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Old 04-05-2010, 05:27 PM
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Location: Bend Oregon
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Default planning rule 2010

my letter and my input for April 6th meeting

letterhead and etc...

April 6, 2010

United States Forest Service-Pacific Northwest Region

Attention: Forest Service Planning Rule

Dear Managers of our Public Lands,

We applaud the Forest Service’s attempts and efforts as they try to follow directives from Washington DC and incorporate management of our natural resources into these efforts. Collaboration in developing a new Planning Rule to manage 193 million acres of the public’s holdings will be a monumental task. Special interest groups are more often than not well funded, well armed and well prepared and therefore receive the most attention, a perfect example of “the squeaky wheel getting the most grease.”

The United States Forest Service is just now finishing up on a “Travel Management Plan” that was a collaborative exercise as this new plan proposes. The “Travel Management Plan” was used by special interest groups to close many areas of recreation to the public that utilized their historic camps, trails and areas.

The Travel Management Plan summary states the objective: designating trails, roads and ways for all classes of vehicles, to eliminate “cross country travel”. The special interest anti access groups utilized the collaborative system to force closures of trails, roads and ways. Closing areas where no resource damage had occurred. Class II vehicles, the 4x4’s were completely overlooked. Old jeep trails were obliterated which had been used for decades by families for recreations of all types.

Collaboration is not effective when bullies with agendas contrary to the good of the whole carry larger weapons and larger coffers.
"Our National Forests and Grasslands are great natural treasures that we must conserve and restore for the benefit of future generations," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Developing a new planning rule provides the opportunity to manage national forests and grasslands for the benefit of water resources, the climate and local communities." Local communities are made of a wide variety of individuals and families. These families and individuals cannot hire attorneys to keep their favorite trails and camping spots open. The US National Forest Service did a great disservice to many by allowing closures of their historic trails in the Travel Management Planning Sessions of late.

The US Forest Service’s collaborative input statement reflects the by-words public input and public comment. Of late the USFS “does” as whatever special interest group’s litigation threatens. The recent Travel Management Plans were highly ineffective with their “Public Meetings” and “Public Comments”. Meetings held during the comment periods were scheduled during work hours and publicized by the USFS ineffectively. The public did not understand the implications, the overall effect or magnitude their comments may or may not have influenced to the managers of their forests. The USFS must facilitate effective information dissemination to effect fair public anything. The USFS fell short and neglectful in the recent Travel Management Planning concerning the public’s wishes. When decisions were made in favor of Class II vehicles anti-access groups quickly threatened legal actions and forest managers readily rethought their decisions.

The US FS “could” list of principles and process is misleading and in-genuine to “the public”. In truth the USFS “could” utilize much of the public in restoration, conservation, and monitoring, maintaining and the general health of all forests. The USFS is a failure at education, information sharing/gathering, implementation of facts and truths of the forests they are stewards of. The rural public cares for its forests; the rural public knows its forests. The USFS has never published adequate mapping, adequate resource concerns or even adequate historical and biological facts on any of its forests. When a family entered a forest they were exploring, the roads marked are often mismarked. The United States’ forests are a foot print of an historic record yet as you traverse the trails there are rarely any kiosks or explanations of the forests’ history recorded. Let alone the individual forests health or well being.

The USFS “should” involve the public. Education of the truths on all aspects, forest fires kill healthy forests and its habitats. Healthy forests are not what “old growth” proponents proclaim. Old trees are dying trees and should be removed for the younger and healthier trees to survive and flourish the forest. Trail density may be an issue but a total roadless area inhibits forest health also as fire suppression etc… is curtailed. Forests become infested with harmful insects, noxious weeds and over run with dangerous levels of flammable fuels from lack of care. Preventive health care of forests may mean utilizing herbicides, brush thinning or insecticides.
Climate change is not an exact science. Climate change effects are as old as the world. Climate change has been a constant since the world’s inception, creation or when the world came into existence, however you believe it happened. The USFS reaction and especially over reaction to any change in the forests climate should be from experience not special interest group consensus. Reacting to a public’s fears on climate change dramatically exhibits the USFS’s own “Faith Based Religion”.

“Sustainable” means to create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans. Executive Order 13423—Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management. January 26, 2007. The above statement is a lofty goal, I feel the USFS has failed in its recent “Plan” stopping cross country travel. The agency allowed itself to be used by special interest groups to curtail the harmony mentioned. I fear this present “Plan” an extension of the later. Forests unmanaged by designation into Wilderness or forests left to rot and not harvested after forest fire upon forest fire is not a harmonious picture, but devastation, a travesty of neglect.

USFS publication: Montreal Process Criteria for the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests
1) Conservation of biological diversity
2) Maintenance of productive capacity of forest ecosystems
3) Maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality
4) Conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources
5) Maintenance of forest contribution to global carbon cycles
6) Maintenance and enhancement of long-term multiple socio-economic benefits to meet the needs of societies
7) Legal, policy, and institutional framework
Our actions in the coming five years—to help define the paths forward for adapting forests to climate changes and using them to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions; to help shape the role of forest biomass in offsetting increased use petroleum; and to help stem the loss of forests and the ecosystem services they provide—have the potential to shape for future generations the forests they will have to manage, conserve, protect, and use. Will future foresters and citizens 130 years from now be able to look back at this point in time and say, well done! Will forest historians and policy makers then be able to point to actions taken now as turning points in the sustainable management of the Nation’s forests? We hope so. But it will take brisk action from all of us.

Historically the forests have been utilized by the civilization of the era. Will my children be permitted use of the forests as I have? Sightseeing from touring vehicles, hunting and fishing, gathering fire wood? Closing gates to the forest’s entrance and claiming management is but an offensive exclusivist action. Managing forests will require much of the stewards who claim the responsibly, partnership in education, policing and maintenance. Litigation should not be the winner.

Forest Service Planning must embrace motorized vehicle travel fairly. Since wheels had motors attached the public has accessed the forest’s boundaries. The USFS has not designated trails for 4x4 travel adequately. The USFS must understand and incorporate motorized recreation in each venue and arena of the forest. Do not assess an environmental issue without including motorized recreation. The forest’s sustainability, rehabilitation, and health stems on the utilization factor of the public. Education prevents most resource damage. Rehabilitation and education will sustain the public’s right to motorized recreation throughout the nation’s forests. Do not be negligent in this “new plan”. Address motorized recreation the fastest growing sport. If you do not embrace the issue of 4x4 travel and designate areas and trails for the public, by default the public will.

Sincerely,

Mona Drake
__________________
Mona Drake


Deschutes County 4 Wheeler
(Trails Development Committee)
Harney County High Desert Wheeler
Region 6 PNW4WDA Secretary
South East Oregon Resource Advisory Council
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