Tellico Up Date

Discussion in 'TN- STLCA' started by DSLTOY, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. DSLTOY

    DSLTOY SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,093
    Location:
    Manchester.TN
    The Fotert Service has announced they will release the EA on Friday Feb.27. The have set up a meeting with the intrested party
    representatives on Friday morning in Murphy NC, I and several members of the SFWDA Rescue Tellico Committee will attend. The FS plans to discuss their preferred alternative and their plans for the OHV area until a final decision is made.

    Late last year SFWDA contracted a private Environmental Engineering firm to do a study of Tellico and the trails. They did both scientific studies to check water quality , habitat and engineering studies to propose the required repairs to the trails. Their data shows that the streams are in good condition and they believe all the trails are repairable, We will present this report the FS on Friday and incorporate the findings in our response to the EA. The report will be available on the SFWDA website on Wednesday.

    Once we have reviewed the report and decide on our best response we will be asking all of you to send letters the the FS.
  2. chattfj40

    chattfj40

    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    I assume you're headed over thursday?
  3. DSLTOY

    DSLTOY SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,093
    Location:
    Manchester.TN
    No, the meeting is in Murphy so I'll go over Friday morning and come back Friday evening, need to work in shop this weekend.
  4. chattfj40

    chattfj40

    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Here's the study that SFWDA association commissioned on Tellico. It was release to the pubic today. Please take a few minutes to look it over. Its pretty in-depth and not a quick read, but there is an executive summary that begins on page 6.

    Tellico Study
  5. chattfj40

    chattfj40

    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions
    responsible use of public lands and waters, and encourages individual
    environmental stewardship. It represents of 10,000 individual, business,
    and organizational members for a combined total of over 600,000
    recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742 BlueRibbon Coalition: Preserving your recreational access to public lands.


    BRC Critical Action Alert -- THEY WANT TO CLOSE TELLICO!

    You MUST take action to save Tellico NOW!

    Today the Southern Four Wheel Drive Association (SFWDA) met with the USDA
    Forest Service (USFS) and heard a presentation on what will be in their
    Environmental Assessment (EA). While they have 7 alternatives that they are
    considering, their preferred alternative is to CLOSE TELLICO. While we know
    that this is completely unacceptable and will cause immediate and intense
    emotional reaction, we are asking that everyone maintain a level head and
    concentrate on what our task is now.

    STEP 1: The USFS Forest Supervisor issued a TEMPORARY CLOSURE ORDER that
    will keep Tellico closed until they decide what the fate of the area will
    be. This means that TELLICO WILL NOT REOPEN ON APRIL 1ST! Please read the
    order here:
    http://www.cs.unca.edu/nfsnc/nepa/tusquitee/tellico/temporary_closure.pdf
    and provide comments to the temporary closure. Be sure to talk about all
    the plans you have to use the area and all the events that are already
    scheduled and that you have paid to attend. We MUST NOT LET THIS HAPPEN!

    STEP 2: We must, at all costs, provide as many SUBSTANTIVE comments about
    the EA as humanly possible. And we are ready. SFWDA requests that you
    download the study that we commissioned
    (Recommended Trail System Repair and Maintenance Plan Upper Tellico OHV System ) and that you download the
    USFS EA which is posted here
    (Upper Tellico OHV Area ) and that
    you compare the two side by side and start making comments. Our study will
    give you the data that you need to make comments about the surveys that have
    been done, the lack of maintenance they USFS has completed, the science, the
    engineering, the economics, EVERYTHING.

    We will work to have a letter generator up, but honestly, we need for you to
    take pencil to paper and think this through. Copy this announcement and
    send it to your friends, family, and everyone you know.

    STEP 3: The other thing we need, and you know what it coming, is money. In
    this tough economic time, it's hard to find a few dollars to support a
    cause, but if you enjoy the Tellico area, or even the dying sport of OHV and
    4X4 recreation, please consider a donation to Rescue Tellico so that we may
    continue to fight for Tellico.
    Rescue Tellico Fund

    STEP 4: In an effort to show that we will not accept these actions,
    Crawford's Campground is committing to continue on with the plans for Spring
    Fling on April 4th. Please consider attending and showing your support and
    helping to raise money for Rescue Tellico.

