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Old 08-22-2007, 12:44 PM   #1
Anthony OP
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Save The Trails! Flagstaff, Az/Coconino National Forest

Coconino Trail Riders ACTION ALERT!!

The Coconino Trail Riders (CTR) need your help!

Recently, the Coconino National Forest released their proposed Travel Management Plan for public comment. Despite strong public support for more dirt bike, ATV and 4x4 trails, the Forest Service is proposing to close over a thousand miles of roads and trails!

The proposal, officially called a “Proposed Action,” (PA) calls for a drastic closure of existing roads and trails to motorized vehicles. Specifically regarding trails, the PA leaves us with less than 24.5 miles of motorized trail.

Yes, you read that right. Of the hundreds of miles of existing, legal motorized trails currently being enjoyed by many thousands of American citizens, the Coconino is proposing all but 24 miles be closed. Some of these trails have been enjoyed by families for over 30 years. This in a forest of over 1.8 million acres!

CTR NEEDS YOUR HELP! The comment period for the Proposed Action ends on September 10. We need to have your letter in Forest Service hands before then! Please e-mail your comment today!

We’ve made it super-easy for you to write a comment letter. Just follow the instructions below and email your comment today.

Jim Hall
President,
Coconino Trail Riders

PS: CTR is working with other local, state and national OHV groups on this. In addition, we have a great alliance of non-motorized trail users supporting more motorized trails. With your letter, we can show the CNF how much these trails are loved. Please forward this email to friends, family and other trail users.


COCONINO TRAIL RIDERS ACTION ALERT:
COMMENTS NEEDED ON BAD TRAVEL PLAN ON THE COCONINO NATIONAL FOREST

SITUATION:
The Coconino National Forest is formulating a Travel Management Plan pursuant to the agency’s new travel management regulations. The agency’s regulations clearly state that user created trails should be considered when formulating a travel plan. Indeed, little of the agency’s travel routes were “planned.” Many popular recreational routes are old mining roads, logging roads, stock trails and some were created by forest visitors.

Sadly, the Coconino flatly refused to incorporate any of these trails into their initial proposal. According to the cover letter dated July 16, 2007, the Forest Supervisor stated the agency does not have sufficient staffing or time to analyze these routes.

The Coconino Trail Riders believe this approach is unfair and reflects a clear bias against motorized users. We also note that this flawed approach is also inconsistent with the spirit, if not the letter of the Travel Management Rule.

For more information and to look at the maps please visit the CNF’s website at:
http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/tmr.shtml

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:

Using the information below, please send a letter to the Coconino National Forest. In addition to what we suggest, please include any specific information and concerns which you may have in your letter. Please be polite and don’t forget to include your name and address. “Anonymous” emails often are discarded.

Send e-mails to : comments-southwestern-coconino@fs.fed.us
Mail letters to: Nora Rasure, Forest Supervisor
1824 South Thompson
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Fax comments to: (928) 527-3620

CTR MEGA ACTION TIP:
It’s always good to start your comment letter with just a bit about your background and how much you and your family enjoy motorized recreation on the Coconino National Forest.

Issue: The CNF is proposing only 24.5 miles of motorized trails. This represents a closure of hundreds of miles of currently legal trails that are enjoyed by OHV users.
Comment Suggestion:

Comment Suggestion: Tell the CNF that you believe 24.5 miles of trail will not meet the current demand for trail use. Tell the CNF that the Proposed Action fails to meet the purpose and need of the travel management plan.

Issue: The U.S. Forest Service’s own Travel Management Rule clearly allows so-called “user created” routes to be included into the travel plans. Yet, the CNF flatly refuses to even consider any of these popular trails.

Comment Suggestion: Tell the Coconino that the existing user-created trail system is highly valued by OHV users. Tell them that you object to the way they have refused to consider their designation. Ask the CNF to consider the trails the Coconino Trail Riders have proposed.

Issue: According to the agency’s own data, OHV use has grown in popularity among National Forest visitors. In fact, according to a Forest Service study, over 25% of Arizona’s population enjoys OHV recreation. Yet the PA proposes drastic closures. Regulations require the CNF look at a wide range of alternatives. We need to make sure the CNF formulates a true “pro-recreation” alternative.

