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New Mexico Off-Highway Access Issues

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

  1. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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    Latest Update:

    http://campaign.r20.constantcontact...5b546&ch=dbac5a80-dfb0-11e2-81e9-d4ae5275b546


    LAWSUIT UPDATE #8
    July 21, 2014


    NMOHVA's Day in Court

    WHAT HAPPENED IN FEDERAL COURT LAST THURSDAY: NMOHVA appeared in Federal District Court in Albuquerque on Thursday, July 17th to argue our lawsuit against the Santa Fe National Forest Travel Management decision. As you recall, our lawsuit was filed back in December of 2012. We filed our briefs on 6/10/13 (opening) and 5/1/14 (final). We have two opponents; the U.S. Forest Service (represented by Department of Justice attorneys) and the Center for Biological Diversity/Wildearth Guardians/Sierra Club (under intervener status and represented by the Western Environmental Law Center attorneys).

    The federal judge assigned to the case, Judge Johnson, called for "oral arguments" to be held. A lawsuit such as ours is decided by the judge after reviewing the briefs filed by the litigants and the administrative record of the project. The hearing on Thursday was not a trial. The judge called for oral arguments so he could question the attorneys, to further clarify the case in his mind. NMOHVA appeared in court represented by our attorney Karen Budd-Falen. The session of presentations, questions, and answers lasted two and half hours.

    WHAT HAPPENS NOW: Now we wait for the judge's decision. There is no deadline for a federal judge to make a decision. We expect the decision to occur in the next several months.

    WHAT YOU DO NOW: You wait, with us. And you continue to support us, to bring in new members. Donations to the Access Defense Fund are still needed and important.

    BE PROUD OF NMOHVA, WE ARE PROUD OF YOU: We are one of only four pro-access organizations to challenge a Forest Service travel management decision in court. That is one of only four in the entire nation! NMOHVA has stuck with this extremely difficult process through years of deadlines and frustration, meetings and formal documents. Between 2010 and 2012 we submitted comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and appealed the Final EIS and Record of Decision. We have met every single requirement. Our participation in each of those steps protected our right to file a lawsuit.

    We have not forgotten, we have not given up. NMOHVA has stood strong for you. You have stood with us.

    Thank you.

    The Work Continues...

    While we are waiting for a decision from Judge Johnson on the Santa Fe National Forest lawsuit, we are busy working on an Appeal to the Gila National Forest Travel Management decision. That decision, released by Forest Supervisor Kelly Russell on June 11, closed almost 2500 miles of existing Forest Roads to the motorized public.

    NMOHVA submitted literally hundreds of pages of substantive comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement back in 2011 challenging how the Forest Service completed the required environmental analysis. This gives NMOHVA the necessary "standing" to file an administrative appeal on the recent Travel Management Record of Decision (ROD) and Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). The appeal must be filed by July 28 and then the Forest Service has 45 days to rule on the appeal. Filing this administrative appeal is a necessary step if we want to keep our options open for challenging the Gila decision in court also.
    LAWSUIT UPDATE #8
    July 21, 2014


    [​IMG]
    STAY CONNECTED
     
  2. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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    http://www.nmohva.org/main/index.php

    Judge Johnson ruled against NMOHVA's lawsuit on the Santa Fe National Forest's travel management decision. Ironically, in his decision, Judge Johnson specifically agreed with us that the Forest Service broke the law because their "no action" alternative in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is illegal. It violated NEPA laws. This issue was NMOHVA's main point in the lawsuit. The decision is based on the EIS, and the EIS is based on the "no action alternative". Somehow, the judge decided that the "no action alternative" was illegal, but the decision was not. You can read the judge's Decision and Opinion on NMOHVA's web page at www.nmohva.org.

    What's next? We are meeting with our legal team to discuss the possibility of an appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The NMOHVA Board of Directors will then decide whether to appeal.
     
  3. 2manycruisers

    2manycruisers

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    I heard that today. bummer....
     
  4. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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    LAWSUIT UPDATE #10
    August 4, 2014


    NMOHVA Board Votes to Appeal
    Federal Court's Decision

    In a special board meeting, the NMOVHA Board of Directors voted unanimously to appeal Judge Johnson's recent ruling against our lawsuit. This decision was reached after a thorough discussion of our case, the costs of an appeal, and the advice of our attorney Karen Budd-Falen. The appeal will be heard by the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Why We Are Appealing: Judge Johnson agreed with the major point of our legal challenge, but decided that point wasn't enough to throw out the Santa Fe's travel management decision. Our attorney strongly believes the judge's decision is not in accordance with the law. By appealing, we have another chance to argue the case before the higher level court. If we don't appeal, the case is finished. Can we win? Quite possibly. Can we lose? We can; but we definitely have lost if we don't appeal.

    What Laws Were Broken? The law says the environmental impact statement's "no action" alternative (the baseline condition) must include all the roads and trails that were legal to use. The Santa Fe National Forest environmental impact statement (EIS) deliberately excluded 2,200 miles (about 30%) of roads and trails. The Forest Service fully acknowledged these excluded routes were part of the official transportation system.

