Hey Jeepers: Heads Up for Motorized Use Changes
This one’s for all you off-roaders, jeepers and ATV-lovers, there are some meetings starting TODAY concerning the US Forest Service’s travel management process, or simply put, to decide which roads are to remain open or not as a result of the MVUM lawsuit.
These meetings allow for folks to voice their concerns NOW, not once the changes begin to be implemented. Tomorrow’s (August 24) meeting in Salida is as close as Lake County residents are going to get to express concerns in person, so please take note of time and dates listed below:
- Tuesday, August 23, 2016: 5 – 7 p.m., Pueblo Community College, Fortino Ballroom 900 West Orman Avenue, Pueblo CO, 81004.
- Wednesday, August 24, 2016: 5 – 7 p.m., Steam Plant Theatre and Event Center Ballroom, 220 West Sackett Street, Salida, CO 81201.
- Thursday, August 25, 2016: 5 – 7 p.m., Colorado Springs Utilities, Pikes Peak Room, Leon Young Service Center, 1521 S. Hancock Expressway, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Each meeting will include an opportunity for the public discuss the proposed action with Forest Service personnel and view maps of the proposed alternatives. The public is also encouraged to provide input regarding developing reasonable alternatives, resources to be evaluated, and other significant issues. Comments will be accepted through close of business on September 8, 2016, and submitted to:
Write comments to: Travel Management, Pike & San Isabel National Forests, 2840 Kachina Dr., Pueblo, CO 81008; Email comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org; or Fax comments to (719) 553-1440.
Some back ground: The current PSI Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan) dates back to 1984. Many changes have occurred since that time, with new types of use, increased user volumes, general population pressures, wildland-urban interface developments, and other factors. The PSI issued revised MVUMs in 2009 reflecting updated routes open to the public for motorized use, but was subsequently challenged in court by various environmental groups contending that the Forest Service did not meet their agency obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act and other federal legislation. Parties to the lawsuit eventually reached a settlement agreement in 2015, which they believe is in the public interest and a fair and equitable resolution of the dispute.
As a result of the settlement agreement, the PSI is conducting travel management planning to designate roads, trails, and areas open to public motorized vehicle use on the six districts of the PSI National Forestswhich includes significant land within Lake County. Scoping for travel management began on July 25, 2016 with publication of a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS). Scoping is a process used to identify important issues and determine the extent of analysis necessary for an informed decision on a proposed action. To read the FULL document release by the US Forest Service: LINK.