenance. That doesn't mean turning all the forest roads into four lane freeways, but a lot of the forest roads haven't seen a dozer since they were created. However, with the current junta in power, any increase in Forest Service funding is highly unlikely.

Let 4WD clubs maintain the trails! Here in NorCal there are more clubs than trails, and lots of people are always willing to help out.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-05-2005, 07:09 PM
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Let 4WD clubs maintain the trails! Here in NorCal there are more clubs than trails, and lots of people are always willing to help out.

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no offence but that sounds like a horrible idea to me. Local clubs lack the resources, the knowledge and the time required to adequantly maintain trails. Bulldozers and very skilled operators are required. I dont know about you, but most of the 4wheelers i know have never taken a single silviculture class and know nothing about proper forest management. It not as simple as just protecting a stream or treading lightly. Sure thats a first, but the coniferous forests in Nor Cal are extremely complicated biomes that need proper tending and care. I ride mountain bikes, motorcycles, and drive off road every day so dont get me wrong, i want all the access in the world, but i also go on timber cruises on a regular basis in which i collect core samples and gather data concerning the standing timber. i have seen forests in their virgin state, something few people have witnessed. I know local clubs have done a lot, and i felicitate them for their efforts, but i believe that relying completely on local clubs to manage our forests and trails is an AWFUL idea. My

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-06-2005, 03:28 PM
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We're talking about trails here not roads. I doubt that a bull dozer has been on the Rubicon in 40 or 50 years. I think the part you're missing here is that the Forest Service at least the asses around here are actively trying to shut the trails down for political pandering. They can deny it all they want but it's very evident from their actions. And it's not that complicated either, mother nature did a petty fine job of it since the beginning of time without aid from all the so called experts. A little common sense goes a long long way. It's the self appointed government experts that usually royally fuck things up. The Corp of Engineers for example, need I say more?

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-06-2005, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Dick Foster
We're talking about trails here not roads. I doubt that a bull dozer has been on the Rubicon in 40 or 50 years. I think the part you're missing here is that the Forest Service at least the asses around here are actively trying to shut the trails down for political pandering. They can deny it all they want but it's very evident from their actions. And it's not that complicated either, mother nature did a petty fine job of it since the beginning of time without aid from all the so called experts. A little common sense goes a long long way. It's the self appointed government experts that usually royally fuck things up. The Corp of Engineers for example, need I say more?
My personal favorite is the issues with Cave Rock in Tahoe. You can't rock climb there anymore because the government wants to respect the fact that it is a spiritual place for the natives. However the Corp blasted a huge friggin hole through the sides of it for a road. I now this has nothing to do with trails, but that used to chap my ass when I lived there.



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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-07-2005, 09:21 AM
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Hell most if not all of the latest New Orleans bull shit was because of the Corps of Engineers fucking with the river. I am a firm subscriber to KISS and if it ain't broke don't fix it. The damn river is supposed to flood there so its gonna eventually flood no matter what we do or if the stupid shits that live there want it too or not.
What's really funny in a bad way is the nitwits in the FS can't grasp the simple concept that the more trails they shut down the more concentrated activity becomes on the ones remaining and it's the concentration and over use that does the actual damage. Iím almost convinced that is actually what they want to happen. You only have to think about it for about 5 minutes at most to reach that simple conclusion. The problem is the fuckers don't think, they just pander to the enviro-whacko idiots who know even less but like to preach pseudoscience. When in the end it's really about their sense of aesthetics and elitism. It's not about protecting the enviroment and it never really was.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-07-2005, 07:55 PM
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Hell most if not all of the latest New Orleans bull shit was because of the Corps of Engineers fucking with the river. I am a firm subscriber to KISS and if it ain't broke don't fix it. The damn river is supposed to flood there so its gonna eventually flood no matter what we do or if the stupid shits that live there want it too or not.
What's really funny in a bad way is the nitwits in the FS can't grasp the simple concept that the more trails they shut down the more concentrated activity becomes on the ones remaining and it's the concentration and over use that does the actual damage. Iím almost convinced that is actually what they want to happen. You only have to think about it for about 5 minutes at most to reach that simple conclusion. The problem is the fuckers don't think, they just pander to the enviro-whacko idiots who know even less but like to preach pseudoscience. When in the end it's really about their sense of aesthetics and elitism. It's not about protecting the enviroment and it never really was.
Idiot tree hugging hippy liberals spend half their time bitching that people who own off road vehicles dont really use them and the other half bitching about how SUVs and trucks are ripping up their nature trails and ruinning the environment. Welcome to America. if you dont like it, move to somewheres else or get your own property to play in the mud on and rip up.