    They Did What? Imagine you have $7,200 in bank. Then the bank decides it will only count $5,000 because you are "not using" the other $2,200. And your $2,200 disappears. Sound insane? The Santa Fe National Forest did just that. It closed those 2,200 miles under the excuse that the public wasn't using them. Our lawsuit argued that the 2,200 miles must be counted because thy were official, existing, and legal to use. The judge agreed it was illegal not to count them; but then he let the Santa Fe National Forest do it anyway.

    The judge's decision unexpectedly created another legal issue. There is a specific law that determines whether an EIS is legal or illegal. It's called the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). The APA has two standards (or requirements) for legality. The APA says that to be legal, an EIS must obey both standards. An EIS is illegal if it violates either one OR the other standard. we believe that Judge Johnson id no properly apply the APA. He ruled the Santa Fe's EIS violated one of the two standards, but also ruled that the EIS was still legal. This is like saying it's OK that you were driving without insurance because your car is registered. The driving laws says you are driving illegally if you are missing either insurance OR registration. It is not possible to be missing either one and still be driving legally. But that is just what the judge did. He decided that the EIS was still legal even though it violated one of the two APA standards by "being contrary to law."

    This decision creates a legal precedent that makes it twice as hard to fight any agency action in court. You would have to prove an EIS violated both APA standards, instead of just one. This would apply to any lawsuit in the country, filed by anyone, against any agency. Our NMOHVA lawsuit is the only way to overturn the Santa Fe's travel management closures, but now our lawsuit has also become something larger and of national importance.

    What Happens Next: We have 60 days from the court's decision to file a Notice to Appeal. It generally takes another 30 days before we get a schedule back from the court. We then would have 30-60 days to file our initial brief. The Department of Justice (representing the Forest Service) and the Western Environmental Law Center (representing the interveners: Center for Biological Diversity/Sierra Club/WildEarth Guardians) will also file briefs. NMOHVA's legal team will then file a final brief before arguing the case before the 10th Circuit judges in Denver, Colorado.
     
  5. evanz80

    evanz80

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    Their argument sounds logical, but as we know, logic doesn't always prevail in a court of law. It will be interesting to hear what happens at the appeal court.
     
  6. BionicCruiser

    BionicCruiser

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    by the law, I just camped illegally in the Jemez. it wasn't part of the dispersed camping areas and wasn't on an approved road(though not by much). this needs to be fought. did we donate to these guys at years start? it was approved for yearly donation.
     
  7. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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    I don't know Shawn, I'm sure whoever does know just missed your post. Maybe they'll see it now... In the meantime:

    http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=aa031868-20b8-420d-8454-478afa34e723&c=19a36400-dfb1-11e2-81e9-d4ae5275b546&ch=19a69850-dfb1-11e2-81e9-d4ae5275b546

    Show Your Opposition and Have a Little Fun!
    [​IMG]
    Our friends and allies at the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association have invited us to share the fun at a little "event" they are hosting. Here are the details:
    There is a national conference celebrating 50 years of Wilderness in Albuquerque this week. We expect all of the radical environmentalists to be there along with the usual media coverage.
    We want to provide OUR SIDE of the story to the public and the media. The plan is to have a gathering on Wednesday, October 15, near the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque, 1000 Woodward Pl NE, to let the public know the reality of wilderness. Wilderness isn't a Disney movie with animals frolicking together in peace and harmony. It is the PERMANENT removal of resources and jobs that are important to the economic health of New Mexico.
    Please bring signs showing why you oppose wilderness and what is it doing to your family, your community and your small business. Remember that the Endangered Species Act is tied to wilderness as well... and that wolves and mice need to live in the "wild." We will have some ready-made signs as well.
    We expect to meet near the hotel at 4:00 p.m. and to stay until about dark.
    If you need any last minute details, please contact us at:
    nohvcccontact1@nmohva.org
    Wilderness Prevention Forum

    The Coalition to Keep Cibola National Forest Open for Multiple Use is hosting a Wilderness Prevention Forum on October 13th at 6:00 pm at the Knights of Columbus Hall (1601 Roosevelt Avenue) in Grants, NM. Please bring any detailed information you have on man-made features within the wilderness inventory areas (see map links at upper left) that would make these areas unsuitable for wilderness. You can find more information at the Coalition's Facebook page.
     
  8. lurch

    lurch

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    NEW MEXICO - Cibola National Forest Extends Forest Plan Revision Wilderness Mapping Phase

    Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,

    The Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands are currently revising the 1985 Forest Plan. During this process, communities and interested groups are encouraged to participate in the meetings and provide input to the future direction and use of the Cibola National Forest mountainous ranger districts. The districts that are currently involved in this process include the Mt. Taylor, Magdalena, Mountainair, and Sandia Ranger Districts. The Forest Plan Revision will be the guiding direction that will result in sustainable management of the Forest's resources, goods and services for the next 15 years on our forested lands.

