UFWDA Community Forum

Regional Focus - News and Local Events => South Central => Topic started by: Dan Wagman on March 19, 2009, 08:34:06 pm

Title: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Dan Wagman on March 19, 2009, 08:34:06 pm
Hello all,

Iím posting because I need your help regarding three illegal road closures in the Pike National Forest in Colorado (just outside of Colorado Springs).

If accessing the roads in our National Forests is important to you, and you absolutely hate it when the Forest Service closes them, especially illegally, AND you want your Congressman to finally jump into action over this, then please come to the meeting scheduled with Congressman Lamborn on April 13, 2009 at 9am. It will only take about 30 minutes of your time but will go a very, very long way in showing the Congressman that we, the people, wonít stand for Forest Service illegal road closures.

The location of the meeting is 1271 Kelly Johnson Blvd. Suite 110, in Colorado Springs.

In brief, the Forest Service has illegally closed three roads in the Pike National Forest to the public. They have been nonresponsive in correcting these ďmistakes.Ē Two stories appeared in the local newspaper about this and have not compelled the Forest Service to correct their actions. Several meetings with Congressman Lamborn and letters from him to the Forest Service have also failed to yield any results. A request by the Congressman for a hearing on this matter by the Committee on Natural Resources also yielded nothing. We need the Congressman to step up and it is time for us, the people, to step up as well and show the Congressman that these roads need to be reopened and can only be closed by following the processes outlined in NEPA.

Please access a brief summary regarding each road here: http://www.bodyintellect.com/forest_service/summary.doc

The details in communication and pictures for the roads in question can be reviewed in the folders from this link: http://www.bodyintellect.com/forest_service

And if youíre interested in seeing how resistant the Congressman has been in scheduling a meeting with his constituents, click here: http://www.bodyintellect.com/forest_service/april2009_meeting.doc

If you have any questions, letís discuss them here, on this Forum.

Also, several of us will be wheeling up the Eagle Rock trail after the meeting. So if you can take a whole day off, instead of just 30 minutes for the meeting, it would be great for you to join us.

Thank you for attending to this and I most sincerely hope a large number of you will attend this important meeting.

Dan
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Dan Wagman on April 11, 2009, 09:35:49 pm
Please recall that the meeting date has changed to Friday, 4/17 at 4pm, 1271 Kelly Johnson Blvd. Suite 110, Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Phone: (719) 520-0055

I would appreciate any help from you guys in letting the rest know of the date change.

THANKS!

Also, after the meeting, dinner at Jack Quinns downtown, on Tejon street, just north of Colorado Ave.
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Dan Wagman on April 15, 2009, 05:10:48 pm
A summary of the issue at hand to be discussed with Congressman Lamborn on Friday, along with references to the violations of federal law, can be found here:

http://www.bodyintellect.com/forest_service/FS_NEPA.pdf

This is brief and to the point and well worth your time to review.

The main law that applies here, including text of references to other sections of federal law, can be accessed here, but is extensive: http://www.bodyintellect.com/forest_service/36_CFR_220(NEPA).pdf

Hope to see you at the meeting with Lamborn on Friday, 4pm, 1271 Kelly Johnson Blvd., Suite 110, in Colo. Spgs.   
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Dan Wagman on April 17, 2009, 11:46:33 am
I just received the following from the Congressmanís office. I shall inform you about the new date once it is set.

Dan

<<Mr. Wagman,
 
This is just to follow-up on my phone message I left earlier. I wanted to confirm that our office needs to cancel the meeting this afternoon due to the weather. We still would like to have the meeting take place to discuss these issues and will reschedule at a later date and time. Please give me a call at 202-225-4422 and we can get something on the schedule. 
 
I apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause but I am sure you would agree that it may be unsafe for members of your group and our staff members to drive to the district office for the meeting today.
 
Thank you,
 
Abby Gunderson
Office of Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05)
437 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
202.225.4422 (phone)
202.226.2638 (fax)
abby.gunderson@mail.house.gov  >>
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Dan Wagman on June 18, 2009, 01:44:38 pm
From: "Gunderson, Abby" <Abby.Gunderson@mail.house.gov>
Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2009 13:46:57 -0400
To: "Dan Wagman"
Subject: Meeting with Congressman Lamborn

Mr. Wagman,
 
We have received word that the House will be in session tomorrow and voting. Therefore, Congressman Lamborn needs to be in DC tomorrow and cannot come back to the district. Consequently, we need to postpone your meeting. As I stated in my last email, these votes are a last-minute change in the legislative calendar given to us and so we could not anticipate this scheduling conflict.
 