    So you know, SFWDA is working very closely with United Four Wheel Drive
    Associations (UFWDA) and the BlueRibbon Coalition to review these documents.
    BE ASSURED that the lawyers will be reviewing all of these documents in
    detail and that we are all ready to take whatever action is warranted to
    further the fight to KEEP TELLICO OPEN!

    Thanks you for your help,

    SFWDA, UFWDA, and BRC
  6. DSLTOY

    DSLTOY SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,093
    Location:
    Manchester.TN
    February 27, 2009

    TO: All Southern Four Wheel Drive Members and Supporters.

    FROM: Gary Parsons, President Southern Four Wheel Drive Association

    Today the USDA Forest Service released the Environmental Assessment concerning the Upper Tellico Off-Highway Vehicle Area and are seeking comments on the actual Environmental Assessment and a temporary closure of the area effective April 1st, 2009 for resource protection.

    The actual communication from the forest service is as follows:



    An Environmental Assessment (EA) for the long-term management of the Upper Tellico OHV System. You may download a copy of the EA and related graphics at http://www.cs.unca.edu/nfsnc/tellico. If you would like to receive a paper copy of the EA, please e-mail your request to: comments-southern-north-carolina@fs.fed.us or call (828) 257-4817, and one will be mailed to you. For questions concerning the project or the EA contact Candace Wyman, Project Coordinator, at 828-257-4816.

    2. A temporary closure of the Upper Tellico OHV System for resource protection, effective April 1, 2009. This closure would prohibit possession or use of a motorized vehicle on a road or trail within the Upper Tellico OHV System, with the exception of highway-legal vehicles on 420-1 and certain other exceptions described in the closure order until a final project decision is implemented.

    As you know Southern Four Wheel Drive Association, United Four Wheel Drive Associations, and Blue Ribbon Coalition have spearheaded the Rescue Tellico effort and with your help as members have led the fight to keep the area open.

    A joint announcement concerning the EA is in the process of being released for all three organizations, SFWDA, United and BRC but as president of Southern I wanted you to hear a message from me letting you know that while the news we received today is not want we wanted to hear, this is not the end. We are still in this fight!.

    But we must do it with cool heads and not let our emotions take over.
    Comments made to the forest service must be constructive in nature and relevant to the Environmental Assessment and the proposed April 1st temporary closure.

    The contact information for the forest service for you to receive a copy of the EA is listed above but as taken from the forest service communication the alternatives being proposed are as follows:

    The following is a brief description of the alternatives analyzed in detail in the EA. Please refer to the EA, Chapters 2 and 3, for more information about each alternative.

    Alternative A is the “no action” alternative that reflects the existing trail system with 2007 management and funding levels.
    Alternative B is the “proposed action” that was released in June 2008 for public comment. It was developed to address the problems initially identified in trail condition surveys conducted in 2007-2008.
    Alternative C closes the OHV System, but maintains over 10 miles of existing Forest system roads in the area, open year-round or seasonally, to provide for public highway-legal vehicle access for hunting, fishing and other recreation uses. It was developed in response to public concerns that the proposed action (Alternative B) did not go far enough in eliminating trails on sensitive soils and trails near water.
    Alternative D was developed in response to public concerns that the OHV Trail System should meet current trail density and challenge level standards, and not require a Forest Plan amendment.
    Alternative E was developed in response to public concerns that the proposed action (Alternative B) would eliminate too many high challenge OHV experiences.
    Alternative F was developed in response to public concerns that the proposed action (Alternative B) would eliminate too many OHV trail miles.


    The forest service claims that the OHV area has extensive damage and contributes to unacceptable levels of sediment into the Tellico River. The Rescue Tellico's own independent scientific study reveals that these claims are not true and the OHV area is not, I repeat, not having adverse effect on the Tellico River. See Southern 4WD Association for that study. So the fight is on. We are gearing up to resume the lawsuit, but we must get through the comment period first, then see what the Forest Service concerning the area is. In other words we have to do it the right way.