Comment Suggestion: As an OHV user I am directly affected by your decision. I formally request that you formulate a “pro-recreation” or “maximum recreation” alternative. At least one of your alternatives should attempt to accommodate the documented popularity of motorized trail recreation.

Issue: Early on in this process members of CTR made several, specific route proposals to the CNF. Sadly, they seem to be refusing to even consider our input.

Comment Suggestion: I strongly support the recommendations of the Coconino Trail Riders. Please consider the trail system proposal submitted by the CTR.

Issue: In order to estimate the impact of their actions on YOU, you’ll need to know what trails are proposed for closure. Incredibly, the Coconino doesn’t plan to tell you. The Proposed Action failed to appropriately inventory and include any user-created trails as is allowed by the National Travel Management Rule.

Comment Suggestion: In order to comment on how this decision will impact my use and enjoyment of the Coconino National Forest, I need to be able to compare and contrast your proposal with the existing condition. Yet trails I know to exist do not appear on your maps. Please include a complete and accurate estimate of the current trails.

Issue: Road or trail specific info is needed. If you recreate on the Coconino, simply tell them where you go and why. Include photos if you can. Be as specific as you can. If you can’t think of any specific comment, just use the comment suggestion below.

Comment Suggestion: -Ask that the Coconino National Forest designate the “Around the Peaks Loop”, the “Wing Mountain Loop” and the “Airport Loops” open for motorized use.

Include your name and address. Also any other contact information (e-mail or phone number) you want to provide.


THANK YOU!!
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Old 08-24-2007, 02:10 PM   #2
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Old 08-24-2007, 09:29 PM   #3
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Just Sent off an e mail, I hope it will help
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Old 08-24-2007, 11:59 PM   #4
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Initially, I thought that my comments posted in a related thread would directly carry over to this topic. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...9&postcount=34

But, it sort of strikes closer to my heart when the lands are in my back yard. I love AZ's forest lands. I can't say that I really use the "trail" system as much as the "roads", and i think that distinction in this case makes me sit on the fence and wait to be better informed.

I also think that the request above, though well-intentioned, is a bit veiled and doesn't give enough info for inmates to really make an informed decision.

I will be looking into this further...

Where is the map of proposed closures? I was unable to find it in a brief search.
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Old 08-25-2007, 07:36 PM   #5
Anthony OP
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No really--

http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/pro...d-action.shtml

Maps and Proposed Action are on this linked page. Truly, by the Forest Services own admission in this PA, we would only have 24.5 miles of motorized trail on 1.8 million acreas of National Forest. Only about 10 miles of that is single track, and that's not all constructed yet. (Coconino Trail Riders are assisting in this construction with USFS cooperative agreement; some thanks we get....)

Sometimes the sky really is falling. This is an example.


In response to this comment-- "I can't say that I really use the "trail" system as much as the "roads", and i think that distinction in this case makes me sit on the fence and wait to be better informed"---, when you look at the maps, those myriad little brown lines you'll see are all of the roads you will no longer be able to ride. CTR's focus is single track, but the road situation probably needs some review to make sure that nothing worthwhile is being removed from the system or for that matter, that nothing redundant is left open (less likely). If you are familiar with any of these areas, your first hand knowledge could be useful for comment on the routes they've chosen to leave opened or to close.

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Old 08-26-2007, 01:16 AM   #6
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Well, I read the entire Proposed Action and I have spent some time looking over the map. I see the urgency in CTR's actions to do something here. Yes, there will be little SINGLETRACK left. I'll have to trust your estimation of ~25 miles, because I found that figure to be cited under the "existing condition". Since you have a stake in preserving singletrack, then I guess you have a hard fight in front of you.

Frankly, when I look at the map, I see too many "roads", even after the proposed closures. I use the term roads in a general sense, as the map reflects likely a high percentage of all paths created by/for motorized vehicles (I'm sure they missed some). According to the data, most are user-created, meaning that they only exist because somebody decided to blaze a trail. Whether or not that trail is indeed useful or not generally leads to that trail becoming A) closed or B) established, maintained, and signed for public use. These decisions are made by forest service personnel.

Just because Johnny found a shortcut back to camp doesn't mean it was right- but under the present rules, it wasn't "prohibited". The present rules were created prior to a huge boom on OHV use. In modern times, where OHV's are sold for a song at Checker and Pep Boys, there are hundreds of times more Johnnys out there. Forest management must be adaptive just like everything else.