    The Forest is currently in the inventory phase of identifying lands potentially suitable for wilderness consideration.

    This process has included actively reaching out to get collaborative help in identifying inventory lands to evaluate for potential wilderness consideration in all four mountain districts. This process has included collaborating with: local communities; land grant communities; federal, tribal, state and local governments and agencies; and the general public through letters, meetings, presentations and using an innovative web-based mapping tool to help involve everyone in developing a revised Forest Plan.

    In response to a request for more time for the public to input their information, Forest Supervisor Elaine Kohrman has decided to offer a second input period. The first input period will end November 21, 2014. A second draft of the maps will be prepared and released for the second round of input sometime in late winter.

    At the same time, the Forest Service will begin to engage the public in the draft development of the proposed forest plan. Forest personnel will continue to update the public as this project moves forward.

    You can participate in several ways:

    If not already part of the current plan, BRC believes the agency should develop travel management strategies. Here are several concepts that users should ask the agency to include in the forest plan revision process:

    ML 3 Roads to Trails - Reclassify ML3 roads to ML2 roads. Reclassify ML2 road to motorized trails or manage appropriate ML2 roads as "roads managed as trails." Manage appropriate ML1 roads as "motorized trails."

    ML 2 Roads to Trails - Convert "roads-to-single track trails" or "roads-to-motorized trails less than 50 inches in width" and "roads managed as motorized trails greater than 50 inches in width" as a tool to help the agency achieve its budget objectives while still providing a substantive and high quality recreational route network.

    Single Track Trails - 2005 Forest Service Travel Management Rule (TMR) Subpart B planning efforts in California and other Western States resulted in the loss of many, if not most, of our historic single-track motorcycle trails. Historic and legal motorized single-track opportunities such as enduro trails, old pack-mule/mining or pioneer trails were simply eliminated from consideration due to time constraints.

    During those early planning efforts, agency representatives promised the OHV community that once these initial "foundational" route networks were established and codified that they would work with the users to either bring some of these historic single-track opportunities "back onto the system" or construct new engineered single-track system trails.

    BRC believes that a strategy should be developed to replace the lost single- track experience. Retention or enhancement of high quality single-track dirt-bike trails is no different than keeping or enhancing "quiet" single-track hiking, equestrian, and mountain-bike trails.

    Wet Weather Closures - Any TMR-based wet weather closure strategy should allow for native surfaced trails and roads to be open when soil conditions/lack-of-rainfall permits. If a wet weather closure is needed, the implementing Forest Order should be for the shortest period of time rather than a longer time period. In NEPA, it is always easier to extend a short closure versus repealing a longer closure.

    Mitigate Trail Impacts from Non-Recreation Projects - The impacts from non-recreation projects often include obliteration of the trail or removal of water control structures such as rolling dips and catch basins. Those soil erosion measures can often cost $15,000 to $20,000/mile to install (or replace). Other sections such as at-risk species, water quality, and ecosystems have the same recreation mitigation deficiencies. BRC recommends that "trail mitigation" guidelines be added to relevant non-recreation projects.

    For additional information, please contact Champe Green, Forest Planner, at 505.346.3900 or by email at champegreen@fs.fed.us. For additional immediate information visit the Cibola's Forest Plan Revision Webpage at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/cibola/landmanagement/planning/?cid=fsbdev3_065627

    Thanks in advance and, as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact BRC.

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

    The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) is a national non-profit organization that champions responsible recreation and encourages a strong conservation ethic and individual stewardship, while providing leadership in efforts to keep outdoor recreation alive and well -- all sports; all trails. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education and collaboration among recreationists. The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) season is here. Federal employees, please mark BlueRibbon Coalition and Check #11402 on your CFC pledge form to support our efforts to protect your access. Join us at 1-800-BLUERIB - www.BlueRibbonCoalition.Org_______________________________________________________

    As a non-profit, grassroots organization funded primarily by membership dues and donations, we greatly appreciate your support. Visit http://www.sharetrails.org/make-a-difference-now to help fund our efforts to protect your trails!




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    To permanently remove yourself from ALL email lists maintained by the BlueRibbon Coalition, visit this link

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  9. Dumpolina

    Dumpolina SILVER Star

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    This is such a huge issue for us, Folks. That deadline is in two days so get busy and give input

    Steve, thank you for posting this
     
  10. jstncse

    jstncse Crawling over something

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    The North Baldy run is on the hit list here also. I have made comments on the trails that I have used.
     
  11. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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    http://campaign.r20.constantcontact...5b546&ch=19a69850-dfb1-11e2-81e9-d4ae5275b546

    Carson National Forest
    Releases Draft Assessment
    for Forest Plan Revision


    What is This (and Why Should I Care)?


    The Carson National Forest is in the early stages of revising their Forest Plan. This past week, they announced the release of their "Draft Assessment" and scheduled meetings with the public for early summer.


