Gila National Forest Releases Long-Awaited Travel Management Draft Environmental Impact Statement
The Gila National Forest Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Travel Management is NOW available on the Gila National Forest's web site. www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gjAwhwtDDw9_AI8zPyhQoY6BdkOyoCAGixyPg!/?ss=110306&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&cid=STELPRDB5035773&navid=091000000000000&position=Feature*&ttype=detail&pname=Gila National Forest- Home The public has until March 7th to comment on this draft document
This draft EIS proposes some really BIG changes from the current situation:
What roads can we drive in our vehicles (all vehicles including OHVs)?
What is allowed now: 5,782 miles (plus unknown mileage of traditional roads and trails)
After Travel Management closures: Vehicle use is allowed on only 3,626 miles
What the public Loses: 2,156 miles of road closed, nearly 40%, (plus every road and trail which the Forest Service left off their maps will be closed)
Where can we vehicle camp (from a truck or trailer)?
What is allowed now: Camping along 5,197 miles of road (at any distance from the road)
After Travel Management closures: Camping allowed along only 1,327 miles of road (and limited to only 300 feet from the road)
What the public Loses: 3,870 miles of camping road closed, nearly 75%
Where can we use vehicles to retrieve big game?
What is allowed now: Unlimited big game retrieval from 5,197 miles of road (2.44 million acres)
After Travel Management closures: Limited to 300 feet either side of only 1,327 miles of road (95,944 acres)
What the public Loses: The public canít retrieve animals with vehicles unless the game is very close to the roads left open.
The public will only have 60 days to comment on these issues by submitting letters or emails. The end of the 60 day comment period is March 7th. Only those who provide comments during this comment period will be eligible to appeal the final decision.
The purpose of the Travel Management EIS is to designate a motorized road and trail system for the Gila National Forest. Designation will include class of vehicle and time of year for motor vehicle use. The decision will result in the publication of a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM). After the MVUM has been released, ALL other motorized travel off the designated system will be prohibited. The full text of the document, all of the maps of the travel routes for the alternatives, and supporting documentation is available on the Gila National Forest's Travel Management website here.
What we can do now?
We have until March 7th
to tell the Gila National Forest what we think about their plans. You can send comments to the Gila National Forest about this proposal. The full document is available on the Gilaís website. Paper copies are at all Gila National Forest offices (District Ranger offices) and also at courthouses, libraries and county offices and other selected locations. Call the Gila National Forest at 575-388-8201 to find a copy near you.
Comments on the draft EIS can be submitted by postal mail, email, and fax.