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Jason Church

Comments sought for Ashton/Island Park trails project.Freemont County, Idaho OHV project

The Ashton/Island Park Ranger District is interested in hearing any comments, concerns, ideas, or issues you may have regarding their Island Park Off Highway Vehicle Trails project/proposal.

The purpose of this proposal is to revise management of areas open to cross-country OHV travel and designate OHV trails that connect to the Forest Transportation System. This action is needed to provide a safe and sustainable travel system that reduce resource impacts, improve public safety, improve access, and improve the ability to enforce travel restrictions.

This proposal will:
1. Designate approximately 33 miles of trail. Of the proposed 33 miles of trail:
• Approximately 11 miles of National Forest System Roads currently closed to public motor vehicle use will convert to National Forest System Trails.
• Approximately 19 miles of user-created routes will convert to National Forest System Trails which will require reconstruction.
• Approximately 3 miles of trail will require new construction.

2. Close “F” and “D” areas to cross-country OHV travel. This involves a Forest Plan Amendment.

3. West End area: Change management prescription 4.3 from closed to cross-country OHV travel to open to cross-country OHV travel.

4. ATV Parking Area/Trailhead: Clear, grub, grade, and gravel two parking areas and install information bulletin boards in each parking area.
Cattleguard Construction: District personnel will install six cattle guards to accommodate OHV traffic.

5. Decommission Maintenance Level 1 National Forest System Roads: Decommission approximately 15 miles of National Forest System Roads.

6. Close User-Created Routes: Close and rehabilitate approximately 79 miles of user-created routes that are not part of the Forest Transportation System. Methods used to close user-created routes will be determined on a case by case basis. Methods include, but are not limited to: construction or placement of barriers such as jackfences, rock boulders, or scattering slash and scarification of routes exhibiting heavy soil compaction.

For specific information regarding this project, you are directed to the project website to download the scoping document and maps:

USDA Forest Service - Ashton-Island Park Ranger District NEPA Projects - Island Park OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) Trails Project

Comments regarding this proposal should be received by Dec. 3, 2013 and should address specific concerns regarding this proposal.
We anticipate release of an environmental document analyzing effects of this proposed action in March 2013. This project is planned for implementation in summer of 2013. Throughout scoping, comments submitted to the Forest Service, including names and addresses of those who responded, will be considered part of the public record for this proposal and as such will be available for public review. If you cite published studies or papers in your comments, provide copies of the source material with your comments. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, those who submit anonymous comments will not have standing to appeal under 36 CFR Part 215.

Maps will be available for review at the Ashton and Island Park offices, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can view or download maps at

USDA Forest Service - Ashton-Island Park Ranger District NEPA Projects - Island Park OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) Trails Project

Send written comments to:
Island Park OHV Trails Attn: Brandon Burke
P.O. Box 858 Ashton, ID 83420

For information on this project contact Brandon Burke at (208) 652-1201. The office business hours for those submitting hand-delivered comments are: 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Electronic comments should be submitted in Word (.doc) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Comments sought for Ashton/Island Park trails project
Freemont County, Idaho OHV project

Teton Valley News


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Don Amador

Stonyford - Mill Fire Update - Good and Bad News!


View of Trails 40, 32, and 34 from M5
View of Trail 33 Near Mill Valley Campground
The Recreation HQ got to spend a few days up at Stonyford last week touring (and working too) the burn area with FS staff. We reviewed the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Mill Fire and looked at the extent of the damage and some of the challenges the agency must address before reopening it for public use.
The good news is that the campgrounds at Fouts and Davis Flat are open for camping. Non-street legal OHVs can use Trail 42 that is a loop next to Davis Flat. However at this time, there is no access to the main trail/road network (i.e. Trails 34, 32, 40,37,39, or the shortcut to M5). In fact, M5 remains closed at this time.
If you have a dual-sport you can ride up M10 and get on the trails/roads that are open (i.e. Trail 6, 8, 12, 45, etc.). If you have non-street legal OHVs, you can trailer them up and park along M10 where it becomes a mixed-use road. That begins just past the junction of where the Letts Lake Road intersects with M10. Now is a good time to take the OHV corridor over to the Upper Lake OHV area and explore some of those trails.
The bad news is the main trail network that got burned looks like it will remain closed through the winter so that portions of the routes that have to be restored after getting blitzed by the bulldozers cutting firebreaks can heal.