Would you be available to meet with Congressman Lamborn on Monday, August 17th at 4pm? During the month of August, Congress is in recess and so a last-minute change in the voting calendar will not be an issue, as it was this week, and we can prevent this from happening again.
 
I apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.
 
Abby Gunderson
Office of Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05)
437 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
202.225.4422 (phone)
202.226.2638 (fax)
abby.gunderson@mail.house.gov <mailto:abby.gunderson@mail.house.gov>
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Dan Wagman on July 28, 2009, 05:12:54 pm
On June 24 I submitted a FOIA along with several points that the Forest Service needs to address. You may review that letter via this link:

http://www.bodyintellect.com/forest_service/FOIA_371EA_DEIS.pdf

I received a very brief reply that indicated those records do not exist and none of the other points were addressed. Interestingly, the statement that "no such records exist" is proof that federal law was violated in closing these roads.

An appeal to this will be submitted to the new Forest Service Chief this week. Our meeting with Congressman Lamborn is critically important and as many of you as possible need to show up. By the way, I have yet to hear anything from Governor Ritter. I've called twice, yet no response in nearly three months. If you're interested, you may review that writing here:

http://www.bodyintellect.com/forest_service/gov_ritter.pdf

The meeting with Lamborn is scheduled for Aug. 21 @ 2pm. Since getting a meeting date and time has been a pain in the rear (I've spared you those details), I'll make an official announcement once we get a bit closer.
Title: Governor Ritter
Post by: Dan Wagman on July 31, 2009, 09:33:16 am
My letter to Gov. Ritter was received in his office on May 6, 2009 at 10:46 AM. I had to place two phone calls to the Governorís office in order to receive a reply. Note that this reply has taken about 10 weeks.
 

From: "Van Huysen, Heidi" <Heidi.VanHuysen@state.co.us>
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2009 13:36:06 -0600
To: "Dan Wagman"
Cc: <david.albrechta@state.co.us>
Subject: RE: Illegal Forest Service Road Closures

Dr. Wagman,
 
The Governorís office has been working closely with both the Department of Natural Resources and USFS to respond to your concerns regarding road closures in Pike National Forest. We are committed to understanding the entirety of the issue. I apologize for the delay in our response but appreciate your patience as we finalize our research to ensure we can respond to your concerns from an informed vantage point.

Respectfully,
Heidi Van Huysen
 

Subject: Re: Illegal Forest Service Road Closures
Date: Friday, July 31, 2009 7:46 AM
From: Dan Wagman
To: "Van Huysen, Heidi" <Heidi.VanHuysen@state.co.us>
Dear Heidi,
Without more detail, such as the specific federal laws that have been violated, the Governor will be unable to research this matter accurately nor will a response by the USFS allow for proper evaluation. That is why we wanted to meet with the Governor (and relevant staff) to provide those specifics.

Also note that this issue has involved, literally, thousands of Coloradans that are looking to their Governor to proactively intervene. Collectively, these Coloradans have been dismayed at the lack of response in about 10 wks since the original writing. Iíve been asked to suggest that within the next 10 days you give us a meeting date so that we can provide the Governor, and perhaps you, with the specifics/evidence regarding this matter.

I am looking forward to hearing back from you soon,

Dan Wagman, PhD, CSCS

It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.

W.K. Clifford
Title: Gov. Ritter
Post by: Dan Wagman on August 06, 2009, 12:45:49 pm
Earlier today I had an interesting conversation with two staffers from Governor Ritterís office. They were Heidi Van Huysen, Policy Analyst; and Mike King, Deputy Director for the Dept. of Natural Resources.

They indicated to me that they had written the FS shortly after receiving my letter in early May and did receive a reply. Curiously, they seemed unwilling to detail the FSís response, but I did not want to argue that point (public records, etc.) because we want their help. During the conversation, however, it became clear that the FS fed the Governorís office the same sort of nonsense they had been feeding us. To that point, that FSR 371 is under Special Use Permit with Colo. Spgs. Utilities (but the Permit specifically forbids the utility company from prohibiting public access) and that theyíve extended the Order to close roads on the Rampart Range (but that Order was attained illegally because the public comment period is supposed to be 30 or 45 days, not the 2 wks we received, that Order is for ďtemporaryĒ closures only yet FSR 322A has been closed for over 4 years, etc.).

Anyway, after about 40-45 minutes I could tell that Heidi, who next to me did most of the talking, seemed pressed for time. The way we left it is that they would contact the FS asking specifically for the legal authority they believe to have for closing these roads. Then, depending on their response, we would investigate whether attaining that legal authority followed the requirements set under federal law. Well, we already know the answer to that. It will be interesting to see how the Governorís office works through this.

