Rare 2nd Chance to Provide Comments on Camino Real Ranger District Travel Management Preliminary Environmental Assessment
The previous access alert said that the Carson National Forest pulled a fast one and slipped this preliminary EA out to the public without notifying NMOHVA. We complained vigorously that their actions violated requirements to notify all previous participants in the process. We were right! This past week, the Carson Forest Supervisor announced a 2nd opportunity to provide comments on the same EA. We now have until February 25th to send our comments to the Forest Service.
Unfortunately, the Forest Service is releasing the same preliminary EA that they issued the first time. It is still very unfriendly to the motorized recreation that has historically been taking place on the Camino Real District:
Alternative 1 - This is a slightly modified version of the original proposed action. It closes eliminates public access to thirty-two miles of the existing 350 miles of FS systems roads, removes dispersed camping from 16 miles of existing 156 miles of road corridors, and limits motorized big game retrieval to less than 10,000 acres. It also imposes an expanded seasonal motorized restriction on ALL roads and trails from Jan 1 through April 30.
Alternative 2 - This is the "out with motors" alternative. It eliminates public motorized travel on 144 miles (almost half) of existing FS system roads, removes ALL (yes, 100%!) dispersed vehicle camping along roads and trails and completely eliminates motorized big game retrieval on the entire District! Alternative 2 also imposes an expanded seasonal motorized restriction on ALL roads and trails from Jan 1 through April 30.
Alternative 3 - This alternative leaves motorized public access on all existing FS system roads and preserves dispersed vehicle camping and motorized big game retreival on 156 miles of existing road corridors. It makes no changes to the existing seasonal restrictions.
As we described in the past Access Alert, both Alternative 1 and Alternative 3 might not look too bad at first glance. However, the devil is in the details and the devil is very wicked in this EA.Devilish Detail #1
: None of the alternatives provide any areas for observed trials motorcycle riding. The resort at Sipapu is the center of observed trials activity. The New Mexico Trials Association (NMTA) is hosting a round of the national observed trials competition at Sipapu this summer. While the agency states that they intend to continue to consider special event permits, they are providing NO areas where trials riders can practice or just go play. For many years, the trials riders have practiced in the rough, rugged terrain in the Forest's "open areas" across the highway from the resort. No more! None of the alternatives provide for any of this historic use. NMTA identified this practice area in the scoping comments. The Forest is refusing to even consider it because they are refusing to add anything "new" to the designations.Devilish Detail #2:
All of the alternatives limit motorized trail use to only 67.5 miles of previously designated trails. If the trail isn't already officially "designated" for motorized use, the Forest Service is going to close it to motorized use without analysis or consideration. Many of these trails have been used by OHV's, with Forest Service knowledge, since the designations were originally made.Devilish Detail #3:
The Forest Service also completely refuses to even consider designating any existing non-system routes (the agency calls them "unauthorized"). So how many miles of existing motorized routes are we losing? The Forest Service refuses to even tell us because it has refused to admit that they have been letting people ride these non-system trails for the past 25 years.
Travel Management Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Camino Real Ranger District of the Carson National Forest is still available on the Carson National Forest's NEPA page.With the 2nd chance to comment, the public now has until February 25th to comment on the EA by submitting letters or emails. Individuals providing comment during either of the comment periods (December 13, 2012 through Jan 12th, 2013 or January 24, 2013 to February 25) will be eligible to appeal the final decision. The decision will still result in the publication of a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM). After the MVUM has been released, ALL motorized travel off the designated system will be prohibited.
Travel Management Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Camino Real Ranger District of the Carson National Forest is still available on the Carson National Forest's NEPA page. The full text of the document and maps of the travel routes for the alternatives is available here... http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001qVWqcLUTqB8WdemSIFYkw1JkUUObuhleUqzWg-ucoOiQl95kKPKYBwND2HlvN_I8gKOt020kfeYlJbmX5Apb70KQWAfgRWOECHFoEutA1aUhiR-Uy_cuhXdI-uMPVfon6_yj5dCM9XTRUQHGbStEYb5Zm4SnIufEe23ek9ORxps=
The maps on the individual links are much higher quality than the maps included in the EA document itself.
Comments on the draft EA can be submitted by postal mail, email, and fax. Detailed instructions and contact information is included in the cover letter that is posted here.....http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001qVWqcLUTqB_8e9WIHmFlzg1pEhU6FMphgaWJh-R9c09DPl-M2CD5qM03Lbs73yi3JgbcqySAjgvyrSoPcl063iKidAWcEqBj2CfiWsA2hZGIaJut6UNZ8wwM0qwqAVL16IFXYUoRCI2QVx8xbdSVIYbiFPIjfZcg95A7dzjKi9J1hynDr-AC3eFNrdJ4y69At7-p6Ev76d4sLEK581wn2YtDSAeVvGI1fYQ2_GFB92jVup1odajG_3H6K_9c6PiF
For further information, please contact the Jack Carpenter (firstname.lastname@example.org
) or Kathryn Furr (email@example.com
) at the Forest Supervisor's office. The office phone number is (575) 758-6200.Didn't have time to comment the first time around? Don't waste this exceedingly rare 2nd chance. Did you comment the first time around but find more errors or think of more you need to say? As we said, the devil is in the details.