By the way... i dunno if you have ever seen a damn like this one:
http://213.61.97.114/mangum/pic_db/h...over%20Dam.jpg
but if you lived in that area and flipped your light switch on, you can thank the Corp of Engineers for building that thing for you and providing you with power. otherwise we would be burning coal and further fucking up the environment and further pissing off the hippies who would want further closure of trails that you and i drive on. so next time you see someone from the Corp of Engineers, shake their hand and thank them for the good work they do. experts do an amazingly better job than people who are uneducated in the certain field. Whether its building damns, or building trails, experts are your best choice. Of course the Corp of Engineers fucks up from time to time, and thats not ok, but hey, shit happens. Like i said, welcome to America and the real world. Take it or leave it.

And dont get me started about dozers on most sections of the con. thats obviously the wrong tool for the job. Its scary to think how fast uneducated people can screw things up...

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2005, 09:18 AM
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Hoover dam was not a corps or engineers project, dummy.
Experts my ass, don't make me laugh. Expert by who's definition, their own?
Oh yeah, the last time I checked I was paying out the ass for electricity just like every other month. Most of the power around here comes from power generating facilites built and payed for by private enterprise.
Who do your work for anyway? My bet is that you're a governement worker of some sort expert at suckling at the taxpayer tit.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2005, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by white_eskimo
By the way... i dunno if you have ever seen a damn like this one:
http://213.61.97.114/mangum/pic_db/h...over%20Dam.jpg
but if you lived in that area and flipped your light switch on, you can thank the Corp of Engineers for building that thing for you and providing you with power. otherwise we would be burning coal and further fucking up the environment and further pissing off the hippies who would want further closure of trails that you and i drive on...

Have you taken the time to think about the impacts dams have on rivers? Look at the impact of dams on the Salmon runs in the NorthWest.
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-09-2005, 06:47 PM
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Have you taken the time to think about the impacts dams have on rivers? Look at the impact of dams on the Salmon runs in the NorthWest.
why dont you look at the impact dams have on people! Dams control floods, generate hydroelectric power, and provide drinking water to surrounding areas. If you have ever gone to Las Vegas, you can thank the Hoover Dam for providing a lot of the energy to keep that city running. Not to mention the fact that they are great for recreational, agricultural, and industrial use. Hydroelectricy a clean and renewable source of energy compared to the alternatives!

also, btw, the U.S. Corps of Engineers is responsible for planning, designing, building, and operating water resources and other civil works projects. Sure, you are right, the Bureau of Reclamation built the Hoover Dam, but the Corps of Enigeers is still highly involved and helps manage the dam.

Enough about dams and the Corps of Engineers. I do not work for the government; I am just another boring citizen.

Quote:
What's really funny in a bad way is the nitwits in the FS can't grasp the simple concept that the more trails they shut down the more concentrated activity becomes on the ones remaining and it's the concentration and over use that does the actual damage.
This all comes back to the whole idea of treading lightly. I agree with you, if you have too much activity on a certain trail, it will get messed up. However, i believe with the proper resources at hand, the trail can be repaired so that it is reusable for off road purposes. The problem with wheeling in nature is that you ARE going to upset the ecosystem and the environment. You leave tracks, scent, and lots of people leave trash and even broken parts behind. Once humans have an impact on nature, they destroy its natural state. No bullozer or shovel and fix it. However, if people wheel in heavy populated areas which are designated for OHVs, then the ecosystem wont be at risk and most damage done can be repaired.

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