Heidi told me that sheíd be making calls today and that she expected to get back with me next week. Iíll give her 2 wks though.

Don't forget, Congressman Lamborn, 2pm, 21 Aug., 1271 Kelly Johnson Blvd. Suite 110.
Title: It's Time!
Post by: Dan Wagman on August 13, 2009, 05:59:00 pm
OK guys, next Friday, Aug 21 at 2pm, wheel over to Congressman Lamborn's office and let him know how serious you, we all are, about these illegal road closures.

1271 Kelly Johnson Blvd. Suite 110

See you there!
Title: Time to step up
Post by: Dan Wagman on August 19, 2009, 09:36:34 am
OK guys, this is it.  2 more days till the Lamborn meeting.

Let me be frank; unless we show up in numbers, I really don't see anything happening here. The Congressman has already proven ineffective in the meetings I've already had with him and to date the Governor's office seems less than enthused about holding the Forest Service accountable to the law. But if they see a bunch of citizens involved, then they're going to wonder about election day. I'd much rather work on getting them, the Congressman and Governor, to step up to the plate than commence work on retiring them from office.

So, Friday, 2pm, 1271 Kelly Johnson Blvd. Suite 110, Colorado Springs, CO.

Be there!
Title: From Gov. Ritter
Post by: Dan Wagman on August 20, 2009, 10:29:49 am
Everybody, please review what I just received from the Governorís office, to include my reply. I believe that it is abundantly obvious that the Governorís response is unsatisfactory. I am urging you in the strongest way possible to write the Governorís staffer (Heidi.VanHuysen@state.co.us) and the Governor directly (http://www.colorado.gov/apps/oit/governor/citizen/assistanceUtility/welcome.jsf) why you feel that their response is unsatisfactory and what you expect from them. I frankly think that considering the preponderance of evidence against the FS (see my reply), the conclusion the Governorís office has reached is an outrage. 
 

From: "Van Huysen, Heidi" <Heidi.VanHuysen@state.co.us>
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 16:21:48 -0600
To: "Dan Wagman" <namgawdf@earthlink.net>
Subject: RE: Forest Service Update

Dan,
 
The conclusion we reached is that areas which you find to be improper road closures have never been designated public roads and thus the requirements you discussed as being necessary to close a USFS road are not required. Instead, the access points in dispute are provided only through a special use permit that were provided to the Colorado Springs Utility and the USFS has regulated those access points accordingly.  I understand you dispute this point but based on the information we have received, we are in agreement with the action taken by the USFS with regard to regulating these access points.
 
Respectfully,
Heidi Van Huysen
office: 303-866-3311 x8664
 

Dear Heidi,
 
Thank you for getting back to me. I appreciate your time and efforts.

Unfortunately the explanation offered by the Forest Service (FS), and the conclusion you reached, is not supported by fact or law. To reiterate, please recall that the main issue at hand is that the FS has illegally kept the public out of the decision making process as mandated by law. Now kindly consider the following facts and references to the law which highlight these errors.

Regarding FSR 371, the only road to which your e-mail would apply, where you should recall this is not the only issue at hand:

1. The 1984 Land and Resource Management Plan map clearly and unequivocally identifies the road in question as a public access road, as Forest System Road (FSR) 371. (Of note, new Land Management Plan Revisions that may have changed this map have been halted as of June 30, 2009 by the 9th District Court due to, you guessed it, FS NEPA violations.) Moreover, of the 32 Amendments to this map, none of them address this road as being mislabeled or falsely identified. This is an important consideration as the FS has claimed in the past, and perhaps to the Governorís office too, that this map is wrong.

2. All signs on the road, to this date, identify this road as FSR 371.

3. All writings by the FS refer to this road as FSR 371.

4. Now consider that EVEN IF THIS ROAD WAS NOT A FSR, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) procedures, which mandate public involvement, still apply. 36 CFR 220.4.a indicates that NEPA processes apply and must be followed if:

A. The Forest Service has a goal and is actively preparing to make a decision on one or more alternative means of accomplishing that goal and the effects can be meaningfully evaluated;
B. The proposed action is subject to Forest Service control and responsibility;
C. The proposed action would cause effects on the natural and physical environment and the relationship of people with that environment;
D. The proposed action is not statutorily exempt from the requirements of this section. [The action of closing FSR 371 is not categorically excluded under FSH 1909.15.31, 36 CFR 220.6 et seq., and 7 CFR part 1.b.3.]

