OAKLEY, CA (August 28)--In an email on August 24, a national forest in the Sierra Nevada stated they would extend the public comment period by 45 days of a controversial planning process that proposed to close over 75% of historic roads and trails in a popular recreation area. The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), a national recreation group, is urging the agency to take advantage of the additional time to issue supplemental environmental analysis to address substantive procedural problems and fatal flaws in the Forest's current planning documents.
BRC believes the Eldorado National Forest's Draft Environmental Impact Statement has misinterpreted direction in various agency documents including its Forest Plan, the National Travel Management Rule, Roadless Area management and a federal court order to create a perfect storm of "regulatory gridlock."
Over the last few weeks, thousands of concerned forest users, recreationists and government officials have voiced their opposition to the Eldorado's proposal to restrict vehicle access to most hunter camps, close historic jeep roads and prohibit vehicle use on about 75% of their National Forest System Roads and Trails.
Don Amador, the Western Representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition, states, "I think it is important for elected officials, local users and sportsmen to make a formal request to the agency to allow for a viable alternative that fully develops a pro-recreation alternative with quality dispersed camping opportunities and a substantive route network that reflects public access needs to the forest. We intend to spend the coming weeks demonstrating to the agency and influential officials that logic demands, and the law can allow, exactly such a plan."
"Local trail users and hunters should also submit site-specific comments about important spur roads, campsites, and trails that have been and will continue to be important for their recreational activities," Amador concludes.
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of public and private lands, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. http://www.sharetrails.org