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Subject: Tahoe NF meetings



Hi all - the Federal Register published the Notice of Intent yesterday before we expected and we did not get this announcement out to you before hand. We apologize! The information is currently on the TNF website at
www.fs.fed.us. The entire Forest map takes a while to load, but you can click on the individual districts/areas that are small in size. The comment period extends through May 14. Please see the information below for a general overview and a reminder of the public meetings in the next 2 weeks. Several of you have asked if you need to attend the meeting closest to the trails you are interested in or if the meetings will all be the same. For the most part, the meetings will be similar, however more emphasis will be placed on the trails in the area nearest the meeting. The majority of time at each meeting, however, will be spent reviewing the criteria as to how the trails were evaluated.


Tahoe National Forest
OHV Route Designation/Motorized Travel Management Project
April 2007

Overview
In 2004, the Forest Service started a process to designate off-highway vehicle routes for the Tahoe National Forest as part of a Region-wide effort. This project has grown over the last few years to incorporate new ideas and revised National direction and now includes all (wheeled)motorized travel.

This project was initiated to respond to the growing use of off highway vehicles. It will help establish a system of routes that offers a fun and challenging experience while protecting sensitive areas. This project will only designate trails, routes, or areas on National Forest System land – not on private land.

At the end of this project:
· Some routes that are currently being used for motorized travel (but are not designated) will be added to the designated trail system;
· Some routes that are currently being used for motorized travel (but are not designated) will be closed to motorized wheeled vehicle use;
· Seasonal restrictions may be placed on some routes and areas;
· Access to dispersed camping sites may change;
· Some routes/roads may be designated for specific types or widths of vehicles;
· Motor vehicle use off designated routes, trails, and areas will be prohibited.

Current Status:
After several years of mapping the existing (non-designated) routes and areas and discussions/meetings with the public to determine popular trails or environmental concerns, the Tahoe National Forest is completing an Environmental Impact Statement to assess various alternatives regarding possible motorized roads, trails and areas and the effects of those alternatives.

A Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been published in the Federal Register. A public comment period beginning on April 11 will close on May 14. Comments can be emailed to
[email protected] or to Travel Management Team, Tahoe National Forest, 631 Coyote St, Nevada City, CA 95959. Maps that show the proposed routes are available on the Tahoe National Forest website – www.fs.fed.us/r5/tahoe . For those that don’t have web capacity, a map is
also available for review at TNF District Offices and the Forest Headquarters.

Identified in the Proposed Action, impacts from the following will be disclosed in the EIS:
1. The addition of 50 miles (48 segments) of existing, unauthorized trails to the current motorized trail system;
2. The addition of one 60-acre area where the use of wheeled motorized vehicles by the public would be allowed anywhere within the area;
3. Allowing non-street legal vehicle use on approximately 3 miles of an existing National Forest System road where such use is currently prohibited;
4. The prohibition of wheeled motorized vehicle travel off designated roads, trails or areas, except as allowed by permit or other authorization.

Public Meetings:
Three public meetings will be held to share the Forest Service proposal. These will not be hearings and public comments will not be taken at the meetings. The emphasis at each meeting will be the trails/roads/areas for
that local area although all the maps will be available at the meetings.

April 18 – Truckee – 6:30 – 9:00 pm – Hampton Inn – 11951 Highway 267
April 24 – Foresthill – 6:30 – 9:00 pm – Foresthill High School Gymnasium,
Foresthill Road
April 26 – Grass Valley – 6:30 – 9:00 pm – Banner Grange, 12629 McCourtney
Road

Additional EIS Comment Period and Timeline
The draft EIS is expected to be available for public review in the fall, 2007. A 45-day comment period will follow. The final EIS is expected in the winter, 2008.

Background - 5-Step Process
The TNF has been following a 5-step process outlined in the Regional Route
Designation Guidebook.
1. Map existing unauthorized roads, motorized trails, and areas – Completed 2005
2. Issue Temporary Forest Order prohibiting motorized wheeled vehicle use off mapped roads, trails, and areas. Expected completion – spring 2007
3. Evaluate inventoried roads, trails and areas and collaborate with the public in developing a proposed system of roads, trails and areas. Completed 2006
4. Complete analyses and prepare National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents. In progress
5. Issue Forest Order prohibiting motor vehicle use off roads, designated trails and areas. Install signing and publish maps showing designated motorized travel system. Expected completion 2008.

Mailing List:
If anyone would like to be placed on the TNF Travel Management Project mailing list, please contact Ann Westling ([email protected] )

Contacts:
Project Coordinator – Phil Horning ([email protected]) 478-6210
Interdisciplinary Team Leader – David Arrasmith ([email protected] ) 478-6143

Ann Westling
Tahoe National Forest
Public Affairs Officer
(530) 478-6205

PLEASE IF YOU RECREATE IN THE TAHOE NATIONAL FOREST GET INVOLVED NOW! I DO NOT KNOW ALL OF THE TRAILS OR AREAS THAT WE ENJOY SO PLEASE LET THE FOREST KNOW WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU!

Please pass this along to your friends.



Thanks
 
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