The management plan makes sense to me. I'm sorry to see off-road enthusiasts inconvenienced by the implementation, but I also see MANY roads left open. I believe the plan noted ~3,900 miles of roads open to motor vehicles after plan implementation. It also cites that 79% of the forest will be within 1/2 mile of an open road. To me, that defines REDUNDANT.

To look at this on the flip side- only 21% of the forest will be >1/2 mile from a road. That's not very far from the dust, loud mufflers, and other often-noted annoyances. Considering that only 11%* of forest users are OHV enthusiasts, it's easy to see who's getting the raw deal, and it isn't the ones on cycles or quads.

* See comment below.
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DirtyDog screwed with this post 08-27-2007 at 10:59 PM
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Old 08-26-2007, 05:15 PM   #7
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We really do not have an issue with the reduced # of roads, but they seem to have chosen these roads somewhat arbitrarily in some cases. There are some that we would see left open, but we'd probably be fine to see other's go. There is so much data in that arena that it is really hard to assess whether they are doing the right thing. From the small sampling that I am aware of, the selections might have been done with a dart and a map on a bulletin board.

ANYONE WITH SPECIFIC LOCAL KNOWLEDGE ON THIS FOREST SHOULD COMMENT ON THE ROADS THEY"VE CHOSEN!
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Old 08-27-2007, 01:57 PM   #8
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I don't care how many roads they close. I want my singletrack. Hopefully enough people will send in letters.
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Old 08-27-2007, 02:22 PM   #9
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"""Considering that only 11% of forest users are OHV enthusiasts, it's easy to see who's getting the raw deal, and it isn't the ones on cycles or quads."""

Where did you get that 11% number? Other sources quote around 25%...


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Old 08-27-2007, 10:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony
Where did you get that 11% number? Other sources quote around 25%...
You know, I was trying to track the source of that number down... it's possible that I mixed up my stats, but for some reason that % stuck with me. Didn't mean to mislead.

I'll defer to you if you have the figures. Regardless, we'll agree that it's quite a minority.
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:49 PM   #11
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The only place that I have heard the "11%" stat is from a sample letter on the website for the Center for Biological Diversity. They will then lament the "explosion" of motorized use in the same breath. Something about "having your cake and eating it too" springs to mind here.

The stat for Arizona from the AZ Game and Fish website is that "21% of adult Arizonans identify themselves as motorized trail users". Read that sentence carefully as it has quite a few qualifiers in it:"adult", "Arizonans" (in total, not just "trail users"), "identify" and "motorized trail users".

Although 21% is technically a "minority", it is a substantial enough number of users to be taken seriously and allowed reasonable access and opportunity on public lands.

I also believe that that 21% is misleading. I think many folks are going to be dismayed to find that they can no longer drive their Subaru Forester to their favorite car-camp spot or access point for hiking, birdwatching, rock climbing (fill in preferred, assumed harmless, outdoor recreation type here), because they never considered their Subaru to be an "OHV".


Don't misunderstand anything I say here. I and most other motorized trail users are fans of designated, responsibly managed trail systems. However, many of these conversations are lost in unfounded rhetoric. It is easy for many to demonize motorized recreationists. It is easy for them to point out the bad examples and draw sympathy for the cause of eliminating a use that they see as aesthetically offensive. But I think it is vital to stick to the science of the issues at hand and judge on true effects of responsible managed use. The more I discuss these things with different people, the more I learn to research facts before I repeat them...the devil is in the details.
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Old 08-28-2007, 02:59 PM   #12
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Good points, all of them.

Best of luck with your cause.
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Old 09-03-2007, 11:05 PM   #13
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Bump-

ONLY 1 WEEK TO GET YOUR COMMMENTS IN!!
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Old 09-04-2007, 06:55 PM   #14
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...Bump...

I sent my comments today. After spending 3 days riding in this area I would hate to see it mostly closed. Good luck with the fight!
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:06 PM   #15
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Sent my comments as well. Anyone who's thinking to themselves that this doesn't affect them- it does! Every time there's a trail closed, another piece of us dies... well, OK, maybe that's a stretch, but please take a moment to drop a note for others as they will when your trails are on the block.
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