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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
dont get nervus the new regs are for quads-motorcycles- but its still a load of SH!T / when the reply time comes we should all show are dis-support

NEWS RELEASE
USDA Forest Service
Washington, D.C.

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Release No. FS-0418 Contact:
Joe Walsh, (202) 205-1294

FOREST SERVICE RELEASES DRAFT POLICY
ON OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE USE IN NATIONAL FORESTS AND GRASSLANDS

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2004 ? U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service today released its proposal for managing motorized off-highway vehicle (OHV) use in national forests and grasslands, which will enhance recreational opportunities for the public and better protect the environment by requiring units to establish a designated system of roads, trails and areas.

?OHVs are a great way to experience the national forests, but because their popularity has increased in recent years, we need an approach that will sustain natural resource values through more effective management of motor vehicle use. The benefits of improving OHV use include enhanced protection of habitat and aquatic, soil, air and cultural resources,? said Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth. ?The Forest Service wants to improve its management by balancing the public?s enjoyment of using OHVs with ensuring the best possible care of the land.?

In 2002, national forests and grasslands had more than 214 million visits. Nationally, the number of OHV users climbed sevenfold in the last 30 years--from five million in 1972 to 36 million in 2000. OHV users account for about 1.8 million or five percent of visitors to national forests and grasslands. Currently each of the 155 national forests and 21 grasslands has guidelines regarding OHV use, with some national forests managing use on a designated system of roads, trails and areas, while other do not. As a result, the Forest Service does not have a clear, consistent policy regarding motor vehicle use on national forests and grasslands.

The proposed rule represents a nationally consistent approach to travel management by requiring each forest and grassland to designate a system of roads, trails and areas slated for motor vehicle use. It would allow national forests to denote use of routes and areas by vehicle type and, if appropriate, by time of year. Once the designation process is complete, OHV use would be confined to designated routes and areas, and OHV use off these routes (cross-country travel) would be prohibited. Snowmobile use would continue to be managed as it is currently?allowed, restricted or prohibited on roads and trails and in areas on National Forest System lands.

?While some forests have begun to designate roads, trails, and areas for OHVs, I expect units to make significant progress in improving management of OHVs in the next two years,? said Bosworth. ?We want to improve our management of outdoor recreation by having a system of routes and areas offering the best opportunities for OHV use while still meeting our responsibility to sustain National Forest System lands and resources.?

The proposed rule calls for the Forest Service to continue to engage with motorized sports enthusiasts, conservationists, state agencies, local governments, tribal governments, and others to identify routes offering the best opportunities for OHV use while still meeting its responsibility to protect the environment. The public would continue to be allowed to participate in the process of designating roads, trails, and areas or revising designations and would continue to receive advance notice to allow for public comment on proposed or revised designations. The agency has partnered with these groups in the past to provide enhanced motorized recreation opportunities by constructing, marking, maintaining and restoring trails as well as by providing training and safety instruction to users.

OHVs include motor vehicles that are designed or retrofitted primarily for recreational use off road, such as minibikes, amphibious vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles, go-carts, motorized trail bikes, and dune buggies.

The agency is accepting comments for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register. The rule text submitted to the Office of the Federal Register is available on http://www.fs.fed.us/. Written comments may be sent to:

Proposed Rule for Designated Routes and Areas for Motor Vehicle Use
c/o Content Analysis Team
P.O. Box 221150
Salt Lake City, Utah 84122-1150
Comments also will be accepted by electronic mail to [email protected] or by facsimile to 801-517-1014. Comments also may be submitted by following the instructions at the federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. All comments will be analyzed and addressed in promulgation of a final rule.

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Supporting Documents:

Draft Policy (PDF, 124 KB)

Media Kit
 

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"OHVs include motor vehicles that are designed or retrofitted primarily for recreational use off road"

That sounds like any trail-only rig.... It could be argued any truck w/o insurance or setup to the point to be towed to the trail. Hate to be the pessimistic one, but I'm sure some tree hugger will try and nail us.

Pat
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
well the time is now to speak out against this BIll

New Roadless Policy Proposed

As we reported in a special alert to ARRA members, the Bush Administration has released for public comment a new roadless policy that, if implemented, would replace the controversial policy imposed during the final months of the Clinton Administration. The Bush initiative is not without its detractors. Many environmental groups have come out strongly against the proposed rule. ARRA disagrees with this approach. We believe the proposed rule is a step in the right direction by ensuring that state and local governments and those citizens living closest to the National Forests will play a key role in recommending to the Federal Government what areas of those forests should remain roadless.