The ugly news is there are a lot of potential impacts to the roads and trails from excessive soil erosion if the area gets hit with heavy rains. For example, a lot of tree stumps burned down to the root systems which often cross a road or a trail. Now with the stump/root gone, there is the potential for water to carve or gully up the road/trail bed.
Stump/root burnout on road
There are a number of volunteer days still ahead where you can help. Here is a link to where you can sign up.
HQ Blog with Vol. Dates and Sign Up Info
HQ believes that after these initial rains, the agency should make it a high priority to open up several corridors ASAP (i.e. Potato Hill and M5) so that riders can access the trails that are open in the non-burned areas.
HQ also wants to thank the agency and state trail crews that have been working very hard since the fire to help bring the impacted trails up to specs.
Watch for an update soon on the 1st volunteer trail day last week. We had a great turnout!
Original author: Don Amador
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John Stewart

Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan Released

Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan promotes protection and Ecological Restoration through science and collaboration

Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan

PORTERVILLE, Calif.—Today, Forest Supervisor, Kevin B. Elliott, released a new Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan (Monument Plan) for one of this Nation’s national treasures.  The Monument Plan guides restoration efforts for giant sequoia ecosystems, watersheds, habitat for old-forest dependent wildlife, and the protection of mountain communities.

Regional Forester, Randy Moore, selected Alternative B and one element of Alternative E (Moses Wilderness recommendation) as the basis for the Monument Plan.

Two years of public collaboration provided the sidebars for a strategic vision for the Giant Sequoia National Monument (Monument). “The public’s tirele

ss efforts have resulted in a framework to restore and manage 33 giant sequoia groves, provide healthy watersheds, homes for unique wildlife, as well as provide spectacular recreation adventures to the American people”, stated Elliott, Forest Supervisor. “Throughout this Monument Plan there is a theme of ecological restoration based on a foundation of science and a set of strong protocols.”

Today’s action culminates years of collaborative efforts with multiple agencies, the scientific community, and an engaged public to develop management direction based on public collaboration and current science.

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John Stewart

Climate Change Report Released

Climate Change in Grasslands, Shrublands, and Deserts of the Interior American West: A Review and Needs Assessment

FORT COLLINS, Colo., Aug. 27, 2012 - Climate change poses as much risk to public and private grassland and shrubland ecosystems as it does to forested ecosystems yet receives less attention by the public and key stakeholders. Consequently, most climate change research concentrates on forested ecosystems, leaving grassland and shrubland managers with insufficient information to guide decision making.

The USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station published a comprehensive report summarizing climate change research and potential effects on grassland, shrub, and desert ecosystems. The report, “Climate Change in Grasslands, Shrublands, and Deserts of the Interior American West: A Review and Needs Assessment,” highlights current knowledge and future research essential to mitigate the prospective detrimental effects of climate change. It addresses animal, plant, and invasive species models and responses, vulnerabilities and genetic adaption, animal species and habitats, and decision support tools for restoration and land management.

Original author: Press
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John Stewart

Final Forest Planning Rule Released

The USDA and the Forest Service carefully considered over a quarter million comments received on the proposed rule and draft environmental impact statement issued in February to develop today’s final rule, which emphasizes collaboration, sound science and protections for land, water and wildlife.

The final rule strengthens the role of public involvement and dialogue throughout the planning process. It also requires the use of the best available scientific information to inform decisions.

“We are ready to start a new era of planning that takes less time, costs less money, and provides stronger protections for our lands and water”, said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.  “This new rule will bring 21st century thinking to a process that is sorely needed to protect and preserve our 193 million acres of amazing forests and grasslands.”

Land management plans under the final rule will include:

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