5. In addition, and irrespective of whether FSR 371 is or is not a FSR, in many writings, most recently on July 2, 2008, the FS has claimed the closure of this road is due to the protection of a Forester Sensitive Species. This in and of itself triggers NEPA and therefore public involvement. I refer you to 36 CFR 220.6.b.1

6. In a writing dated September 21, 2001 the FS acknowledges that NEPA procedures need to be followed.

All of the above apply and thus the FSís explanation to the Governor is completely false, without any foundation in law, and hence your conclusion flawed. Moreover, the issue of a Special Use Permit is irrelevant as the area of said permit is under FS control and as per 36 CFR 213.3 does not preclude the application of all other applicable laws such as NEPA.  In addition to which, the permit clearly and unequivocally states that the permit holder may NOT keep the public from accessing the permit area.

Please consider that what you mention in your note does not address the issue of FSR 322A and the Order that expired on April 29, 2009 governing the South Platte Ranger District of the Pike National Forest. As you hopefully recall from our phone conversation, you were to ascertain by what legal authority the FS keeps this beautiful area from the public. What did you learn in that regard? If the FS simply extended this Order, they extended an Order that was illegally obtained (the law requires a minimum of 30-day public notice, Coloradans received 2 wks; appeal rights were denied based on a nonexistent law). In addition, this Order calls with specificity for ďtemporary closure of roads and trails,Ē that by law are not to exceed one year (36 CFR 220.6.d.8; 36 CFR 220.6.e.8.), yet this road/area has been closed to the public for over four years.

Beyond addressing the above, the Governor ought to consider asking the FS to indicate, with specificity, based on what exemption under the law, applying NEPA (36 CFR 220 et seq.) does not apply to the closure of FSR 371, under what legal authority they extended the illegally obtained Order governing the temporary closure of roads in the South Platte Ranger District, and under what legal authority they have kept FSR 322A closed for over four years (an Action that would require the application of NEPA procedures).

Iím afraid that this issue has not been properly resolved and we collectively ask that the Governorís office hold the FS accountable to the law and has the Agency reopen these roads until such time that it has attained the legal authority to close it.

We are looking forward to hearing back from the Governor. This issue presents him with an absolutely wonderful opportunity to work at the grassroots level and right what is clearly wrong on behalf of Coloradoís citizens. With that said, what can we expect the Governorís next steps to be and what sort of time-frame may we anticipate the execution of these steps?

Dan

P.S. Please note that our communications are being considered public record and are being shared with thousands of interested and affected citizens and all local media outlets via e-mail and Forums.

--
Dan Wagman, PhD, CSCS

Patriotism is supporting your country all of the time,
and your government when it deserves it.

Mark Twain
Title: Congressman Lamborn Meeting
Post by: Dan Wagman on August 22, 2009, 08:59:21 am
Since UFWDA and its Colorado "affiliate" has shown anything but leadership and support in this issue, this will be the last posting in this regard.

----

I am very grateful for those who showed up for the meeting with Lamborn. Indeed, all of you should be grateful because these guys and gals stepped up to the plate. In reality, this is NOT about 4-wheeling and the FS closing roads, itís about an agency in our government contravening the laws of the land. And that incenses me, as I believe it should every American, whether he accesses the national forest or not. Of the nearly 2,000 individuals that have expressed an interest in this matter, sadly, only about 10 showed up and gave their country 60 minutes to fight for that which is right. You know what they say; you get the government you deserve.

On that note, all local media had been informed about this meeting, too, and here the turnout was even worse Ė 0. I suppose to them having a federal agency breaking the law doesnít rank very high. Iím wondering if they understand what journalism means and what responsibility comes in a nation that believes in freedom of the press.

The way the thing went is that I presented Lamborn with the facts. Basically, I read through this, which was also sent to Governor Ritter:

http://www.bodyintellect.com/forest_service/worksheet_lamborn_ritter.pdf

You can see that itís very matter of fact; this is what the FS claims, this is what the law states, this is what the FS needs to explain. Plain and simple. And where you see FS Requirement, the way I put it to Lamborn is to ask him, if HE, for US, would step up and get the FS to address each point with specificity. He agreed to do so via a letter and personal call.

After I was done with my presentation the meeting went to Lamborn and the other citizens. In short, Lamborn explained that thereís only so much he can do. He gave an example of how the District of Columbia is seeking to violate the Constitution by gaining representation in Congress (only states can have representation; DC isnít a state). Then he illustrated to everyone what heís already done for us in this particular matter. He went through his folder and told everybody the dates of the letters that he wrote to the FS and the hearing that he asked for from the Committee on Natural Resources (a committee he sits on). It came across to me as if he wanted to make sure that people knew that he was doing something. Sadly, he couldnít attach any form of resolution to his efforts. THAT, to me, is what itís about. TRYING to get a touchdown, but not making it, doesnít score any points.