We urge ARRA members to read more and submit their views on this proposed policy. Comments must be filed no later than September 14, 2004.

Forest Service Proposes New OHV Policy

The U.S. Forest Service has solicited comments on proposed OHV regulations governing all Forest Service lands. The proposed rule will have a far reaching impact on the OHV community and merits the close attention of all interested outdoor enthusiasts.

The proposed rule acknowledges that motorized recreation is “a growing and important recreational activity on National Forest Service Lands”. The supplementary information that accompanied the proposed rule stated this use in very clear terms: “motor vehicle use is an appropriate way to recreate in the National Forests, access hunting and fishing opportunities, sightsee, and otherwise enjoy recreational experiences on National Forest Service land.” ARRA couldn’t agree more with this statement.

We do, however, feel that certain clarifications need to be made to the rule prior to its implementation. We believe that the inventory process of roads and trails must be done correctly, using GPS technology and the assistance of volunteers in completing this process. Budgeting sufficient funds for this effort is something that needs to be addressed since the Forest Service has not yet done so. Finally, we also believe that artificial deadlines should not be imposed on the completion of this important inventorying process, thereby jeopardizing the accuracy of this effort.

ARRA is encouraging members to submit comments to the Forest Service. We know that some are opposed to any sort of OHV regulations for Forest Service lands. We believe that such a view is unrealistic in light of the growing interest in OHV recreation. It is not a question of if, but when and how. Therefore, we support OHV regulations that are balanced and serve to enhance the OHV recreational experience. With the modifications to the rules that we have proposed, we believe that the Forest Service OHV regulations will serve to facilitate OHV access to our National Forests in areas where such access is appropriate. The deadline for the submission of those comments is September 13, 2004.
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TEA-21 Reauthorization

House and Senate conferees continue to struggle over the dollar amount for the massive transportation bill replacing the current law known as the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. We have been reporting on this for months. Our interest continues because the all-important Recreational Trails Program is a part of this legislation. We have our fingers crossed and are hoping the conferees will be able to successfully report out a measure to both the House and the Senate after the Labor Day Holiday. As we have said so many times, stay tuned ....

9/11 Commission Report

While this has very little to do with recreation policy, we cannot close this newsletter without saying something about the recommendations of the bi-partisan 9/11 Commission. To be blunt about it, the Commission’s assessment of the state of our national security was very sobering. While stating that our nation is safer than it was prior to 9/11, the underlying message of this report was summed up in four words: “We Are Not Safe”.

I think many of us who live in our Nation’s Capital assume that it will be only a matter of time before another terrorist incident will occur in our city. What we don’t know is the timing, the method, or how many of our fellow citizens will be injured or even killed.

We could choose to be paralyzed by this ongoing threat or we can choose to be vigilant and try to live as normal of a life as possible. We could choose to relocate. But what purpose would that serve other than giving into the terrorists? We could choose not to venture out from our home, but again, what does that accomplish? In talking to family and friends, I think most people have decided to carry on as we have done prior to 9/11. We do so by remaining alert to the threat of violence but also with a new appreciation for each other and for the beauty of our surroundings and our country.

On the Fourth of July our family celebrated the holiday by going to a beach that permits access via 4-wheel drive vehicles. We traveled 9 miles to the end of a sand covered peninsula in hopes that we could watch the fireworks from across the harbor. We enjoyed a picnic dinner on the beach with our neighbors. We surrounded the picnic area with small American flags planted in the sand and we enjoyed traditional Fourth of July fare. But we didn’t see the fireworks because of fog.

After the fireworks were cancelled, we started the long 9 mile journey back to the nearest paved road. Traveling the sandy trail, I bottomed out our SUV within two miles from our departure point. If it hadn’t been for 15 good Samaritans who pushed us out, we might have been stuck there for the entire night. Of course, they wouldn’t have gotten home either, since we were blocking the trail and OHV use in this area is only permitted on designated trails.

Upon finally reaching the paved road, our youngest son proudly announced that this was the “best 4th of July ever”. And that was without the fireworks! But then again, there is something to be said about being stuck in sand seven miles from a paved road that adds a degree of uncertainty and excitement to any holiday!

Yes, the 9/11 Report is a serious document and the threat is real. “We are not safe.” But I hope your family will do as ours has done ... remain vigilant, but determined not be diverted from enjoying life and the great outdoors. Who knows, a member of your family might have a “best ever” experience as well.

Enjoy the rest of the summer.

Larry E. Smith
Executive Director
ARRA





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