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Grumpy 04-18-2012 03:49 PM

W-W National Forest Pulls TMP
OREGON- Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Land Use Update
Forest Supervisor Withdraws Travel Plan Decision

Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,

Since the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest released its travel management decision, there has been huge public outrage over the amount of road and trail closures. Indeed, over 800 people showed up in opposition to the travel plan at a recent public meeting organized by a group called Forest Access for All.

In a letter to the editor, Wallowa-Whitman Forest Supervisor Monica J. Schwalbach announced the withdrawal of the travel management decision. Please read Supervisor Schwalbach's announcement here:

Forest Supervisor Stops the Clock on Wallowa-Whitman Travel Management Plan

While this is certainly good news, many local OHV enthusiasts are assuming the agency will "start over" and begin the travel planning process anew. We want to caution our members and supporters that such a "re-do" is highly unlikely. It is far more likely the agency will simply wait until the outrage subsides and make only minor changes to the plan.

BRC strongly recommends local OHV enthusiasts identify the most glaring flaws in the plan and submit their proposed changes both to the District Ranger offices and the counties. General comments such as "keep existing routes open" or "start the planning process over" probably won't be effective. Instead, identify the roads and trails that were proposed for closure, and make the case that they be open. Be specific as possible.

BRC will be blasting an update as soon as we learn more. Thanks to everyone who have been involved. As we often say... stay tuned!

As always, please call or email if you have any questions or comments.

Ric Foster
Public Lands Department Manager
BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext 107

jim putman 04-18-2012 04:20 PM

Thanks Dave. Its good to see that when it hits the fan citizen involvement can make a differance. Just as he states though we have to be diligent and stay with these things.

Art Waugh 04-18-2012 05:16 PM

She should be at our RAC meeting in Baker City on the 17th of May. Will hammer her on more class II (4x4) routes since they might modify the decision, but Ric is about right, I doubt you will see many changes. Hammer W/W with more input and desires while we have the chance.

Grumpy 04-21-2012 04:47 PM

Wallowa-Whitman Travel Plan Yanked

Created by Sarah Peters on April 20, 2012

This past week has been quite the ride for the folks who work on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. The forest supervisor, in a surprise move, pulled her decision to implement a travel plan that wasn't perfect, by any stretch, but that had gone through seven years of public involvement. This included multiple open meetings, several opportunities to submit written comments, and countless hours of Forest Service staff time and money. This decision was apparently in response to rampant misinformation about the effects of the plan that resulted in heavy pressure from local residents, county commissioners, and some members of Oregon's congressional delegation.

Our friends at Hells Canyon Preservation Council had a great editorial published in the Oregonian, right before the decision was withdrawn, that attempted to diffuse some of the misinformation that was madly swirling around about the plan, to no avail. Another editorial, published Wednesday in the Wallowa County Chieftain, provides another view of the benefits of the travel plan.

With its decision to withdraw the travel plan made, the Forest Service will now hopefully take the opportunity to address some of the problems that all sides saw with the final plan, while not stepping back from sound resource management of the forest for both present and future generations.

(From WildlandsCPR Blog)

Art Waugh 04-23-2012 07:47 AM

Those 2 groups want it all closed, and one of the Hells Canyon group addressed the RAC on Malhaur's TMP wanting more closures.

Grumpy 04-24-2012 10:04 AM

For Immediate Release, April 20, 2012

Contact: Cyndi Tuell, (520) 444-6603

Center for Biological Diversity Statement on Forest Service Withdrawal of
Off-road Vehicle Decision in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore.— Facing political pressure from Oregon’s congressional delegation, off-road vehicle users and a misinformation campaign, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Supervisor Monica Schwalbach this week retracted a “travel-management plan” that provided much-needed limits on off-road vehicle use to protect wildlife habitat and watersheds.

The travel plan was approved in March after 13 public meetings, more than 4,000 public comments and a detailed six-year environmental review.

Cyndi Tuell of the Center for Biological Diversity issued the following statement in response to the withdrawal:

“By withdrawing this decision, the Forest Service has subverted the law, silenced the public, ignored its own environmental review and wasted countless tax dollars. The Forest Service has shown that it will sooner protect special interests rather than the public’s national forest lands, turning the travel-planning process into travel pandering.

“Local organizations, recreation interests and residents supported this decision; those left in opposition would still have had the opportunity to administratively appeal the decision on its merits. Instead, the forest supervisor chose to abandon procedure, cave to political pressure and effectively discard years of work and waste taxpayer dollars.

“The Forest Service’s decision to retract this travel-management plan delays protections for wildlife, watersheds and quiet recreation that the plan promised. It’s disheartening that Forest Service officials won’t stand on the side of science, fair public process and the laws that protect our national forests.

“The Center calls upon the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest to immediately issue a ban on cross-country motorized travel until the travel-management planning process is finished.”


Grumpy 04-24-2012 10:05 AM

Now we have the baddest of the bad checking in:dog:

Art Waugh 04-24-2012 11:43 AM

Unless they take a look at the ML-1 roads that have been closed since the early 90's, nothing will change much when it comes back. They might do a little something on game retrieval and wood cutting distance from open routes, but not much more.

They will not revisit any routes closed before they started the TMP. They will absolutely not open that can of snakes because of all the other completed TMP's.

If we hammer them hard right now we might get some Class II (4x4) routes. They wee looking at a few miles on the south end at the crest of the Blues west of Unity. Don't know if they got included in the final or not.

Grumpy 04-27-2012 10:43 AM

OREGON-Wallowa-Whitman NF Land Use Update - What Happens Next?

Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,

Last week BRC let you about the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest supervisor's announcement to withdraw their travel management plan decision. (See previous alert) The forest has now issued their "Path Forward" document on the Forest's travel plan which lays out what happens now.

BRC will continue to work with local groups and individuals and keep you updated as this process continues. Thanks to everyone who has been involved.

As always, please call or email if you have any questions or comments.

Ric Foster
Public Lands Department Manager
BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext 107

Art Waugh 08-22-2012 04:30 PM

Saw a news release the other day. Effective this past Monday Kevin Martin (Umatilla Forest Supervisor) will be the interium Supervisor on the W/W. Monica has been assigned to the Research Station. When a new Supervisor is named Kevin will return to the Umatilla.

Don't look for any major changes in what they put out before, my feeling is it will remain mostly unchanged. That was the between the lines take on the briefing we got in May just as it was being pulled.

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