Then several of the other attendees chimed in and raised some good points regarding their views on the topic and illustrated to Lamborn why they believed this to be an important issue. Heís a likeable guy, he was attentive, took notes, etc., but at the same time I got the feeling that he also set us up for not expecting too much from his end Ė that thereís only so much he can do. He did state that the next step for us might have to be litigation. I canít help but wonder that if he canít bring positive resolution to something so cut and dry, whatís his purpose other than pushing a Yea/Nea button in Congress.

Next stop Ė RitterÖ
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Peter Vahry on August 23, 2009, 05:43:10 am
Dan, thank you for your postings from Colorado. You do have interest from UFWDA but you appear to have the process well in hand. If there is specific support from UFWDA that you would like, please identify it.

The work that you are doing is great and is obviously being frustrated by the Governer's office. I have on several occasions looked to include your proposed meeting plans in one of the monthly UFWDA e-News, but the way things have gone, we would be simply advising retractions!

Keep battling and tell us what we can do to help.
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Todd Ockert on August 24, 2009, 10:19:20 am
Dan

I have followed this thread since you started it.

In your first posting, you asked for help, but did not state what kind of help you needed.
You seem to have a pretty good handle on the situation, and I thank you for your updates here.

I would ask that you keep informing us of what happens with this issue.

Thanks

Todd
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Dan Wagman on August 24, 2009, 11:09:23 am
I made it clear that we needed people to show up at the meeting. That was the minimum and any other help that the organization may have been able to provide would've been appreciated. There was no representation by UFWDA, the CO affiliate, etc. Pretty sad.
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Todd Ockert on August 24, 2009, 03:46:17 pm
Dan

We have members in Colorado, but no BOD members.
I would have been willing to take time off from work if someone could have paid my way.
I did not post that request, as I did not think someone would be willing to pay my way there and back.

I would have loved to attend the meeting, but again, my finances would not allow it.

I can not say for the Colorado association, but a phone call to them might help.
They have a few members on here, but not sure how many.

Impacts as this are important to us, and the wheelers that we represent across the globe.

You seem to have a good handle on the issues here.
What was done to garner support for the meeting in the state?
Was there any posts on the local forums asking for people to show up?
I am on Pirate4x4 all the time, and do not remember of any posts on this issue.

Thanks

Todd
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Dan Wagman on August 24, 2009, 04:43:12 pm
Todd...

Quote
You seem to have a good handle on the issues here.

If I would've had that good of a handle on things, then I wouldn't have asked for help. The sad truth of the matter is that the law is being blatantly violated and nobody seems to care.

Quote
What was done to garner support for the meeting in the state?

Contacting all local organizations and media.

Quote
Was there any posts on the local forums asking for people to show up?

Absolutely. A total of 5 different Forums.

Quote
I am on Pirate4x4 all the time, and do not remember of any posts on this issue.

Absolutely on Pirate, too.
 
It might not be too late. What can you do to have someone at UFWDA write Lamborn and Gov. Ritter in an effort that this goes beyond just Colorado?
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Todd Ockert on August 25, 2009, 10:34:23 am
Dan

I will go back through these posts and pick out some talking points and write to Lamborn and Gov Ritter.

Are their email addresses listed in the thread or an address for them?

Thanks

Todd
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Dan Wagman on August 25, 2009, 11:12:36 am
Dan

I will go back through these posts and pick out some talking points and write to Lamborn and Gov Ritter.

Are their email addresses listed in the thread or an address for them?

Thanks

Todd

Todd, that would be great. The main points that absolutely need to be addressed, points that are entirely unemotional and only a representation of the law, can be found here: http://www.bodyintellect.com/forest_service/worksheet_lamborn_ritter.pdf

To contact Congressman Lamborn, visit his website here: http://lamborn.house.gov/index.html

To contact Governor Ritter, visit his website here: http://www.colorado.gov/governor

Of course getting on the USFS about this might be helpful, too. But I'm afraid that they dug in their heels and won't be compelled to adhere to the law unless a Congressman, Governor, or Judge makes them.
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Keith Holman on August 29, 2009, 09:42:48 am
This information has been reported to Senators Mikulski and Cardin of Maryland as well.
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Dan Wagman on October 08, 2009, 05:43:20 pm
UPDATE

OK, thereís something pretty humorous here, but letís get to the serious part first.

I havenít been in contact because unfortunately there hasnít been much to share with you. In other words, I havenít heard anything from Congressman Lamborn nor the Governorís office. Iím giving Lamborn more time because history shows that he does follow through with what he promises, in this case a letter requesting more detail from the FS. But 6 wks since our meeting with him have passed...

