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PMAUST

Arizona Land Use - Please Do What You Can.

4 posts in this topic

Five out of the 6 National Forests in Arizona are considering new rules for

use of off-highway vehicles on 9.5 million acres of public lands in

Arizona. Of the 5 Alternatives being considered by the Forest Service, the

preferred alternative for Arizona is a complete yearlong ban on all

cross-country travel. This is the proposed plan amendment, Alternative #4.

Off-highway vehicles will be severely restricted to use on designated

trails only. The actual trail designations may not come for several years.

The 5 National Forests to be affected by this ban include: the

Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Kaibab, Prescott and Tonto National Forests.

Cross-country travel is defined by the Forest Service as travel off of or

away from open roads or trails. The Forest Service has noted that user

created trails, particularly in areas adjacent to residential development,

lack engineering and environmental elements of design and they will be shut

down with the issuance of this new policy.

The implementation of this policy in Arizona will create a precedent for

other National Forests throughout the U.S. This is a policy decision that

has the potential to affect everyone.

Throughout Arizona, comment was received by the Forest Service in response

to its March 27, 2001 Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS. The Draft EIS

containing the 5 Alternatives and the Proposed Action Alternative is now in

the final drafting stages and it is anticipated that it will be released by

late July 2002. Opportunity to comment on the Draft EIS and Proposed Action

Alternative #4 will occur at that time. There will be a 45 day comment

period.

The second part of the National Forests new OHV management strategy to be

undertaken will be the local site specific planning that will occur

following the final EIS. The site specific planning phase will then

designate the trails open for recreational OHV use.

First your riding areas will be closed outright! Then the Forest Service

will consider which trails to designate for OHV recreational use! As you

know, this can be a long process.

PLEASE SEND YOUR COMMENTS TO THE FOREST SERVICE.

To add your name to the mailing list for future announcements contact: Jim

Anderson, Land Management Planner at the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest,

928-333-6370. Email: janderson08@fs.fed.us

Contact the Forest Supervisors in the 5 National Forests:

John C. Bedell

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

Forest Supervisor's Office

PO Box 640

Springerville, AZ 85938

928-333-4301

web: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf

James W. Golden

Coconino National Forest

Forest Supervisor's Office

2323 E. Greenlaw Lane

Flagstaff, AZ 86004

928-527-3693

web: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino

Mike King

Prescott National Forest

Forest Supervisor's Office

344 S. Cortez

Prescott, AZ 86303

928-771-4700

web: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/prescott

Karl Siderits

Tonto National Forest

Forest Supervisor's Office

2324 E. McDowell Road

Phoenix, AZ 85006

602-225-5200

web: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto

Mike Williams

Kaibab National Forest

Forest Supervisor's Office

800 S. 6th Street

Williams, AZ 86046

928-635-8200

web: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/kai

ARRA will notify you of additional information when it becomes available.

ARRA's website can be found at: http://www.responsiblerecreation.com

Note: Fire danger is extreme throughout Arizona. Large area closures

continue on several National Forests. The Apache-Sitgreaves, Coronado and

Prescott National Forests are closed. There are additional closures in the

Kaibab and Coconino National Forests. Information about fire conditions and

closures can be obtained by visiting http://www.azfireinfo.com. Some

developed campgrounds remain open with restrictions on campfires and

cigarette smoking. Fireworks are illegal in Arizona. Our thoughts are with

the fire fighters.

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Are the Forest Service reps responsive to our feelings or are they pretty much already set to do as they see fit without regard to our opinions. Why isn't public vote ever taken on these types of issues. Or maybe it is and I just missed it.

Those forests make up pretty much all of the riding areas in AZ. I guess I'll just sell my dirtbike and start hiking. :)

Ok, I might sound stupid, but it is really just my brain boiling with anger that is effecting my ability to write intelligently.

ben

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Ben, in my limited experience I have found that the Forest Service itself is not really the adversary and does have some power to alter its plans to meet its responsibilities to the public needs. In fact, accommodating the needs of the OHV community is one of their jobs. The comment period is the mechanism which allows the public to monitor the Forest Service's planning activities.

It is a staged process. First comments are taken on the general direction for an EIS. Then a draft is put forth and opened for public comment. Even once the EIS is finalized, specific local actions are directed by regional offices which must continue to seek public comment. This process is wide open for us to let them know what the public wants them to do. Once actions plans are set forth, the only recourse left is litigation.

Attend as many public meetings as you can and write the letters. It does make a difference.

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Lets help our friends out in AZ. It doesn't take that long and we will all benefit. Thanks, Paul

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