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El Dorado NF: Court Order Prohibits Motorized Vehicle Travel on 42 Popular OHV Routes

Old 04-05-2012, 02:47 PM
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El Dorado NF: Court Order Prohibits Motorized Vehicle Travel on 42 Popular OHV Routes

El Dorado National Forest: Court Order Prohibits Motorized Vehicle Travel on 42 Popular OHV Routes:
- http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/eldora...TELPRDB5362068

The SEIS is scheduled to begin in April or May 2012 and to be completed by April 2013.

Hardy says many popular high county routes may be affected by the closure. Some of these routes include: Barrett Lake Jeep Trail; Squaw Ridge Four Wheel Drive Trail; Clover Valley/ Deer Valley Trail; Strawberry Four Wheel Drive Trail; Carson Emigrant Trail; Allen’s Camp Motorcycle Trail and the Bucks Pasture Motorcycle Trail. The Rubicon 4wd Trail is not affected by this court order.
All the NorCal folks should hit up their reps and let them know how this affects you. Our club may have to cancel/move our annual BBQ run planned for the Pardoe area trails. And we already have group campground reservations in the area.

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Old 04-05-2012, 06:36 PM
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Theres a good chance this will be cancelling our annual Squaw Ridge run too. Any idea who the best person is to call about this? One voice may be small but I'll give em hell!
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:01 PM
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Not sure who is the contact point, but it seems CORVA is the main folks tackling this:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012: The California Off-Road Vehicle Association, CORVA, along with representatives from the Rubicon Trail Foundation and Friends of the Rubicon, met with the Forest Supervisor and personnel from the Eldorado National Forest in an attempt to ascertain details related to the probable closure of 42+ OHV routes, pending further environmental review.

Currently, the routes in question are to remain closed due to a ruling in a lawsuit brought against the Eldorado by the Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation and the Center for Biological Diversity. Regardless of seasonal closure status, the routes are ordered to remain closed, and the Forest Service is preparing the public for the most likely scenario of route closures, pending a new court order. The Eldorado has issued a press release found at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/eldora...TELPRDB5362068

In the meeting, Forest Service personnel stated; "...there is a high likelihood that these routes, or portions of these routes may be administratively closed for an interim period". It was clear that the intent of the Forest Service is to do the necessary environmental analysis as quickly but comprehensively as possible as needed, in order to reopen these routes to motorized travel, a time frame between 1 and 2 years.

CORVA encourages the 4WD community to continue working with the Eldorado on adopt-a-trail maintenance programs, and actively engage in the NEPA analysis that is planned for the meadow crossings on these 42+ routes. CORVA will support all the 4WD clubs with NEPA education through the Comments Project to insure that the comments made by our community will lead to the reopening of these trails to motorized travel.

We also encourage the community to work together, plan events outside of the closed routes, and CORVA looks forward to working with all the affected communities. Hunting enthusiasts, miners and rockhounders will all be affected by the likelihood of these closures, and it is our goals to bring these communities closer together to combat those entities bent on removing multiple use from our national forests.

The most recent court order issued by Judge Karlton on February 14th is attached. Please ask questions, knowledge is power, and the more we know, the more we can make a difference.
http://www.corva.org/

Or there is a USFS contact e-mail on that web page.

It seems that someplace the Forest Service is dropping the ball on these sorts of issues. Like they do some minimum amount of work to file the information required from the 2008 law then get called out in 2012 that what they did was not enough. I mean are they not part of the same government that passed the law and can't they find out what it will take to comply with that law and get some feedback on whether the information they supplied was sufficient or not? Either the law was poorly written such that it was unclear what information was required or the USFS did not supply the requested information. Probably comes down to the USFS not having enough funding/resources to do the studies and research necessary to comply with the regulations handed to them by the very government that is passing the regulations in the first place.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:13 PM
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Well, we have Amy Granat from CORVA speak at out 4WD club meeting tonight. Apparently this was mostly the USFS fault. Back in 2008 or so, they were supposed to do these environmental studies on on these 42 trails that apparently all go across a meadow along the trail. So the USFS decided, on their own, that only 19 of the trails had more than 0.1 mile of length in a meadow, so they only submitted studies on those 19 trails. Then the judge and the organizations bringing the law suit said that USFS had to do all the trails, regardless of length of meadow trail. So that is where it stands now.