Regarding Ritter, however, as you hopefully recall, this matter was passed on to the Dept. of Natural Resources. The point of contact, Heidi, moved on to a different job so Iíve been trying to get a hold of Mike King, whoís actually the ďsecond in commandĒ over there. Heís outright ignored all of my calls and e-mails. Today I got a hold of him on his cell. He was dismissive, bordering on rude, and could not tell me anything about anything - literally. He suggested I talk to the Governorís Ombudsmenís office instead. What a jerk. But heís got a nice smile (http://dnr.state.co.us/Leadership/Deputy+Director/Deputy+Director.htm (http://dnr.state.co.us/Leadership/Deputy+Director/Deputy+Director.htm)). Two calls to his boss, DNR Executive Dir. Harris Sherman have yielded no return calls (http://dnr.state.co.us/Leadership/Executive+Director/ (http://dnr.state.co.us/Leadership/Executive+Director/)). I called again today and left a message...

I called the Ombudsmenís office and they provided me with one of Ritterís attorneyís contact info. Placed the call and left a message today. Also, today, I finally broke down and contacted several CO-based attorneys. Meetings next week...

Now hereís something pretty funny. I submitted a FOIA and the FS reply was ďno records.Ē I appealed that in DC and got a letter back from the Deputy Director of the FS. In his writing he confirmed that NEPA needs to be followed in closing this road. But he claims that itís not a Forest Service Road and includes a map (this is FSR371, Emerald Valley). And guess what, the map identifies this road as FSR 371. How is it that people with such lack of attention to detail can hold down a job????

Will have more as it becomes available... 
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Peter Vahry on October 08, 2009, 07:39:14 pm
Thanks Dan, well done with the persistence. Are there any specific people that a flurry of public letters might improve the awareness levels of ... someone like Mike King perhaps? A UFWDA e-News will be going out next week.
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Dan Wagman on October 13, 2009, 05:26:24 pm
No, Peter, I don't think that any letters would be of any help at this point. Mike King made it clear that he's not interested in this nor that he wants to pursue it.

The latest is that I've spoken to several attorneys about this and that I'm asking the ACLU-CO for help on this. Also, I sent everything again to Gov. Ritter in the form of a request to meet in person (not just me but up to 15 other citizens). We'll see where it goes. I'm also going to talk to the Blue Ribbon Coalition for legal assistance and perhaps you can have Carla contact me to pursue this. From what I understand, due to the fact that in this locale the FS has shown a pattern of illegal road closure, this appears to be a fairly strong case.
Title: Lamborn Update
Post by: Dan Wagman on October 26, 2009, 05:03:00 pm
Hello All,

The main purpose for all of us to meet with Congressman Lamborn was two-fold: 1. To illustrate how many citizens are concerned about illegal FS road closures, 2. To provide him with a worksheet to pass on to the FS in an attempt to get specific answers to the claims the FS has made and to have the FS provide specific references to the law that might allow for their actions, thereby rendering them not illegal.

Last week I received an answer from the FS regarding Lambornís writing. In a nutshell, the FS evaded answering the points with specificity and actually highlighted yet another violation of federal law. You see, they claim now, among other things, that theyíre using the 2009 Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) as their guide. Federal law, however, mandates Public Involvement in this process, which they did not observe. When does it ever end? A Freedom of Information Act request went out today requesting all documentation regarding the MVUM.

You may find the Worksheet that Lamborn requested the FS to address here:

http://www.bodyintellect.com/forest_service/worksheet_lamborn_ritter.pdf

You may find the FSís answer at the following link. Please note that I added comments to most paragraphs, which on the surface actually sound good; simply scroll your cursor over the note symbol:

http://www.bodyintellect.com/forest_service/worksheet_fs.pdf

Regarding Governor Ritter, I have established contact with two of his policy attorneys. That followed a rejection from his scheduling office in which I requested a citizens meeting  with him. If I donít hear back this week, I shall call them again next week.

Finally, talks with several independent law firms has established that indeed the FS has violated federal law in closing these roads to the public. I am now awaiting feedback on which legal options we might have, how much it might cost, etc.
Title: South Rampart Travel Management Plan
Post by: Dan Wagman on October 29, 2009, 05:20:00 pm
As many of you probably know, the South Rampart Travel Management Plan is underway. It's VERY important for you to get involved in this by submitting your SUBSTANTIVE comments to the Forest Service (FS).

Why is this important and why did I CAP substantive?

It's important because unless you comment you have no appeal rights once they proceed with it. However, once you speak your mind, then you have appeal rights if you don't like what they've done. And best of all, appealing a decision costs you nothing but a stamp. And yes, appeals get reviewed independently and FS decisions have been overturned via this process.

