Custer National Forest Releases Motorized Travel Plan DEIS For Two Ranger Districts
The Custer Forest, located in southern Montana, has just released their Draft Environmental Impact Statements (DEIS) for Motorized Travel Management on the Sioux and Ashland Ranger Districts. The Forest Service (FS) will be accepting comments for the next 45 days and will be hosting a series of open houses on each Ranger District to answer questions about the DEIS (see schedule below for details).
The purpose of these projects is to designate routes for public motorized use. Motorized off-route travel would continue to be prohibited, except where designated for access to dispersed vehicle camping. For each system road and trial, the type of use and season of use to be designated is identified. Over-snow vehicle use is not part of the decision to be made.
The Forest has developed three alternatives for managing motor vehicle use on each of the Ranger Districts. Here is a brief overview of each alternative:
No Action Alternative is based on designation of the current National Forest System roads; non-system routes are not a part of the No Action Alternative.
Alternative A includes designation of the majority of the existing system and non-system routes on the Districts (the existing condition) and would designate a combination of mixed motorized use roads and motorized trails to provide opportunities for operating unlicensed motor vehicles.
Alternative B avoids designation of routes for uses where there are known resource concerns or routes that parallel adjacent routes, and would also designate a combination of mixed motorized use roads and motorized trails to provide opportunities for operating unlicensed motor vehicles.
The DEIS discloses the various effects of alternatives for each of the different resources, including: air quality, archeology, watershed resources, wildlife species, plant communities, recreation, transportation, Roadless Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, fire, adjacent ownerships, and socio-economic impacts.
Copies of all DEIS documents and maps are available on the Forest's website at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/custer/
. Please review the documents and maps closely and try to make your comments as site-specific as possible, preferably by referring to those specific roads or trails you have concerns with. It is important to remember this proposal is just a draft. Your comments will be critical in refining this draft proposal prior to the final decision.
Open House Schedule
Sioux Ranger District
October 22, 2008 - Carter County Event Center (Fair Building) in Ekalaka, MT at 6:00pm
October 23, 2008 - Harding County Recreation Center in Buffalo, SD at 6:00 pm
Ashland Ranger District
October 27, 2008 - Ashland School, Ashland, MT 6:00pm
October 28, 2008 - Isabell's Community Learning Center, Colstrip, MT 6:00pm
October 29, 2008 - Billings Parmly Library, Billings, MT 6:00pm
THE COMMENT DEADLINE IS NOVEMBER 17, 2008
Mail written comments to:
Steve Williams, Forest Supervisor
Custer National Forest
1310 Main Street
Billings, MT 59105
Written comments must be postmarked by the Postal Service, e-mailed, faxed, or otherwise submitted by 11:59 pm, November 17, 2008.
Email comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
comments on the Sioux Ranger District email@example.com
comments on the Ashland Ranger District
For the Sioux Ranger District, please enter "Sioux Travel Management" and for the Ashland Ranger District, please enter "Ashland Travel Management" on the subject line of your electronic message. Acceptable forms are MS Word , Word Perfect or RTF.
Hand delivered comments must be time and date imprinted at the Custer National Forest Supervisor's Office by the close of business on November 17, 2008.
Your comments, including your name and address, will be considered part of the public record on this proposed action and will be available for public inspection.
If you have any questions or desire additional information, please contact Doug Epperly or Babete Anderson at 406-657-6200.
JUST REMEMBER, PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT IS CRUCIAL TO KEEP RECREATION AREAS OPEN, PLEASE GET INVOLVED!