Here is a comment letter to send to the FS for the Phase 2 ADP. LETTERS MUST BE RECEIVED BY NOVEMBER 27, 2006. Copy and paste the letter and fill in the appropriate areas and email to [email protected]
40929 SR 19
Umatilla, FL 32784
RE: Comments on the Route Designation in the Sand Pine Scrub Ecosystem
Dear Mr. Lint,
As a 4X4 enthusiast I wish to offer my comments on the proposed route designation for the areas of Ocala National Forest that are beyond the Phase I route designation. I have enjoyed motorized travel within the ONF and it is my hope that an appropriate level of designation can be made for 4X4 vehicles to continue this for many years.
Purpose of Route Designation
The typical recreational user (4X4 included) prefers a route system that is simple to locate and follow. While a physical map of the area and legal routes to ride on is useful for planning rides and to determine proximity of current location, a well-marked designated trail for the intended recreation is still required for each user group. When building new trails the Florida Trail Association uses orange blazes as a means of keeping hikers on their trail with minimal disturbance to the secluded setting; this type of route designation is what the 4X4 off road recreational user is in search of. Along with meeting a public demand the Forest Service will accomplish promoting higher impact recreation in areas of higher sustainability to reduce the impact of lesser sustainability areas.
Route Designation Scoping
The public will find the recreational experience they are in search of, whether it is provided or not. Unfortunately this is a fact and while law enforcement can assist with illegal activity the problem is far reaching and long term. If the experience is provided for by legal designation and the areas are designed/maintained to sustain the intended impact then the land resource may be protected while meeting this public demand.
Listed within the Project Goals section is Recreation Experience and it is described by “Provide excellent off-road vehicle recreation opportunities on a motorized system of trails….Trails are well maintained…” however within the Proposed Action section I do not see how that goal is to be met for Licensed 4X4 Vehicles. Removing legal access to current trails for Licensed 4X4 Vehicles and designating the rest as Open is not sufficient for an “excellent off-road vehicle recreation opportunity”. Put in another way, “Motorized Access” does not necessarily produce a “Recreation Experience” that the public is in search of; without addressing this point the land managers may fail considerably to protect the land resource and meet public demand.
The typical 4X4 enthusiast, including myself, is in search of occasional opportunities for technical vehicle challenges. In short, these are referred to as “obstacles” that require a high clearance 4X4 vehicle. Without obstacles along a trail system you have no more to offer than a simple dirt road. I believe the Forest Service should anticipate recreational user demands such as these by providing legal 4X4 opportunities to not only meet the public interest but to also direct off-road recreation where it is sustainable.
Types of obstacles can be any of the following: large rocks, fallen trees, section of depressed trail and alternating grade changes along the trail. While these obstacles can be made challenging on their own, it is desirable to encounter a range of obstacles while on a trail. These obstacles could be placed on sections of a trail to provide “points of destination” for those on the trail.
By allowing licensed 4X4 users, in cooperation with the Florida Four Wheel Drive Association, Inc., and their member clubs, to create their own obstacles from native species of rock and downed trees, a sustainable trail system can be obtained. In addition, if these obstacles are allowed, it is my personal intent to provide whatever volunteer efforts are necessary to sustain this trail system.
Licensed 4X4 Enthusiast
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