Why did I cap substantive? Because unless you provide a substantive comment the FS will ignore and reject your comment. That said, a statement such as, "I think you should keep this road open because it's beautiful" isn't substantive. Here's how the law defines a substantive comment:

36 CFR 215.2 SUBSTANTIVE COMMENTS ó Comments that are within the scope of the proposed action, are specific to the proposed action, have a direct relationship to the proposed action and include supporting reasons for the Responsible Official to consider.

With that said, please allow me to provide you with what I have sent the FS. I encourage you to review what the FS has done so far and to provide your own comments (http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/psicc/projects (http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/psicc/projects)). And if you like, use mine as a template of sorts, but do get involved...

EDAW/AECOM
Attn: South Rampart
TMP/EA
240 E. Mountain Ave.
Fort Collins, CO 80524

RE: Substantive Comment as per 36 CFR 215.2 regarding the South Rampart Travel Management Plan; submitted via USPS and e-mail (comment@southrampart.net)

To Whom It May Concern:

There are two errors on the 2008 and 2009 MVUM that must be corrected for the final Travel Management Plan and subsequent MVUM.

FSR 322A
This road appears on the 1984 LRMP map and the 1992 Pike National Forest map but has been omitted from the 2008 and 2009 MVUM. In addition, this road has been closed for five years, despite the fact that its closure must be temporary (defined as up to one year, 36 CFR 220 et seq.) based on the Decision Memo For Temporary Closures of Roads and Trails for Resource Protection and Public Safety. This Order expired 4/29/09 and since this road remains closed to the public, that is in violation of the Order. Moreover, omitting this road from the MVUM has not followed the processes prescribed in 36 CFR 212 et seq. and 36 CFR 220 et seq. Therefore, this road must not only be reopened to the public but must also appear on the MVUM resulting from the South Rampart TMP.
 
FSR 371
This road appears accurately and in its entirety on the 1984 Land Resource Management Plan (LRMP) map, has been omitted from the 1992 Pike National Forest map past the intersection with Emerald Valley Ranch as it heads due west, and appears again on the 2008 and 2009 MVUM, though only for approximately half of its length as it heads due west from the intersection with Emerald Valley Ranch (presumably stopping where it has been gated). As it relates to the TMP and the associated MVUM, since this road is a Forest System road, has been identified as such on the 1984 LRMP, and no amendments to the 1984 LRMP indicate otherwise, this road must be represented in its entirety as indicated on the 1984 LRMP map.
Title: FSR 322A
Post by: Dan Wagman on November 08, 2009, 03:16:17 pm
So I went wheeling up Rampart Range on Saturday. I think this is pretty funny...

I drive by the gate for 322A (one if the illegally closed roads) and somebody took a blow torch to it and cut the top off, which is still hanging there, but the rest of the gate is gone. So the FS bolted one of those steel highway dividers or what you see on the cliff side of a mountain pass to two uprights instead. Looked like 1" nuts and bolts to me.

Beyond being funny to me, I can't help but think how Jeffersonian it was to do this. The FS is clearly violating the law in keeping this road closed to the citizens; in the words of our 3rd President, "a little rebellion now and then is a good thing." 
Title: Legal Talk
Post by: Dan Wagman on November 17, 2009, 06:39:33 pm
Earlier today I got off the phone with Jim Manley, an attorney for Mountain States Legal Foundation. These guys essentially do pro bono work as it relates to public access to public lands. This case is something theyíre interested in, but...

The long and short of it is that since the Forest Service (FS) is now undergoing new Travel Management Plan (TMP) activities, fighting the closures at this point in time seems sort of a mute point. He very strongly recommended that all interested parties comment regarding FSR 371, FSR 322A, and any other areas that are of concern to you. This, he stated, would provide every person or organization who commented with legal standing, meaning that we can appeal whatever decision the FS makes. He also indicated that he wanted me to keep him abreast of the developments because if it ever comes to an appeal, he and his firm would be interested in looking deeper into this matter and perhaps helping us with the appeal(s), litigation, etc.

So, I refer you back a few messages of mine ago where I shared with you the address to which to send/e-mail your comment(s), along with my comments and an explanation of what a substantive comment must entail. You ought to use that as your guide. Now that the FS is developing a new TMP, letís see if we canít get our access back.

A few additional notes. The other attorney I spoke to would as a first step study all of the materials I gathered and would then propose a sit-down with the leadership at the FS to resolve this. He most definitely feels that they donít have any legal support for their actions. This could be effective, but would cost between 1-2K. In the end, Iím afraid that the FS would simply default to the TMP, and perhaps rightfully so, and 1-2K was essentially spend for nothing. So again, comments is the way to go, get involved in the process! Working through the appeals process costs nothing more than a stamp and at the end of that process, thereís still the option to sue the FS.