    One of the biggest challenges for us as motorized users of the Forest is to GET INVOLVED EARLY and STAY INVOLVED for the long (literally years!) process of revising the Forest Plan. Revising a Forest Plan involves a time commitment now that will only pay off in the future. The really long, slow process makes it very hard to stay focused and committed. If we lose interest and lose track of the project, it makes it really easy for the Forest Service to do whatever they (and the radical environmentalists) want to do.


    We know how hard it is to keep all of these many Forest Service processes and plans straight. We know it is hard to find the time and energy to keep showing up at meetings, writing comments and staying involved. We know how frustrating it is to provide input only to see it seemingly ignored. We know it is tempting to just go play instead.


    NMOHVA will do our very best to provide you with the information you need to MAKE THE BIGGEST IMPACT with the least amount of wasted time and energy. Please read on!


    Who Should Be Involved?



    First of all, this Access Alert only reflects the Carson National Forest. The other four National Forests in New Mexico (Cibola, Santa Fe, Lincoln, and Gila National Forests are all revising their Forest Plans but are at different steps in the process. We will continue to update all of you separately for each Forest separately so you only need to be concerned about the Forests about which you care the most.



    If you enjoy motorized recreation in the Carson National Forest (think northern New Mexico like Red River, Taos, Sipapu, etc), then this specific Forest Plan revision will directly impact your enjoyment of the Forest for the next 20-25 years!



    What Does a Forest Plan do?


    The Forest Plan does not, itself, create any new "action" or changes on the part of the Forest Service. The purpose of the Forest Plan is summarized by the Carson National Forest as follows:


    "A forest plan provides broad, program-level direction for management of National Forest System lands and its resources. The purpose of a plan is to address the risks to sustainability of the resources, goods, and services the forest produces and to provide a vision for the future management of the forest."



    The Forest Plan is important because future projects carry out the direction described in a forest plan. If the Forest Plan doesn't adequately address the current and future needs of motorized recreation, we have ZERO CHANCE of getting what we need over the next 20-25 years.



    Why is the Forest Plan Important?


    Federal regulations require all Forest projects and activities to be consistent with the Forest Plan. If a proposed project is not consistent with the plan, the project cannot proceed as proposed unless the Plan is amended so that the project is consistent with the Plan. As example, new motorized routes cannot be approved unless the Forest Plan describes a need for additional motorized routes or meeting motorized recreation needs. That is why a new Forest Plan is so important even though it doesn't take cause any immediate changes on the Forest right now.


    What Can I Do Now?


    There are two things to do now. One is hard and one is easy. Both are important!


    1) Knowledge is always a good thing so reading the Forest Service documents is a good way to gain their "knowledge". The first and most important document is the Draft Assessment itself. You can find it at the link in the upper left corner of this alert. Unfortunately for busy people, the Draft Assessment is 500 pages long. You can shorten the process tremendously by using the Adobe word search function (Ctrl F) to search for the word "motorized". Read those paragraphs and assessment sections carefully.


    If you are really short of time, you can just read the much shorter Preliminary Need for Change document (9 pages) and Summary of Key Findings (12 pages). Both of these documents also have a link in the upper left corner of this alert. The main problem with this "short cut" is that you are depending on the Forest Service to have accurately and adequately summarized the bigger document. Your mileage may vary!


    2) Attend one or more of the many public meetings scheduled for this early summer. The meeting schedule is Meeting Flyer link at the upper left of this page. The more you know (did you read the documents?), the more effective your input will be at forcing the Forest Service to write a good Forest Plan.


    What Comes Next?


    As we said earlier, the Carson is still in the very early part of the process. This is a good thing as it is far easier to get the Forest Plan headed in the right direction now than it will be later.


    The Plan Need for Change and the identified solutions to address the Key Risks will be the foundation for developing new forest plan direction in the next phase of plan development. Development of a revised forest plan should begin in late summer/early fall of 2015. This phase will take 2 1/2 to 3 years and will include a "collaborative" process with the public to develop a draft proposed plan. This will then be followed by the beginning of the NEPA process (starting with "Scoping").


    During the NEPA process, the Forest Service will again ask for public input on the draft proposed plan, develop draft alternatives to the draft proposed plan, and develop a draft environmental impact statement (EIS). This is followed by another opportunity for public input and then an objection period. The last step is approval of the final forest plan and EIS. The Forest Service projects this final step to be in 2017...and they are almost always late.


    See what we mean about it being easy to take our eyes off the ball and lose track of the project? We need to be persistent and patient! This is a long process.


    Where can I find more information?


    The website that contains all of the information that the Forest Service has released so far and a description of the WHOLE, LONG PROCESS is at:


    http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/carson/landmanagement/planning/?cid=stelprdb5443166


    The Bottom Line!



    It is a really good thing that motorized recreation is SO MUCH FUN because protecting it has become a WHOLE LOT OF WORK! NMOHVA is working hard to protect your OHV fun. Help NMOHVA help you by staying involved in the process and supporting NMOHVA. Together, we do more!
     
