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UFWDA Community Forum  |  Regional Focus - News and Local Events  |  Northwest  |  Topic: Id - Salmon-Challis National Forest, TMP and OHV Designation « previous next »
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Author Topic: Id - Salmon-Challis National Forest, TMP and OHV Designation  (Read 463 times)
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« on: August 03, 2007, 09:58:38 am »

[Federal Register: August 3, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 149)]
[Notices]               
[Page 43223-43225]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr03au07-31]                         

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Salmon-Challis National Forest, Idaho; Salmon-Challis National
Forest Travel Management Plan and Off-highway Vehicle Designation

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The USDA, Forest Service will prepare an environmental impact
statement to designate a portion of the National Forest roads, trails,
and areas open to public motor vehicle use on the Salmon-Challis
National Forest (SCNF), and assign the type of use(s) and season of use
allowed on each road and trail or portion thereof. Additionally, the
Forest Service will designate some previously unauthorized (or user-
created) routes for public motor vehicle use and assign the type of
use(s) and season of use allowed on each route or portion thereof.

Decisions regarding motorized travel do not include motorized travel
over snow. A Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) depicting those routes that
will be open to public motorized travel on the SCNF will be the primary
tool to determine compliance with, and enforcement of, motorized
vehicle use designations on the ground. Existing routes and user-
created routes not designated as open on the MVUM will be legally
closed to motorized travel. The SCNF currently has 980,700 acres open
to motorized cross-country travel. Those acres will be closed year-
round to motorized cross country travel, excluding over-snow vehicles.

DATES: Written comments concerning the proposed action should be
received by September 14, 2007. The draft environmental impact
statement is expected to be released in March 2008 and the final
environmental impact statement is expected in August 2008.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Salmon-Challis National Forest,
ATTN: Travel Management Planning, 1206 South Challis Street, Salmon, ID
83467.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen Gallogly, Travel Planning Team
Leader, Salmon-Challis National Forest, 1206 South Challis Street,
Salmon, ID 83467. Telephone: (208) 756-5103.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Purpose and Need

    The purpose of this action is to designate a public motorized
vehicle transportation system for the SCNF that addresses current and
anticipated recreation needs, provides a variety of recreation access
opportunities, considers management concerns (such as public safety,
maintenance costs, and consistency with adjoining public lands),
reduces impacts to forest resources, recognizes reserved or outstanding
rights, and reduces conflicts between recreational uses.
    The need for this action is to meet national direction published in
the Federal Register, 36 CFR Parts 212, 251, 261, 295 Travel
Management: Designated Routes and Areas for Motor Vehicle Use''
(Federal Register 2005: 70 FR 68264) (Travel Management Rule). This
rule requires designation of those roads, trails, and areas open to
motor vehicle use on Forest System Lands. The rule prohibits the use of
motor vehicles off the designated system, as well as use of motor
vehicles on routes and in areas that are not consistent with the
designation.

