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New Mexico Off-Highway Access Issues

Discussion in 'NM- High Desert Cruisers' started by 2manycruisers, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. 2manycruisers

    2manycruisers

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    -----Original Message-----
    From: Lawrence M Lujan [mailto:lmlujan@fs.fed.us]On Behalf Of Santa Fe
    Travel Management Planning
    Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2008 4:50 PM

    Dear Friends and Neighbors:
    The Santa Fe National Forest (Forest) announces the release of its
    Proposed Action for Managing Motorized Travel. This proposal, or
    “scoping phase,†is the start of the National Environmental Policy Act
    (NEPA) process for this project.

    The attached PDF document contains a copy of the Notice of Intent that
    will be published in the Federal Register on or shortly after July 11,
    2008. Check the Forest Web site for exact date of publication. The
    Notice of Intent summarizes the proposed action, which proposes a system
    of roads, trails, and areas for motorized vehicle use by vehicle class
    and time of year.

    Highlights of the proposal are:

    Continuing to provide motorized access to the Forest;
    Prohibiting cross-country motorized vehicle use off designated roads,
    trails, and areas;
    Reducing the miles of roads open to motorized travel;
    Increasing the miles of trails designated for motorized vehicles;
    Designating motorized access to dispersed camping;
    Limiting the use of motor vehicles to retrieve downed game to
    designated routes only; and
    Amending the Santa Fe National Forest Plan to comply with direction
    in the Rule.

    How to Get Information

    The proposed action and maps may be downloaded from the Forest’s Web
    site at Travel Management Planning, Santa Fe National Forest - USDA Forest Service. The
    supervisor’s office or any of the five ranger stations, upon request,
    will distribute a limited number of CDs that contain the same
    information. The supervisor’s office and the ranger stations will have
    maps available for review in their offices. The contact information for
    each ranger station is provided in the NOI.

    If you have questions about the NEPA process or making comments, please
    contact the Travel Management Project Leader, Julie Bain, at (505)
    438-7829 or sftravelmgt@fs.fed.us. If you have a technical question,
    contact one of the district rangers, or Diane Taliaferro, Forest
    Recreation Program Manager, at (505) 438-7823.

    Attend a Public Meeting

    Participating in public meetings and discussions and reviewing the
    proposed action and maps is an important way for you to help us
    understand your point of view.

    The Forest will hold public scoping meetings to review and discuss the
    proposed action, take comments, and understand community issues and
    concerns. The public meeting schedule is listed in the enclosed NOI and
    will be posted on our website at
    Travel Management Planning, Santa Fe National Forest - USDA Forest Service. The meetings set aside
    time to informally meet with Forest staff, review maps, view a
    presentation on the proposed action, and ask questions.

    How Public Input is Used

    Forest staff will use your comments to help identify significant issues
    and develop alternatives to the proposed action. The environmental
    effects of the proposed action and the alternatives will be analyzed in
    a draft environmental impact statement.

    How to Comment

    The Forest invites you to comment on its Proposed Action for Managing
    Motorized Travel. The Forest recognizes that other configurations of
    roads, trails, and areas may better meet the needs of the surrounding
    communities’ diverse recreational interests, traditional or cultural
    uses, and other needs for access. Therefore, the Forest is soliciting
    issues and concerns of people interested in this proposal.

    The Forest encourages electronic mail. If sending an e-mail, please
    send it to comments-southwestern-santafe@fs.fed.us (attachments as .doc,
    .txt, .pdf, or .rtf only) with “Travel Management†in the subject line.
    For your convenience, a comment form is available on the Web site at
    Travel Management Planning, Santa Fe National Forest - USDA Forest Service.

    Please mail your written comments on this proposal to Santa Fe Travel
    Management Planning, 1474 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505. If you would
    like confirmation that we have received your letter, please include your
    e-mail address with your written comment. The fax number is (505)
    438-7834. Comments may be delivered by hand to the Santa Fe National
    Forest Supervisor’s Office (1474 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe) between the hours
    of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. To make verbal comments, please arrange by
    calling one of the district rangers (refer to NOI for phone numbers) or
    Julie Bain.

    In compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, please be aware that
    the written comments received on this proposal, including names and
    addresses, will be considered part of the public record and will be
    available for public inspection.

    Comments will be most helpful when they are focused on specific roads
    and trails, and within the scope of the proposed action, and include
    supporting reasons for the responsible official to consider.

    How You Can Remain Informed

    Those who comment will automatically continue to receive information
    regarding this project. If you do not wish to comment on the proposed
    action, but would like to continue to receive information on travel
    management planning, please send your name and mailing address to: Santa
    Fe Travel Management Planning, 1474 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505, or
    call (505) 438-7829 or email to sftravelmgt@fs.fed.us. If you do not
    request to be kept on the mailing list or if you choose not to comment
    on the proposed action, your name will be removed from our list.