    We have 30 days from today February to get our comments in.

    I cannot stress enough the need for your commenting to the forest service on these issues. We have said all along that it would be a tough fight but the continuance of being to enjoy Upper Tellico is more at risk that ever.

    The first quarter meeting is Saturday March 7th at Golden Mountain near Sparta, TN. Details are on the web site. Please make your plans to attend. We will have more information on how to comment at the meeting.

    We are disappointed in the forest services actions. But as I have already said, we are still in this fight! We are not giving up, we are not going away! We need your support but again, we must leave the emotion out and do it in the right manner.

    My boss always tell me "if it was easy anyone could do it". Well it is not easy but Southern Four Wheel Drive Association, United Four Wheel Drive Associations, and Blue Ribbon Coalition in this for the long haul!

    Once again, I thank all of you for supporting Southern and the Rescue Tellico effort. SEE YOU AT GOLDEN MOUNTAIN

    Gary
  7. DSLTOY

    DSLTOY SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,093
    Location:
    Manchester.TN
    We need everyone to contact their Congressman and Senators this week.

    The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), Southern Four Wheel Drive
    Association (SFWDA), and the United Four Wheel Drive Associations
    (UFWDA) have teamed up to fight this and we are working as
    aggressively as we can to get you the right information. We have
    spent the last week "scrubbing" through the draft EA and developing a
    plan and now WE NEED YOUR HELP AND HERE IS HOW YOU CAN BE MOST
    HELPFUL:

    STEP 1: The week of March 9th, THIS WEEK, we need you to call,
    write or, even better, visit your congressman, senator, state and
    local representatives. They need to know you feel angry, hurt and
    betrayed by the Forest Service. They need to know that the Forest
    Service is going to affect jobs and the economy in this difficult
    time. They need to know the real science and that the water is not
    bad. See for talking points. Feel free to
    copy and paste the letter, but be sure to personalize it with a short
    paragraph on why Tellico is important-what it represents to the OHV
    community and to you. Help your representatives understand how
    important Tellico is.


    STEP 2: Beginning the week of March 16th, BRC, SFWDA, and UFWDA
    will have a letter generator up with comments you can make to the
    Forest Service about the EA. If you have already made comments, make
    some more. Each time you find out some new information, send it to
    the Forest Service. We need letters. We are currently refining our
    comment bullet points and will send out and post more information to
    help with your letters as we complete that process. But don't let
    that stop you from doing background preparation and comments
    yourself. WE NEED to have as much enthusiast involvement as we
    possibly can muster from the OHV community.

    BRC and UFWDA will be following through for us in Washington DC,
    working from the top down. They will meet with the Forest Service as
    well as other national organizations and some of those friendly
    representatives.

    Please read the Forest Service documents on their website at:
    Upper Tellico OHV Area [2]

    Then take the time to review the independent scientific study SFWDA
    had commissioned at: Recommended Trail System Repair and Maintenance Plan Upper Tellico OHV System
    [3].

    If you see anything in the EA or Caliper report, or you have
    information that you want to make sure we don't overlook, please
    notify Heather Royston at Heather.Royston@sfwda.org

    We each need to do our part to RESCUE TELLICO and YOUR INVOLVEMENT
    IS CRITICAL!

    A SAMPLE LETTER TO SEND TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVE CAN BE FOUND HERE FOR
    COPY AND PASTE. OR THERE ARE GENERAL TALKING POINTS TO USE BELOW...
    You can find out your representatives' contact information and where
    to send your letter or email to by visiting the BRC Rapid Response
    Center at Rapid Response Center - BlueRibbon Coalition [5]and simply
    typing in your zip code.