Proposed Action

    The project area includes the approximate 3.0 million acres under
the administration of the SCNF, excluding the approximate 1.3 million
acre-Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area which is
Congressionally mandated as non-motorized.
    The proposed action is the Forest's initial description of
designated roads, trails and areas which would be available for public
motor vehicle use on the SCNF. The proposed action is based on existing
travel plans for both the Salmon and Challis National Forests and input
gathered from the public, cooperating agencies and organizations, and
Forest Service specialists during meetings, workshops, and field trips
held from summer 2006 through May 2007. This proposal is only one
alternative that will be evaluated in the Environmental Impact
Statement for the Salmon-Challis National Forest Travel Management Plan
and Off-highway Vehicle Designation.
    The proposed action identifies approximately 3,400 miles of roads
designated for motorized public use and about 1,100 miles of motorized
trails. This proposal would prohibit all motorized cross country travel
and close all roads, trails, and routes not specifically designated for
motorized public use. Off-route access would be permitted for 300 feet
on either side of designated motorized routes, except the Salmon River
Road (FR 30) to accommodate access to and from dispersed
campsites only. Camping with the use of a motor vehicle (e.g. car,
motor-home, truck and camp trailer, camper, off-highway vehicle, or
motorcycle) is only allowed in designated dispersed camping areas and
designated pull-outs along the Salmon River Road (FR 30). Day-
use parking is allowed along the Salmon River Road. Motor vehicle use
for big game retrieval off of designated roads or designated motorized
trails would not be allowed. Motorized use beyond those limits would be
subject to citations and fines by law enforcement.
    The following uses would not be affected by this decision and are
outside the scope of this project: (1) Over-snow vehicles; (2)
aircraft; (3) watercraft; (4) non-motorized uses (e.g. hiking,
equestrian, mountain bikes); (5) search and rescue operations; (6) law
enforcement operations; (7) firefighting operations; (Cool permitted uses
(e.g. woodcutting, livestock herding/fence maintenance; (9) limited
administrative access; (10) legal ingress and egress to private land;
(11) new or non-national forest roads; and (12) use of roads with
legally documented rights-of-way held by state, county or other public
road authority.
    Detailed maps and data tables displaying proposed designated roads
and trails across the Forest, and designated dispersed camping areas
and pull outs along the Salmon River Road

[[Page 43224]]

are posted on the SCNF Web site at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/sc/


Forest Plan Amendment

    The Challis National Forest Land Resource Management Plan would be
amended as part of the SCNF Forest Travel Management Plan project to
include changes to the two sections outlined below.
    Challis National Forest Plan Amendment 9: Forestwide
Management Direction Standards and Guidelines.

Current Direction

Clause d. Proposed Wilderness.
    Continue existing ORV closures or expand closures where needed to
allow adverse impacts from ORV's to heal. May allow ORV use to continue
on the following roads and/or trails:
    a. Toolbox-Herd Peak Trail 051--Between the ridgetop at
the head of Toolbox Canyon, to Herd Peak--on the two short segments of
this trail which dip into the proposed wilderness area; two-wheeled
motorized and mechanized vehicles only.
    b. Wildhorse Road 136--From proposed wilderness boundary
(\1/4\ mile above Wildhorse Campground) to end of current road; no
vehicle size restrictions.
    c. Long Lost Creek Road 434--From proposed wilderness
boundary to Trailhead for Long Lost Trail 194; no vehicle size
restrictions.
    d. Long Lost Trail 194--From Long Lost Creek Road
434 to end of trail; two wheel, motorized and mechanized
vehicles only.
    e. Swauger Lakes Trail 091--From Long Lost Creek Road
434 to Dry Creek Trail 240; two-wheel, motorized and
mechanized vehicles only.
    f. Long Lost-Wet Creek Trail 245--From Long Lost Trail
194 to Shadow Lakes; two wheel, motorized and mechanized
vehicles only.

Amended Directon

    Clause d. Proposed Wilderness; item d described above would be
removed from the list.
    Long Lost Trail 194 would not be a designated motorized
route and would not be open for motorized public use.
    Challis National Forest Plan Amendment 9:
    Management Area Direction for Management Area 16 Borah
Peak, Recreation, Management Area Direction.

Current Direction

    Clause c. Swauger Lakes Trail 091--from Long Lost Creek
Road 434 to Dry Creek Trail 240; two wheel, motorized
and mechanized vehicles only.

Amended Direction

    Clause c. Swauger Lakes Trail 091--from Long Lost Creek
Road 434 to Dry Creek Trail 240; motorized and
mechanized vehicles 50'' or less in width only.