    We want to keep you informed of how we use your feedback and how we are
    progressing with the travel management project. We plan to keep the
    Forest web page up-to-date with new information.

    We look forward to hearing from you or seeing you at a meeting.

    Sincerely,

    /s/Daniel J. Jiron

    DANIEL J. JIRON
    Forest Supervisor
     
  2. 2manycruisers

    2manycruisers

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    and an email I got from Sandia Jeep Club:

    >>Good morning all,
    >>
    >>The Santa Fe National Forest has updated their website
    >>yesterday. It now includes the Travel Analysis Process (TAP)
    >>report and some new maps. We have been waiting for this report
    >>because is one of the foundation documents (and precursors for the
    >>release of the) 'Proposed Action' that will formally start the NEPA
    process.
    >>
    >>"What the heck does that mean?"
    >>
    >>The TAP is a document that lays the foundation for the analysis of
    >>the roads system on the Santa Fe National Forest. The document is
    >>relatively short (at 38 pages) and I encourage you to read it. The
    >>matrix in the appendix is where all the details reside. It
    >>contains a line item for each road segment on the SFNF, all 7158.26
    >>miles. Each of those line items includes other descriptive
    >>information including the recommendation as to whether the segment
    >>is proposed to be designated as 'open' or 'closed' and the reasons.
    >>
    >>They have also released three sets of maps: 1) The existing
    >>condition maps (what they think is currently out there). 2) The
    >>existing direction maps (what they think is SUPPOSED to be out
    >>there. 3) A Minimum Road System map. The third set of maps is the
    >>one to look at as it appears to be their baseline of what they
    >>consider the minimum road system it would take to support the
    >>Forest. Many, but not nearly all, of the NM4W Citizen's Proposal
    >>Routes are on the minimum road system map. Some VERY important
    >>ones are missing on the Minimum Road System map. They are in the
    >>matrix in the appendix of the TAP. If you are ambitious, you can
    >>start listing the closed segments that we want open and why each of
    >>them is proposed to be closed.
    >>
    >>I haven't had time to study the TAP or the maps in detail yet but a
    >>couple of quick observations:
    >>
    >>1) The minimum road system matches what the Jemez District
    >>was telling us already last summer before the TAP was completed
    >>(and the 'A' in TAP is supposed to stand for 'Analysis').
    >>2) That being said, the maps depict a minimum 'ROAD' system
    >>and not necessarily the full road AND TRAIL system.
    >>3) In other words, we now have a minimum list to work from
    >>and we can concentrate our efforts on those roads and trails that
    >>are not included.
    >>4) The devil is in the details. We need to grind through
    >>the line items in the appendix and be ready to contradict (with
    >>science and data) their conclusions on which roads need to be closed.
    >>
    >>I expect the 'Proposed Action' to come out in the VERY NEAR
    >>FUTURE. This will start the official NEPA process and signal the
    >>start of the official Scoping period. We all need to send in our
    >>comments (again) during the scoping period so that they are part of
    >>the official NEPA record. This is VERY important if we end up
    >>having to appeal the decisions further down the road. I will be
    >>sending more updates and analysis to the club as I have time to
    >>read the TAP in more detail and when the Proposed Action is finally
    released.
    >>
    >>"What the heck should I be doing?"
    >>
    >>Read the TAP document. Study the minimum road system maps. Figure
    >>out what is already shown as proposed for 'open', 'closed', or
    >>'seasonal'. Make a list. Get ready to write your scoping comments
    >>in the very near future.
    >>
     
  3. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    Thanks David!

    -Mike-
     
  4. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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    Notice this paragraph:

    "Those who comment will automatically continue to receive information regarding this project. If you do not wish to comment on the proposed action, but would like to continue to receive information on travel
    management planning, please send your name and mailing address to: Santa Fe Travel Management Planning, 1474 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505, or call (505) 438-7829 or email to sftravelmgt@fs.fed.us. If you do not request to be kept on the mailing list or if you choose not to comment on the proposed action, your name will be removed from our list. "
     
  5. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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  6. jemezcrusher

    jemezcrusher

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    Gave input at several meetings over the past year or so. There are over 8000 miles of roads and trails in the Santa Fe. Plan is to reduce that to about 3000.

    They took no action on the input we put in for off road trails ( over 600 miles of trail) in the area where we have been riding for twenty years (North of 126 between La Cueva and Fenton and further north)

    Guess I will have to change my handle to outlaw as I have no intent to stop riding in them woods.
     