    Dumpolina likes this.
  12. Dumpolina

    Dumpolina SILVER Star

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    Thank you for conveying these details, and for your involvement- we as a sport need more of that from all of us. I'll do whatever I can as soon as details on the where and when are posted
     
  13. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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    Here are some details!

    From NMOHVA:

    Get Involved in the Next Step in the Cibola National Forest "Forest Plan Revision"


    What is This (and Why Should I Care)?

    The Cibola National Forest has reached the next step in the process of revising their Forest Plan. They have announced a series of public meetings and have asked the public to review draft documents and comment on two key subjects:

    "Desired Conditions"

    • "Inventory and Evaluation Process of Lands that may be Suitable for Wilderness"

    Both of these subjects are very important to motorized recreation in the future.

    Public Meetings

    The Forest Service has announced a schedule of eleven (ten remaining) public meetings in a range of locations. A list of these meetings in at the very end of the "Supervisor's Letter" link in the upper left of this page.

    NMOHVA believes there is value in attending these meetings. While comments can submitted after the meetings, the meetings provide the best opportunity to hear the Forest Service explain what it is doing and how they are doing it.

    "Desired Conditions"

    The Forest Service has released a document called "Draft Forest-wide Ecological and Socioeconomic Desired Conditions" (click on the link in the upper left corner of this page). This document is the "a backbone of the Forest Plan" by the Forest Service. The document describes, via broad "vision statements" and a series of more specific "desired condition" statements for each resource (like vegetation, water, recreation, etc) how the Forest Service will provide the Cibola's many resources, goods, and services for the public in the future.

    NMOHVA suggest, if you are short of time and interest, to focus on the "Recreation" and "Roads" area of the document. After reading their draft "Desired Condition" statements, provide input on what the Forest Service missed (like enough motorized trails to meet publicly expressed need) or what they got wrong.

    "Inventory and Evaluation Process of Lands that may be Suitable for Wilderness"

    This is a carryover from the previous inventory step that we commented on late last year. The Forest Service has eliminated a few areas but is still carrying many areas that clearly do not meet the current criteria for Congressionally designated Wilderness. Here is another opportunity to let them know WHY these inventoried parcels are NOT suitable for Wilderness consideration.

    The Forest Service has released a 50-page document (click on the link in the upper left corner of this page) describing the Inventory and Evaluation process so far and how they intend to further evaluate those lands remaining in the Inventory. NMOHVA highly encourages our members to read this document and it will help direct your activities/comments if you disagree with what the Forest Service is doing.

    Where Do We Send the Comments?

    Email comments should be sent to: comments-southwestern-cibola@fs.fed.us

    Letters should be mailed to:

    Forest Planner

    Cibola National Forest

    2113 Osuna Rd. NE

    Albuquerque, NM 87113

    When are the Comments Due?

    This latest round of comments is due by September 25th. While that seems like a long way off, we encourage you to send your comments in NOW so they don't get forgotten as during your "summer fun".

    Where can I find more information?

    The website that contains all of the information that the Forest Service has released so far during this process is at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/cibola/landmanagement/planning/?cid=fsbdev3_065627

    What Happens Next?

    Your comment will be used to develop the draft Forest Plan and the range of alternatives, including a range of lands that may be suitable in for inclusion in the Wilderness system. This will be released this Fall or Winter 2015.

    We apologize for the late notice for the current round of meetings. For some reason, NMOHVA was left off the notification list when the Forest Service letter was released on July 15th. We will be contacting the Forest Service about this "oversight" today and will continue to keep you informed at every step of this long (often tedious) process!
     
  14. lurch

    lurch

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    They are really going after all of the mountain biking trails on all sides of the Sandias! Even 365 in the foothills which is 50% MTB use maybe more...looks like last meeting is on the 18th.
     
  15. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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    View as a webpage

    Santa Fe National Forest Announces Dates for "Assessment Meetings"

    It has been well over a year since their last Forest Plan Revision announcement but the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) has been continuing the long, multi-year process of revising its Forest Plan. The Forest Plan describes the strategic direction for management of forest resources for the next fifteen years on the Santa Fe National National Forest.

    The first phase of the Forest Plan Revision process, the assessment phase, has been completed. The Santa Fe National Forest will release its Draft Assessment document on October 20th. As part of its release of the draft Assessment, the Forest Service has also announced the dates for two types of public meetings:

    1) A "Symposium" discussing the Draft Assessment, and

    2) A series of ten public "Need for Change" meetings

    And You Might Be Asking "So What?"

    As we keep saying, one of the biggest challenges for us as motorized users of the Forest is to GET INVOLVED EARLY and STAY INVOLVED for the very long (it literally takes years!) process of revising the Forest Plan. Revising a Forest Plan involves a time commitment now that will only pay off in the future. The really long, slow process makes it very hard to stay focused and committed. If we lose interest and lose track of the project, it makes it really easy for the Forest Service to do whatever they want to do. We know the radical environmentalist will be involved for the long haul. We want to do everything we can to make sure the motorized users stay involved also.

    What Are These Public Meetings?