Possible Alternatives

    Alternatives to the proposed action will be considered and
evaluated. The No Action alternative would adopt the existing systems
of open roads and trails displayed on current travel plans for the
Salmon National Forest and the Challis National Forest and designate
those routes as open to public motorized travel.
    Alternatives to the Proposed Action and No Action will depict
differing combinations of routes to remain open to motorized travel.
The Proposed Action and the alternative actions will provide a system
of routes that differ from existing conditions and the No Action
alternative.
    Less restrictive alternatives would generally entail designating a
greater number of miles of roads and trails to be open to motorized
travel than the Proposed Action. Alternatives considered to be less
restrictive could also include fewer constraints on season of use or
vehicle types allowed on designated routes. Less restrictive
alternatives would generally provide for more motorized recreational
use opportunities.
    More restrictive alternatives would generally entail designating
fewer miles of roads and trails to be open for motorized travel than
the Proposed Action or have more constraints on season of use and
vehicles types using designated routes. More restrictive alternatives
would provide motorized recreational opportunities, yet there may be
greater emphasis on non-motorized recreation.
    A consequence of designating routes open for motorized travel is
that those routes not designated as open would be identified as closed
to motorized travel. Road closure procedures that involve ground-
disturbing activities would not be part of the Proposed Action or
alternatives and would require separate and distinct site-specific NEPA
decisions regarding the implementation aspects of road closures. The
environmental effects of having roads closed to motorized travel will
be evaluated in this analysis.
    Identification of new routes that would meet the objectives for a
motorized transportation system may be, as appropriate, part of this
travel management planning. Separate, site-specific NEPA decisions
would be required to implement ground-disturbing activities associated
with new route construction.

Responsible Official

    William A. Wood, Supervisor, Salmon-Challis National Forest,
Headquarters Office, 1206 South Challis Street, Salmon, Idaho 83467, is
the responsible official for making the decision and providing
direction for the analysis.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    Based on the purpose and need for the proposal, the Forest
Supervisor will evaluate the Proposed Action and other alternatives to
decide which roads, trails and areas will be designated as open to the
public for motorized use and the allowed season and/or type of use for
those routes open to motorized travel.
    Federal land managers are directed (Executive Order 11644, 36 CFR
212 and 43 CFR 8342.1 to ensure that the use of motorized vehicles and
off-road vehicles will be controlled and directed so as to protect the
resources of those lands, to promote the safety of users, minimize
conflicts among the the various uses of federal lands, and to provide
for public use of roads and trails designated as open.

Scoping Process

    Preliminary public involvement was initiated in April 2006 to
inform the public and stakeholders on the objectives of travel
management. The public was also asked to provide input about specific
routes they wanted to remain open and/or those routes that may be in
conflict with other desired conditions sought by the public on Forest
Service Lands. This initial comment period ended in March 2007. The
SCNF received many comments on individual routes and numerous general
comments about the area and travel management as a whole.
    This initial public input was used to develop the preliminary
route-by-route Proposed Action which will be now used as the Forest
starts the more formal scoping process. The Forest will conduct the
following series of public, open-house-style meetings across the Forest
and in surrounding communities to discuss the Proposed Action with
interested parties and those who may be affected by the proposal:
     Challis, Idaho--August 7, 2007, 4:30-8 p.m. Challis-Yankee
Fork Ranger District Office, Highway 93 North.
     Mackay, Idaho--August 8, 2007, 4:30-8 p.m. Lost River
Ranger Distrct Office, 716 West Custer Street.

[[Page 43225]]

     Salmon, Idaho--August 9, 2007, 4:30-8 p.m. Salmon, Idaho--
Public Lands Center, 1206 South Challis Street.
     Idaho Falls, Idaho--August 15, 2007, 4:30-8 p.m. Caribou-
Targhee National Forest, Supervisor's Office, 1405 Hollipark Drive.
     Blackfoot, Idaho--August 16, 2007, 4:30-8 p.m. Blackfoot
City Council Room, Library Building, 157 No. Broadway.
     North Fork, Idaho--August 22, 2007, 4:30-8 p.m. North Fork
Fire Station, Highway 93.
     Leadore, Idaho--August 28, 2007, 4:30-8 p.m. Leadore
Community Center, Highway 28.
    Notice of all meetings will be posted on the Forest's website and
advertised in the Recorder Herald, Challis Messenger, Arco Advertiser,
and Post Register newspapers.
    Based on comments received as a result of this notice and after the
Forest has conducted public meetings and afforded the public sufficient
time to respond to the preliminary Proposed Action, the Forest will use
the public scoping comments and concerns along with resource-related
input from the interdisciplanary team and other agency resource
specialists to identify a set of issues to carry forward into the
environmental analysis.