    Upper Tellico OHV Area
    Proposed Closure Order
    TALKING POINTS
    *Congressional attention to this problem cannot wait.
    *The USFS has issued a proposed temporary closure notice
    prohibiting all use of the Upper Tellico OHV system effective April
    1, 2009.
    *REPAIRING THE AREA IS THE BEST SOLUTION:
    o OHV enthusiasts spend 4 times more money on lodging, food, and
    gas than other outdoor sportsmen
    o $4.8 million annually in tourism revenues by OHV users
    o Repairing contributes $1.5 - $2.6 million in OHV revenue
    annually
    o Repairing would create more than $1.4 million in local jobs
    o Nearby streams are currently healthy
    o Nearby streams have excellent water quality per North Carolina
    standards
    o Nearby streams are capable of sustaining viable, reproducing
    native trout populations
    o Nearby stream channels are very stable
    o Nearby stream channels convey stream flows without streambed
    erosion
    o The trails are repairable and very much maintainable/sustainable
    after repair
    *CLOSURE IS A BAD SOLUTION:
    o Closure creates ZERO OHV tourism revenue
    o Degradation of water quality and degradation of aquatic habitat
    in Upper Tellico is non-existent
    o Historic clear-cutting of land in Upper Tellico has contributed
    more to the off-site sediment transport than the trail system
    o Closure of trails is neither warranted nor recommended by USFS
    trails experts!
    Get BRC's Latest News & Alerts via RSS!
    BlueRibbon Coalition News and Alerts [6]
    To be removed from further mailings from our list, please click the
    unsubscribe [7] link

    Links:
    ------
    [2] Upper Tellico OHV Area
    [3] Recommended Trail System Repair and Maintenance Plan Upper Tellico OHV System
    [5] Rapid Response Center - BlueRibbon Coalition
    [6] BlueRibbon Coalition News and Alerts
  8. DSLTOY

    DSLTOY SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,093
    Location:
    Manchester.TN
    I have sent a 2 page e-mail to Senators Alexander and Corker and to my congressman, what have you all done. If the answer is nothin then get off your sorry butts and get to communicating with our elected officals. This is our best chance to keep Tellico and other areas open.
  9. BillRiley

    BillRiley

    Messages:
    349
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    I had an after hours meeting tonight with Alexander's staff.
  10. DSLTOY

    DSLTOY SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,093
    Location:
    Manchester.TN
    Well done Todd, the rest of you we need calls or e-mails.
  11. Goode

    Goode

    Messages:
    961
    Location:
    Knoxville
    My letters/emails have been sent to the following...

    Sen. Lamar Alexander
    Sen. Bob Corker
    Sen. Jamie Woodson
    Sen. Tim Burchett
    Rep. John Duncan
    Rep. Harry Tindell
    Rep. Joe Armstrong

    Recently I have learned that I am the 3rd generation of my dad's family to experience Tellico. The 4th generation is sitting in daycare right now, waiting for his turn to experience this great place. I may not have exp. it with my dad or his dad. But I thank God I found it on my own with my friends. And have made many more friends over the years while camping and Cruising Tellico and attending the Great Smokey Mountain Trail Ride. We can't let it end here. We can't let it end now.

    Please help. Send letters, emails, phone calls. The facts are layed out for us to use. All we have to do is act.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2009

  12. DSLTOY

    DSLTOY SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,093
    Location:
    Manchester.TN
    Good job Andy, spread the word. I have wheeled and worked on the trails with my son and my Grand Daughter has ridden most of the trails in a car seat and I hope when she is old enough we can have 3 generations wheeling together.
  13. JBC0217

    JBC0217

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    I am almost finished with my letter to the FS and will be sending in the morning. I will follow that up with Corker, Wamp and Alexander. Anyone else I should add to my list?
  14. LDowney

    LDowney

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Kennesaw, GA
    Roger,
    I sent my comments to the FS sometime back, but just finished my letters to
    Secretary Vilsack (Sec of Ag which the FS reports to)
    Sen Chanbliss
    Sen Isakson
    Rep Gingrey

    If I was a better writer, my letters might have passed review by my editor sooner but so be it.
  15. DSLTOY

    DSLTOY SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,093
    Location:
    Manchester.TN
    Jay Bird is the Rescue Tellico Committee Chairman

    Mr. Bird goes to Washington



    On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I meet up with Greg Mumm Executive Director of the Blue Ribbon Coalition to go to Washington DC and talk to some of our elected officials.