    The Draft Assessment "Symposium" - This is an all day (yuck!) meeting for the various Forest Service specialists to present and explain their findings in detail. While this might explain the Draft Assessment in the greatest detail, it doesn't necessarily offer the best opportunity for offering input. If you can only make one or two meetings, we suggest you go to the "Need for Change" meetings described below. You can check out more details and an agenda for the Symposium by clicking on the link in the upper left of this alert.

    "Need for Change" Meetings - I think we can all agree that the SFNF needs to change how they currently manage (or ignore?) motorized recreation needs. Here is YOUR opportunity to tell them what you want in the future (like more motorized trails, enough motorized recreation to meet public needs, etc.).

    The SFNF has announced a series of ten meetings to let your propose changes and additions to the draft Assessment. Read the Assessment document when it comes out October 20th. The Assessment is supposed to summarize the current state of motorized recreation (among everything else). Then attend these upcoming "Need for Change" meetings and tell the Forest Service where their Assessment falls short and what needs to be added to be accurate.

    The where/when details on these meetings can be found at the "Need for Change" Meeting link in the upper left corner of this document.

    What Comes Next?

    The Santa Fe National Forest expects to officially start the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to prepare a revised Forest Plan sometime this winter. The NEPA-required process will probably take a couple of more years to complete.

    See what we mean about it being easy to take our eyes off the ball and lose track of the project? We need to be persistent and patient! This will be a very long process.

    Where can I find more information?

    We have included links to important Forest Service web sites that provide key information on this Forest Plan revision process. Check out the links at the upper left corner of this Access Alert.
     
  16. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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    Don't miss the last post about the Santa Fe National Forest!

    Here's another:

    View as a webpage

    Carson National Forest Starts SCOPING for Forest Plan Revision


    What is This (and Why Should I Care)?

    The Carson National Forest is about a year into the four-year process of revising their Forest Plan. To this point, all of the input gathered from the public and "work" completed has been in preparation for the actual NEPA process necessary to revise a Forest Plan. The Notice of Intent (NOI) published on 10/7/15 officially starts the formal NEPA process that will result in a revised Forest Plan.

    What Does a Forest Plan do?

    The Forest Plan does not, itself, create any new "action" on the part of the Forest Service or authorize any specific change in use. The Forest Plan provides "broad guidance" for planning any specific future projects, actions, or activities. This revised Forest Plan will include all six Districts of the Carson National Forest: Camino Real, Canjilon, El Rito, Jicarilla, Questa, and Tres Piedras,

    Why is the Forest Plan Important?

    Federal regulations require all Forest projects and activities to beconsistent with the Forest Plan. If a proposed project is not consistent with the plan, the project cannot proceed as proposed unless the Plan is amended so that the project is consistent with the Plan. As example, new motorized routes cannot be approved unless the Forest Plan describes a need for additional motorized routes or meeting motorized recreation needs. That is why a Forest Plan is so important even though it doesn't take cause any action itself.

    What is "Scoping"?

    "Scoping" is the first phase of the NEPA process for revising a Forest Plan. Written comments received by the Forest Service during this phase should be used to identify any additional needs for change to the existing plan, further develop the proposed action (the first revision of the revised plan), and identify "significant issues".

    Why is Scoping Important?

    The "significant issues" are used to develop the alternatives that will be considered in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS is the 2nd major step in the NEPA process. Here is very quick example to help explain why the significant issues and alternatives are so important:

    If there no scoping comments identifying a lack of quality motorized trails (an "issue"), none of the alternatives will include a statement such as "Objective: Provide additional motorized trails to meet the growing use by the public." If there are no alternatives with this objective defined, the Forest Plan has zero chance of including this in the Final version. If the Final Forest Plan has no objective supporting additional motorized trails, the Forest Service will respond to any future requests for motorized trails with, "Additional motorized trails aren't consistent with the Forest Plan."

    Naturally, this is a very simplistic example but it shows why having the right "issues" identified is so important at the beginning of this process. Issues identified NOW lead directly to alternatives. Anything not in an alternative has no chance of being in the Final Plan. If something is not in the Final Plan, it has very little chance of ever being considered for implementation. It also illustrates why we need to be "thinking ahead" when we identify "issues" for the planning process. If we think we will want/need additional motorized recreation in the coming 15-20 years, we need to identify that "need" as an "issue" now!

    How do Scoping Comments Have to be Written?

    The good news is that there is no required format. The most effective Scoping comments are those that help identify issues that we want the Forest Service to address in the new Forest Plan. And you do not necessarily have to suggest solutions to the problem (that is what the Forest Service are supposed to develop during analysis). Here are some examples of "Significant Issues" to get you started thinking:

    Travel Management has reduced the amount of roads and trails available to the public for motorized recreation. This will contribute to crowding on the trails as motorized recreation continues to grow. The Forest needs more trails open to meet this growing need. The Carson National Forest's Assessment identified that it is not meeting the need for motorized trail opportunities.