Preliminary Issues

    The Forest Service has received some indications of potential
issues from the initial public involvement process. These potential
issues include:
    (1) Adverse resource impacts caused by inappropriate types of
vehicle use and unrestricted season of use.
    (2) Infringement on wildlife caused by roads in important or
critical habitat, high density of roads in wildlife habitat areas, and
disturbance of wildlife during critical lifecycle periods.
    (3) Loss of recreational opportunity when existing routes are
closed to motorized travel.
    (4) Loss of semi-primitive and primitive recreational opportunity
if more routes are open to motorized travel.
    (5) Failure to accommodate the growing number of motorized users
desiring to use federal lands for recreational riding of ATVs and
motorcycles.
    (6) Inconsistencies between adjoining public lands.
    (7) Enforcement concerns centered on whether the agency has the
ability to provide enforcement once decisions have been made on allowed
routes and uses for motorized travel.
    (Cool Safety concerns on routes where multiple vehicle types (full-
sized trucks and cars, ATVs, and motorcycles) are allowed.
    (9) Conflicts with landowners when routes cross private lands to
access federally managed lands.
    The Forest Service recognizes that this list of issues may not be
complete and issues will be further defined and refined as scoping
continues. A comprehensive list of key issues will be determined before
the range of alternatives is developed and the environmental analysis
is started.

Comment Requested

    This notice of intent begins the formal scoping process in the
development of the environmental impact statement. All comments
received during the initial comment period (April 2006-March 2007) will
be brought forward into this formal scoping, and those who commented
then need not comment again to have their comments considered, or to
demonstrate their interest in this planning process. Any new or
additional comments about the proposed action would be most useful if
received by September 7, 2007. Persons and organizations commenting
during the intitial scoping will be maintained on the mailing list for
future information about Salmon-Challis National Forest Travel
Management Planning.
    Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent
Environmental Review: A draft environmental impact statement will be
prepared for comment. The comment period on the draft environmental
impact statement will be 45 days from the date the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) publishes the notice of availability in the
Federal Register. Written comments are preferred and should include the
name and address of the commenter. Comments submitted for this proposed
action will be considered part of the public record.
    The Forest Service believes, at this early stage, it is important
to give reviewers notice of several court rulings related to public
participation in the environmental review process. First, reviewers of
draft environmental impact statements must structure their
participation in the environmental review of the proposal so that it is
meaningful and alerts an agency to the reviewer's position and
contentions (Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. NRDC, 435 U.S. 519,
553 (1978).) Also, environmental objections that could be raised at the
draft environmental impact statement stage but that are not raised
until after completion of the final environmental impact statement may
be waived or dismissed by the courts (City of Angoon v. Hodel, 803 F.2d
1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 1986) and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. v. Harris, 490
F. Supp. 1334, 1338 (E.D. Wis. 1980)). Because of these court rulings,
it is very important that those interested in this proposed action
participate by the close of the 45-day period so that substantive
comments and objections are made available to the Forest Service at a
time when it can meaningfully consider them and respond to them in the
final environmental impact statement.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft
environmental impact statement should be as specific as possible. It is
also helpful if comments refer to specific pages or chapters of the
draft statement. Comments may also address the adequacy of the draft
environmental impact statement or the merits of the alternatives
formulated and discussed in the statement. Reviewers may wish to refer
to the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for implementing
the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act at
40 CFR 1503.3 in addressing these points.
    Comments received, including the names and addresses of those who
comment, will be considered part of the public record on this proposal
and will be available for public inspection.

    (Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; Forest Service Handbook
1909.15, Section 21.)

    Dated: July 25, 2007.
William A. Wood,
Forest Supervisor.
 [FR Doc. E7-14977 Filed 8-2-07; 8:45 am]

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