Apparently the big thing going on now is that CORVA and a few other groups are trying to get El Dorado county to wake up and join the fight because without almost all the forest road access, there will be a BIG HIT on this summer's tourist dollars in the county. No off-roaders, no motorcyclists, no horse riders, no hunters, no fisherman, etc. So I think the county finally gets that and so CORVA and some other groups will try to work with them to draft some comments and get those into the mix. Apparently this has worked in some counties in far northern California and it seems to be more effective to have a county government directly affected by the USFS actions file a complaint rather than some random groups of OHV users. So probably be a good idea to contact the county folks and let them know what sort of economic impact your groups have in the county and how that will change:
- http://www.co.el-dorado.ca.us/

There was a number of something like 800,000 - 1,000,000 person days of access in the EDNF over the course of a year and a maybe 20% of that was OHV based (4x4s, motorcycles, horses, hunting, fishing), so that will be a big hit on the local economy up there. So let the county folks know how much gas, food and lodging your group buys up there. Also, it was mentioned that at least the clubs that have adopted all these trails will still be allowed access for trail maintenance work parties, so if you are close to a club that has a trail up there, get involved and keep the trails in good shape, so they can't come back and say the trail has been abandoned next year.

And CORVA is estimating a big legal fee for this fight plus they are also fighting to get back the tens of millions of dollars in OHV fees the state has "borrowed" in the last couple of years:
- http://www.corva.org/skin1/ORIA/CORV...tercurrent.pdf

So CORVA can for sure use anything you can donate:
- http://www.corva.org/home.php?cat=252

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Old 04-17-2012, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by 4Crawler View Post
Well, we have Amy Granat from CORVA speak at out 4WD club meeting tonight. Apparently this was mostly the USFS fault. Back in 2008 or so, they were supposed to do these environmental studies on on these 42 trails that apparently all go across a meadow along the trail. So the USFS decided, on their own, that only 19 of the trails had more than 0.1 mile of length in a meadow, so they only submitted studies on those 19 trails. Then the judge and the organizations bringing the law suit said that USFS had to do all the trails, regardless of length of meadow trail. So that is where it stands now.

Apparently the big thing going on now is that CORVA and a few other groups are trying to get El Dorado county to wake up and join the fight because without almost all the forest road access, there will be a BIG HIT on this summer's tourist dollars in the county. No off-roaders, no motorcyclists, no horse riders, no hunters, no fisherman, etc. So I think the county finally gets that and so CORVA and some other groups will try to work with them to draft some comments and get those into the mix. Apparently this has worked in some counties in far northern California and it seems to be more effective to have a county government directly affected by the USFS actions file a complaint rather than some random groups of OHV users. So probably be a good idea to contact the county folks and let them know what sort of economic impact your groups have in the county and how that will change:
- http://www.co.el-dorado.ca.us/

There was a number of something like 800,000 - 1,000,000 person days of access in the EDNF over the course of a year and a maybe 20% of that was OHV based (4x4s, motorcycles, horses, hunting, fishing), so that will be a big hit on the local economy up there. So let the county folks know how much gas, food and lodging your group buys up there. Also, it was mentioned that at least the clubs that have adopted all these trails will still be allowed access for trail maintenance work parties, so if you are close to a club that has a trail up there, get involved and keep the trails in good shape, so they can't come back and say the trail has been abandoned next year.

And CORVA is estimating a big legal fee for this fight plus they are also fighting to get back the tens of millions of dollars in OHV fees the state has "borrowed" in the last couple of years:
- http://www.corva.org/skin1/ORIA/CORV...tercurrent.pdf

So CORVA can for sure use anything you can donate:
- http://www.corva.org/home.php?cat=252

Why am I not surprised the FS screwed the whole thing up . It seems every time Ive dealt the the FS Ive ended up talking with some stupid ignorant person that doesnt have a clue.
I am glad to hear the CORVA is getting involved and helping the fight . I totally agree that we need local government to get majorly involved. I also agree that the best way to get them involved is the financial impact closing trails will have . I have donated and I really wish I could do more but my family and bills wont let me . I do commend those people that do risk there finances and get out there a fight for us . Thanks for posting these updates .
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:51 PM
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Looks like some new information is up on this issue:
- http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/eldora...TELPRDB5362046

Here is the list of closed trails:
- http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_...rdb5362062.pdf

I guess they are still working out if each of those routes will be completely closed or just closed to the point the trails cross over meadow areas. Deer Valley trail is one of those that I hope can get partly opened, as I think it the only meadow crossings are on the north end and all the good 4 wheeling part is on the south end. Would change it to an in and out trail this summer, but that is better than nothing.

The Q&A section is good:
- http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_...rdb5362065.pdf

Sounds like there was some miscommunication or misunderstanding between what the FS thought they were supposed to do in the '05/'08 rulings and what the opponents thought they should be doing. Hopefully this time they will get clear direction on what is needed to be done. I would imagine this may be the first trial test of this sort of attack and once they can get a solid plan in place in the EDNF, that can be used in other forests.

Also has some information on how to get involved in the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) process when that comes out. Not sure on the timing of that, but it says to keep checking for updates to the main EDNF page:
- http://www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado/
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:07 AM
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I have continued to follow this closely. As we all know, 42 trails have been closed in the Eldorado NF due to this court order. This includes many popular trails such as Deer Creek and Squaw Ridge Trail. As of February 20, The Forest Service has released a draft of the 4 different actions that will be considered for these trails. This draft can be reviewed here:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_...rdb5410354.pdf

In short, here are the 4 proposed actions in the way I read them:

Alternative #1: (The FS proposed action) Basically states to reopen all 42 trails to public motorized use, even if they did not meet environmental standards or guildelines.