On the Governorís side of things, weíve been completely ignored. His two policy attorneys that Iíve been put in touch with do not return any of my e-mails or phone calls. Next year is an election year for  him and I will be sure to work on his retirement. If anyone is interested in helping out, let me know.

As far as Congressman Lamborn goes, I asked for another meeting in which several of us will ask him to tell us with specificity what heíll do to get our public roads back. The request went out 10/29 and to date I have not heard back. So earlier today I sent his scheduling person an e-mail. He should be aware that 2010 is an election year for him too.

As always, stay tuned...

 
Title: Congressman Lamborn Retirement
Post by: Dan Wagman on January 22, 2010, 04:39:33 pm
Back in November, Lamborn sent a letter in which he rejected meeting with us. In this meeting he was to explain to his constituency what, exactly, he would do to compel the Forest Service to abide by federal law in closing public roads.

In this letter (http://www.bodyintellect.com/forest_service/lamborn_11-19-09.pdf), among other things, he claims to have been in contact about this issue with three past Forest Service chiefs. I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the agency in order to ascertain the truth of that statement; hence the delay in my reply (http://www.bodyintellect.com/forest_service/lamborn_1-2010.pdf). It seems that his statement was a fabrication.

Suffice to say, Lamborn has proven to be an utterly worthless representative in this matter, which raises questions about his effectiveness in other, much more complex issues. I believe his retirement is in order and this work is being organized now. Let me know if you care to become involved.
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Dan Wagman on January 26, 2010, 06:43:08 pm
The Colorado Springs Independent is doing a story on this issue and Lamborn's incompetence on Friday. Apparently the writer has only been given limited space at this time, but it's a good start.
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Peter Vahry on January 26, 2010, 07:21:15 pm
Dan, it will be very interesting to read what the newspaper makes of the situation.

Peter
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Dan Wagman on January 29, 2010, 01:47:52 pm
Please find the latest article on Congressman Lambornís ineffectiveness at the following link. This appeared in the Colo. Spgs. Independent on Thursday.

Media, please note that I am available for comment.

http://www.bodyintellect.com/forest_service/csi_lamborn_1-28-10.jpg (http://www.bodyintellect.com/forest_service/csi_lamborn_1-28-10.jpg) 
Title: S. Rampart TMP
Post by: Dan Wagman on March 30, 2010, 05:51:08 pm
Please note that the last public meeting for the South Rampart Travel Management Plan (TMP) took place earlier this month. You have until April 12 to submit your comments. The FS did a very good job of making information available for your review, such as comparison maps, comment forms, the presentation itself, etc. You may find everything you need here: http://southrampart.net/ (http://southrampart.net/)

What I find particularly interesting is that the proposed changes as seen in Alternative B and C (Alternative A is the current situation) do not match. Put another way, in Alternative B FSR 322A is supposed to be reopened yet in Alternative C it is supposed to be categorized as an Administrative trail. This is important because the TMP must be based on science, according to federal law (see 36 CFR 212 for more). So if the science indicates that a trail must be closed, it would seem that this should be so in both Alternatives. Unless, of course, the decision was NOT based on science, in which case it would appear to be arbitrary and capricious. This is the sort of thing the law does not like and would provide us with strong grounds for appeal. Please note that this situation applies to several roads, not just FSR 322A. 
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Dan Wagman on September 14, 2010, 06:12:44 pm
Our Congressman, Doug Lamborn, has been highly INEFFECTIVE in helping us out on the issue of illegal road closures in the Pike National Forest. But that's not the only issue where he has demonstrated to be ineffective and we feel that he must be retired. Please click the link below to get the details:

http://www.DougLamborn.info (http://www.DougLamborn.info)
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Pat Brower on September 14, 2010, 06:58:31 pm
Nice site.
I wish you the best of luck with this.
It looks like it might be an easy election to remove an incumbent.
Many appear to be fed up with ineffective representation.
I've been fed up for years, but then I'm one of those "wacko" libertarians who believe the Federal Government should be limited to the powers granted them under the Constitution.

I'm rooting for you Dan
Title: Re: Illegal Road Closures: Colorado
Post by: Dan Wagman on September 15, 2010, 08:56:14 am
Thank you for your support, Pat.

Many of us, but certainly not all of us, are tired of the name calling. We feel that these two issues highlight how incompetent our Congressman is and in that light it is irrelevant to us that he is a Republican. Competence goes beyond political affiliation and it is time to give another person a shot at the job. It really IS that simple.