Dear BRC members, supporters and action alert subscribers,
As many of you know, the Mendocino National Forest is proposing to do a salvage timber sale to address various resource and safety issues that resulted from the Mill Fire this summer. Generally, most recreationists are not arbitrarily opposed to responsible salvage timber operations that protect the resource and help in the area's recovery so that it can be once again enjoyed by the public. However, this proposal appears to have been created in a vacuum with basically no input from recreation professionals within the agency.
Although the public comment period for this current scoping period does not end until December 17, we feel it is important for you to immediately petition the Forest Service to withdraw the proposal and re-scope it so that it analyzes potential impacts to OHV recreation and other public uses.
Your letters do not have to be long or thoroughly exhaust an issue. Rather, each letter should address your history of use at the area, any expertise you have in recreation or resource management, issues that concern you and suggestions on how the agency can improve the planning documents.
Here are key bullet points:
Ask the agency withdraw and re-scope the Project due to planning deficiencies that failed to analyze or disclose the following issues.
Impacts to recreation program
Impacts to current and future OHV grants from OHMVR
Impacts to FS system roads and trails
Impacts to permitted OHV events such as enduros and dual-sport rides
Site-specific NEPA is required if system trails are converted to roads
Impacts to ongoing post-fire trail rehabilitation by FS and state park trail crews
Is the plan to "clear-cut" wide paths along roads/trails for public safety really needed
Impacts to agency credibility with users including volunteer programs
Below is a sample letter that you can use as a basis to articulate your own specific concerns about the project. There are also links to the December 3, 2012, BRC comment letter and the November 28, 2012 comment letter from the Oakland Motorcycle Club that you can reference.
Remember that your letters do not have to be long. Usually one or two pages will do the trick at this point in the planning process.
Mendocino National Forest
825 N. Humboldt Avenue
Willows, CA 95988
Dear Supervisor Tune:
I am writing to you with the request that your office support the BlueRibbon Coalition's request to re-scope the proposed Mill Fire Salvage and Hazard Tree Removal Project. My family has been riding at the Stonyford OHV Area since the 1980s. The current proposal has many unintended negative consequences to the OHV program on the Grindstone Ranger District. These impacts will be lasting and devastating.
OHV recreation has an important impact on the area's economy. Thousands of people attend enduros, dual-sport rides or camp each year to enjoy the trail systems that are threatened by the current plan. The proposal appears to threaten that use by extending the closure another 2-3 years.
Again, please re-scope the plan so that OHV recreation and the sale's impact to the trail system can be properly analyzed in creation of new scoping documents. The Mill Fire had a severe impact on the OHV program; please don't compound this issue by destroying our OHV program by authorizing a salvage plan that does not protect and enhance recreational opportunity on the unit.
Thanks for considering my comments.
33 Steam Donkey Way
Trail Town, USA
BRC December 3 Comment Letter
Mill Fire Salvage Sale Scoping Letter
Mill Fire Salvage Sale Proposal
Mill Fire Salvage Sale Map