Alternative #2: No action will be taken. All 42 trails will be closed indefinitely.

Alternative #3: (The peoples preferred method) This states that the majority of trails are to remain in the national forest trail system, but will remain closed until the trails are in compliance with the environmental standards as it pertains to the meadow crossings. It states that if this were the elected alternative, there is no time frame on when these trails would be put in accordance with the standards, and would only be done when funds are available. This could take decades. This includes Squaw Ridge, Deer Creek, Strawberry Creek, etc.

Alternative #4: This proposes some of the trails would be immediately opened for motorized use, some trails closed until they comply with environmental standards, and some trails closed indefinitely. (Both Squaw Ridge and Deer Valley trails would need to comply with environmental standards).

I'm really hoping for Alternative #1. This would mean all trails would be open immediately, FS funds could be used elsewhere, and all us wheelers would be happy. I do agree some action should be taken, but I think it can be taken while these trails are open. The erosion damage that I saw on Squaw Ridge was hardly noticeable, and could easily be fixed in a matter of days by use of water bars to divert the water towards natural drainage's. California uses too many resources to determine environmental standards. No other state goes to the extent that we do, and this is in part why we are in such a huge debt.

Keeping my fingers crossed that I may be able to hit those trails this summer.

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Old 04-08-2013, 06:53 AM
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Apparently today (April 8) is the deadline for submitting written comments on these proposals.


Popular high country OHV trails that could be closed for many years, if not permanently, if the the Forest Service decides to close then until they are "mitigated":

Long Canyon 4WD Trail 16E27 http://4x4trailmaps.com/4x4Trails.php?Trail_ID=491
Barrett Lake 4WD Trail 16E21 http://www.hi-landers.com/BLT/BLT.html
Deer Valley 4WD Trail 19E01 http://4x4trailmaps.com/4x4Trails.php?Trail_ID=1
Strawberry Pass 4WD Trail 17E73 http://4x4trailmaps.com/4x4Trails.php?Trail_ID=9
Squaw Ridge 4WD Trail 16E26 http://www.norcalttora.com/trails/pardoe.php
Pardoe's 4WD Trail 17E79 http://4x4trailmaps.com/4x4Trails.php?Trail_ID=3

Newest Eldorado Forest Service suggested alternatives:

! Alternative 1: Essentially re-designates those routes near or through meadows as ok for public travel. No fixes would be applied. 99% of routes would re-open sometime in 2013.
This is what Eldorado first proposed (yes, they basically were reasonable, on our side). But then other forest lawsuits happened nearby and they got scared of further litigation from the anti's. So then they came up with Alternatives 2, 3 & 4.
-Alternative 1 is by far the best for access.

Alternative 2: No Action from current closed status. All 42 routes would be permanently closed, forever. (or until Armageddon arrives, but who really cares at that point?)
-Alternative 2 would be an unmitigated horrendous disaster for OHV's right to access public land in Calif.

Alternative 3: Many Lower elevation routes would reopen to the public, but NONE of the popular high country OHV routes would re-open to the public until each route near or through a meadow is "mitigated" ("mitigation" = final environmental review, plans drawn, permits obtained, work planned, money allocated, then finally actual work on the ground is done). Some routes could open in as soon as 2 years, and some routes may require 10 years until re-opened to public travel.
-Alternative 3 is pretty bad. Would be many years until most trials re-open.

Alternative 4: Like 3, but permanently closes some of the best 4WD routes noted above: Strawberry, Deer Valley, Squaw Ridge. A few routes would re-open only after being "mitigated", again taking between 2 to 10 years.
-Alternative 4 is also extremely bad, but not as bad as Alt 2.

Your suggestions outside of the 4 given alternatives are possible maybe. Although they will want to stick with 1,2,3, or 4. But they just might accept other ideas, or variations them.

Send your comment by Monday April 8 !

Write your own forceful yet polite email to:
mailto:[email protected]

Remember the FS got sued by the anti's, which forced the FS into this.

Or, use the Cal4Wheel e-mailer tool:
http://www.cal4wheel.com/action-center

Eldo web site with all the info & maps:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/eldora...TELPRDB5362046
( not an easy browse through)

Send as many comments as you like; spread them over a few separate emails.
------

So what to say??

1) Stay with Alternative 1, the original proposed action. We all thought Eldorado was going to go this way, before the SDIES came out in March.

2) Should the forest supervisor decide on Alternative 3, they must keep virtually all trails open to the public, while all the mitigation planning work proceeds over the years.

3) That Alternatives 2 and 4 are draconian, would result in endless litigation for years and years. And would be a huge loss to recreation and economic support to local communities, and would serve effective no public good whatsoever, etc...
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