  7. 2manycruisers

    2manycruisers

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    I hate to say it, but that is why I haven't been very involved. I think the FS does this often--they pretty much decide what they want to do, but they have to go through the motions of NEPA. I'm hopeful that those on the forest involved in TM will give more than lip service to comments and input from wheelers, but I have my doubts as well.

    I think people are going to continue to use the closed roads for years to come, and I don't fault anyone for it.

     
  8. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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    New email today:

    Dear Friends and Neighbors, In our initial Scoping letter you received last week, we mentioned the45-day comment period begins when the Notice of Intent is published in theFederal Register. It was published today, July 17th. The 45-day periodwill be from July 18th through September 2, 2008. What?? That would makeit 47 days....? We took into consideration that the end of the 45 dayswould actually be August 31st (if you did the math) but since that is aSunday and the next day is a Holiday (Labor Day), we used September 2nd.We'll take your comments on the 46th or the 50th day too, we just want toencourage your participation at this point in the NEPA process.Information is on our website:Travel Management Planning, Santa Fe National Forest - USDA Forest Service Thanks for your interest in the Santa Fe National Forest. 45-DAY PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD BEGINS (SANTA FE, NM)— The Santa Fe National Forest Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement statement to manage motorized travel was published in the Federal Register today, July 17, 2008. “This initiates the 45-day public comment period that will run July 18 through September 2, 2008,” said Daniel Jiron Forest Supervisor. The publishing of the NOI officially initiates “scoping”, the first step in the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) process. These 45 days are for the public to provide information, to the agency, on resource issues and to identify significant issues with the proposed action. The agency will next develop alternative proposals, based on public input received. These alternatives will undergo full analysis of the environmental effects and a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) will be prepared(usually about 8 to 12 months). At this time, the public will have another 45-day “notice and comment” period. Based on the analysis and public input, the agency will make a decision which will be published as a record of decision. The Forest plans to have the record of decision completed in 2009. The Notice of Intent and Santa Fe National Forest’s Proposed Action for Managing Motorized Travel can be found on the Forest website: Travel Management Planning, Santa Fe National Forest - USDA Forest Service . ###
     
  9. sirenmoses

    sirenmoses

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    x2.

    Ironically, they dropped a 20' ponderosa pine east of Oak Flat (Sandia Ranger District) to close off a 2 track we were using to park off the road & train SAR K9's, right about where it'll become 4wd access, according to the accepted plan. :confused: You gotta close something before you can open it??

    I am SO tempted to buck it up/pull it outta the way & re-open the 2 track....
     
  10. jemezcrusher

    jemezcrusher

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    Hmmmm

    Buck it up and take it with you. Firewood would come in handy
     
  11. jemezcrusher

    jemezcrusher

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    Went to the Jemez Springs meeting week before last, and the one in Cuba last Thursday. Same song, same verse, different venue

    The key is comment. Going to the meetings is good, but they don't take notes of verbal comments. I think these are just an opportunity to vent. They seem to be most concerned about following their process, not whether or not people take issue. If they follow the correct process, their plan will go through. My earlier post was incorrect about the amount of miles being reducde. Going from 5000 to 2300. The big difference is that now, there is no restriction on cross country travel, and in the future there will be none (except for 50 acres - whoopie!) You will be allowed to go 75 feet off of a established road or trail for "dispersed camping", but that is it. This is a huge change from current management.

    Could be helpful to go to the meetings (19th in Rio Rancho, and 20th in ALBQ) but the written comments will count the most. If you choose to comment, be sure to be specific about what road or trail is near and dear to you. GPS locations would help if you got em.

    DOn't know if they will change anything on their plan to manage by closure, but if there are enough comments, they may have to defend their decision to keep us off OUR LAND!
     
  12. pappy

    pappy photosynthesizing Moderator

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  13. 2manycruisers

    2manycruisers

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  14. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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    This is the thread referred to at the meeting, talking about the "forest management plan".
     
  15. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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  16. 2manycruisers

    2manycruisers

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    Scoping ended on 9/2, BUT the Forest is continuing to accept comments.

    The districts have hard copy maps to view, downloadable maps are on the SFNF website. I encourage all of you to look at the maps for your favorite trails and camping areas and send comments supporting access to these places.
     
  17. pappy

    pappy photosynthesizing Moderator

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    Should I keep it sticky?
     
  18. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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    I think it's important, so I would say yes.
     
  19. jemezcrusher

    jemezcrusher

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    THere have been a lot of folks sending in "Take no action" as a comment.

    If you have not done so, would at least do that
     
  20. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    We discussed this "take no action" option with David at the last meeting. This is not an option for the USFS districts. Each director was mandated by law to come up with a plan to manage the roads.

    David can comment on this but my take away was that sending that in as a comment would be like saying nothing at all.

    -Mike-