    Forest budgets are shrinking, putting trail maintenance at risk. The Forest doesn't have an adequate plan for how it will utilize public/volunteer labor and resources to create and maintain motorized trails.

    Non-motorized users have been successful in reducing motorized opportunities by claiming "conflict" with motorized users. The Forest needs to develop a plan for how it is going to educate other users and properly set user expectations in shared use environments.

    Where Do We Send the Comments?

    Email comments should be sent to: carsonplan@fs.fed.us

    Letters should be mailed to:

    Carson National Forest
    Forest Plan Revision
    208 Cruz Alta, Taos, NM 87571.

    When are the Comments Due?

    Your Scoping comments are due by November 20th. This date is roaring up on us! Start working on your comments now!

    Where can I find more information?
    The website that contains all of the information that the Forest Service has released so far during this process is at:
    http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/carson/landmanagement/planning/?cid=stelprdb5443166

    What Happens Next?

    The Forest Service will read the Scoping comments, identify issues, create alternatives, and issue a draft EIS. NMOHVA will continue to monitor the process and give you a "heads-up" when you can comment on the draft EIS.

    Didn't We Just See Another One of These?
    Yes, all FIVE of the National Forests in New Mexico are in the process of revising their Plans. The Cibola is the farthest along. They started their Scoping in February of this year. The Carson and Santa Fe are currently at about the same place in the process. We sent out a similar Access Alert for the Santa Fe this past week. The Gila and Lincoln are just starting the Assessment Phase of the process and are about a year behind the Santa Fe and Carson.

    Having all five Forests revising their Plans can be confusing and is certainly a little daunting. Can we stay focused and "on-point" during these long processes? We must...our future motorized recreation DEPENDS on it!
     
  17. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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    Here is a New Mexico State DRAFT Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) and Survey. Please spread it around to your friends with common interests. I'm not sure how many people it got sent to will fill it out, but we can make a difference here. Reading the "Draft Plan" it is evident motorized vehicle people were for the most part left out of previous surveys. I don't know why it was sent to me, but let's not look a gift horse in the mouth, eh?

    Spend some time and fill out the survey - if not for you, for your children.

    The big thing to remember is that Off Roaders are in the minority in the initial respondents. Only two percent said they enjoy OHV's due to the way the questions were phrased. There is no telling how many people from outside of New Mexico have contributed to that poll, but we need to keep in mind the guilty conscience factor: that the Los Angeles Statistical Metropolitan Area has over ten times the population of the entire state of NM, and the population density is *30* times that of New Mexico. They only dream about living the life we do in NM. So, when you fill it out, remember the concept that voting for other things than off-roading dilutes your vote. There are many people who will vote for other things that you like to do besides 4-wheeling, so don't worry about that. The big thing is reading between the lines and ACCESS.

    So, please spread this around to like minded people. Here is the email:

    "Dear Outdoor Enthusiasts:

    NM State Parks wants to hear from YOU! We are asking you to voice your comments and concerns on ‘VIVA NEW MEXICO: A Statewide Plan for Outdoor Recreation” (SCORP) Draft.http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/scorp/documents/151002_VivaNewMexicoDraftStrategicPlanforweb.pdf

    “VIVA NEW MEXICO” is a strategic plan that identifies the priorities and actions for our outdoor recreation resources that will have the greatest impact on New Mexican’s lives economically and physically. We want to hear about your needs and desires for outdoor recreation so we can target our financial resources to have the greatest impact. In the SCORP process, we have identified many options to achieve these goals and we’re asking you to tell us which are most important to you! Here are the key themes:
    o Health
    o Community livability
    o Economic vitality
    o Environmental health

    We would greatly appreciate if you would take a look at the document and then take the survey linked below to help us prioritize the proposed action items so we can target our resources to the things that mean the most to you in the outdoor recreation arena. Go to:http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2377177/Viva-New-Mexico-Comments all comments must be received no later than Friday, November 13, 2015.

    Thank you for your participation!

    Christy Tafoya
    NM State Parks
    Director"
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
  18. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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    NMOHVA December Newsletter:

    View as a webpage


    (See below for Colorado help)

    All We Want for Christmas...

    A NMOHVA Wish List

    The holiday season is almost upon us. NMOHVA has made its list (and checked it twice). What do we want for this coming year?
    • A positive result on the Santa Fe National Forest lawsuit. That's right! We are still waiting for a decision from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The case was argued before the three judge panel in early May and we knew it would probably be 6-9 months before we heard a decision. Let's see.....6-9 months would be about....NOW! We will certainly let everyone know as soon as we get the word.
    • New trail opportunities for our members. No, that is not just wishful thinking. NMOHVA continues to work with a wide variety of agencies to identify and fund additional routes for motorized use.
    • A Box to ride through. Specifically, the Monticello Box. We continue to actively support the Friends of the Box, Inc, the local group that is trying to get this wonderful (and historic) road re-opened for public access.
    • Better cooperation between the motorized community and the federal agencies. We are encouraged by several of the ongoing Forest Plan revisions including specific wording about "working with local volunteer groups" as a way to increase support of recreation opportunities in the face of shrinking agency budgets.
    • No further abuse of the Antiquities Act. We are hopeful that the US Congress would step up and stop the President from being able to create vast new national monuments with the stroke of a pen.
    • A flood of volunteers. NMOHVA accomplished a lot this past year thanks to the continued strong support of our membership. We could do even bigger things with more hands (and minds) to spread out the load.

