The Cibola National Forest has released the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for Travel Management for the Magdalena Ranger District. This is the LAST remaining Ranger District in the state to release the NEPA document for Travel Management.
The official notification of the 30-day public comment period was published in the Albuquerque Journal today (Nov 22). The deadline for comments submission is midnight Monday, December 23rd
(since the 30th day falls on the weekend).
Written comments must be submitted via mail, fax, or in person to: Forest Supervisor Elaine Kohrman, Attn: Magdalena Travel Management Project, 2113 Osuna NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113, 505-346-3901(FAX). Comments may be mailed electronically to:firstname.lastname@example.org
We have done a preliminary review of the four alternatives. Here is a very quick overview:
Alternative 1 - This is almost identical to the proposed action the Forest Service released back in July of 2010 with a few minor corrections. It would close 378 miles of existing roads to the motorized public. It would designate 850.8 miles of roads for motor vehicle use; would allow motorized dispersed camping in a 600 foot corridor along only 374 miles of specified roads, and would prohibit going off designated roads to retrieve big game.
Alternative 2 - This alternative would keep ALL 1,171 miles of existing roads open for motorized use. Dispersed camping would only be allowed within one vehicle length of the roads and the public would be prohibited from going off designated roads to retrieve big game.
Alternative 3 - This alternative would close 367 miles of existing road and leave 876 miles of roads open to motorized use. It would add a 756 acre area designated for a motorized recreation area and allow motorized game retrieval within a 0.5 mile corridor along 342 miles of road.
Alternative 4 - This alternative would close 477 miles of existing roads to the motorized public, leaving only 746 miles open for motorized use, restrict dispersed camping to a 600 foot corridor along only 321 miles of road, and would prohibit motorized game retrieval except via system roads.
As you can see, each of the four alternatives severely restricts current use. The best decision would be to combine certain pieces of alternatives 2 (all the roads remain) and 3 (adding some key "unauthorized" roads, acquiring more public easements for access, big game retrieval). Remember, the Forest Supervisor is allowed to "mix and match" pieces from different alternatives to create a final decision.
Two more important item to note: 1. The Forest Service claims that ALL of the existing roads selected for closure in the alternatives didn't have any of the public claiming to use them. Please check the maps and make sure your comments describe your existing use of any roads that are slated for closure! 2. There is not a single mile of ATV or single track trail acknowledged on the whole district. Make sure your comments identify any trails you want to be able to ride.
Start writing your comments today and give the Forest Service a very merry holiday! The roads you save are your own!http://nmohva.org/main/about.php