    Our first meeting was with Perrin Cooke, the Legislative Assistant to Senator Key Hagan from North Carolina. The meeting went well. They were engaged and had heard from many people about the issue. We went over the economics and the alternate science and gave them a copy of the Caliper report.



    Next we went to Representative Tom Price’s Office of Georgia. He is my representative. We met with Legislative Correspondent Courtney Austin. Again she was aware of the issue. They had received calls and letters from many people. We gave them the Caliper reports and asked for help to keep the area open.



    We then meet up with Brian Duggan. He is the Director, Congressional Affairs for SEMA. We went with him to Senator John Testers Office of Montana and met with Jason Rosenburg. This was more a SEMA call on another matter than a Tellico call but we did share our plight.



    Our last meeting that day was with the Forest Service. We gave them a copy of the Caliper Report. We talked about the process and let them know why we were in town. Meeting with our congressional leaders to see what we could do to keep Tellico open.



    Tuesday we were up bright an early for a meeting with Margaret Brooks of Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina’s Office. Again we spent time going over the economics and gave them the report. They are engaged and have been hearing from folks.



    We had some time before our next meeting and we were not able to schedule a meeting with Rep Duncan’s office from Tennessee. So we decided to just drop by. They still were not able to see us but we did drop a copy of the Caliper report off for them.



    We meet back up with Brian from SEMA and we went to visit Representative Heath Shuler’s office. This meeting was the main reason we were in DC. They had called and asked to meet with us. Unfortunately, the person we were to meet had a death in the family, so Ryan Fitzpatrick, Legislative Assistant met with us. He told us that he personally called Marisue Hilliard, Forest Supervisor, and gave her a copy of the Caliper report and asked her for a report on the difference between the science from the EA and the Caliper report. We talked about the economics and solutions. Tellico being in Rep Shuler’s district, they are taking a very keen interest.



    All in all, I think it was a trip well worth it. The office got a visit and not just Letters and Phone calls. They have the report in hand.



    On a side note, don’t every let Greg Mumm pick the hotel. When you have to check in and pass money though a 3 inch bullet proof glass you know what kind of place we are staying at. Brian Duggan from SEMA was a great help. I had never done this kind of thing before and he had good tips. He also volunteered to follow up with anything we might need.



    We have got about a week left. Get those comments in to the Forest Service. Continue to write or call your representatives. We are working the process and we need your help to make sure people hear our voice.



    Keep writing and calling and see below for a message from Gary Parsons.



    Jay Bird



    To all Southern Four Wheel Drive Association Members and Supporters:

    Thanks to all of you for your support as we continue our efforts to keep the Upper Tellico OHV Area open. The letters and calls to our elected officials are having a positive effect as you can see from the information from Jay. We must not let the pressure up however. Use the letter generators or write your own letters to the Forest Service to voice your comments. Remember, they are looking for substantive comments but any comment opposing the proposed April 1st closure and on the Environmental Assessment is a comment they would not have had if not sent. Also, continue your calls to your congressmen and representatives. Even though they have heard the message and are responding, it still needs to be ringing loud and clear in front of them.

    Gary Parsons
    President
    Southern Four Wheel Drive Association
  16. JBC0217

    JBC0217

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    I have a question. If the FS goes ahead with plans to keep Tellico closed after the comment period has expired......What is the next step?
  17. DSLTOY

    DSLTOY SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,093
    Location:
    Manchester.TN
    After the comment period the FS will consider the comments then in a month or more they will issue their decision, then we have 45 days to appeal the decision in the FS system then the decision becomes final and if we disagree with the final decision we file suit in Federal court which can take several years to get a ruling.

    The more immediate issue is if the FS continues with the plan they announced and do a temporary closure starting 1 April until a final decision is made then we will be in court requesting a court order to keep thew area open until a final decision is made.
  18. JBC0217

    JBC0217

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Is Southern already working on getting an order or do you have to wait and see what the FS will do first?
  19. chattfj40

    chattfj40

    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    yes :D
  20. JBC0217

    JBC0217

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Great!!

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