    Colorado OHV'ers Need Your Help
    And This One is EASY!
    [​IMG]
    COHVCO and its partners are doing a new study of the economic impact of motorized recreation in Colorado. This study will replace the original study completed in 2001 and updated in 2005. As many of you know, the economic contributions from OHV are critically important in the fight against Wilderness proposals, development of plans for the management of federal public lands, and insuring that motorized access remains on public lands.

    As part of this study, COHVCO has asked New Mexico residents who recreate in Colorado to fill out a short questionnaire about spending on their most recent motorized trips. Simply click the link below for the appropriate category of study(atv/sidebyside/motorcycle or Jeep/fullsize 4x4. Filing out this questionnaire will only take a couple of minutes but it is critically important!!! If you have multiple types of vehicles please fill out each appropriate category with the appropriate information.

    Motorcycle, Side by Side and ATV questionnaire: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DNNJY9T

    [​IMG]
    4x4/Jeep questionnaire: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LBK2XZK

    COHVCO plans to have the study completed in approximately one year. Please share this request with all your friends. NMOHVA knows the importance of these economic studies. We continue to try to get one done in New Mexico. Until we do, the best way to support this important information gathering is to support our Colorado brothers and sisters!

    Upcoming Events
    Dec 4 - "Need for Change"/Draft Assessment Comments Due for SFNF Forest Plan Revision
    Dec 5 - New Mexico 4 Wheelers December Meeting/Holiday Party, Rio Rancho, NM
    Dec 6 - NM Trials Association, Observed MC Trials, San Ysidro, NM
    Dec 8 - Las Cruces 4WD Club Meeting, Las Cruces, NM
    Dec 12 - New Mexico 4 Wheelers Annual Christmas Tree Run, Jemez, NM
    Dec 20 - New Mexico 4 Wheelers West Mesa Trail Ride, Rio Rancho, NM
    Jan 2 - New Mexico 4 Wheelers, Trail Ride at Gordy's Hill, Lemitar, NM
    Jan 16 - Benefit Dance for Friends of the Box, T or C, NM

    See the NMOHVA Calendar for all the upcoming event details and contacts.
    Do you have an upcoming 2016 event to share? Contact NMOHVA at
    prez@nmohva.org for a listing in the newsletter and on the NMOHVA website calendar.
     
  19. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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    NMOHVA

    A VERY Rare Opportunity - NOHVCC Hosting Meetings for OHV Input on BLM-Managed Lands

    Last Updated: January 4, 2016

    The National Off Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) is hosting a series of meetings across New Mexico to gather input on how the BLM in New Mexico can better serve the OHV community. Yes, you heard that right! These meetings are being held specifically to gather input from the OHV users in the state!

    This is very different than the "usual" meetings that the public agencies like the BLM typically would hold. The BLM will be there to listen but the meeting is being hosted and run by OHV enthusiasts from NOHVCC. This is a VERY rare opportunity to help define future direction for OHV's on BLM-managed land in New Mexico. NMOHVA encourages all of its members (and all other OHV enthusiasts) to attend. Help NMOHVA spread the word about these meetings!

    You can read all the details on the meetings below in the NOHVCC Invitation Letter.

    Who is NOHVCC? NOHVCC is a national body of OHV recreation enthusiasts. Their mission is to develop and provide a wide spectrum of programs, materials and information, or "tools", to individuals, clubs, associations and agencies in order to further a positive future for responsible OHV recreation. NOHVCC was the sponsor for NMOHVA's initial organizational meeting.

    http://www.nmohva.org/main/download_file.php?id=90&type=news
     
  20. SteveLCetc

    SteveLCetc

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    Forwarded from another list:

    New Mexico Legislature


    The legislature has passed an amendment to the off-road statute (Section 66-3-1011 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1975, Chapter 240, Section 11, as amended)) that allows usage on paved streets and highways. The bill is sitting on the Governor’s desk for signing. Please contact the Governor’s office and support this bill and ask for her to sign it into law. This is a great step forward against the ever increasing restrictions on off-road vehicle use in rural areas such as in the Santa Fe National Forest we are all interested in. While we enjoy the new paved section of NM126 overall, it put new impediments for those of us around that area to just move from one part of the valley to another. This looks like a great victory for riders both in our area but also for all you on the east side. I had been working with my Representative Kelly Fajardo before the legislature to ask for a change to the existing law and apparently others had been doing the same across the state. The votes for it in both the Senate and House was overwhelming. However I note that my own Senator for Valencia County, Michael Sanchez voted against it. I will remember that for the next election!