Thursday, September 10, 2009

Salmon-Challis National Forest makes final decision on motorized recreation use


The Salmon-Challis National Forest issued a final decision on Thursday regarding summer motorized recreation use in the forest, ending a three-year travel management planning process that started in May 2006.

The Record of Decision (ROD) designates 2,670 miles of roads and 864 miles of trails for motorized use for a total of 3,534 miles of motorized routes forest-wide, officials said. This is an increase of 110 miles of motorized routes, compared to the existing system, officials said. The decision also forbids cross-country travel by motorized vehicles in the forest.

Information about the final ROD can be found on the Salmon-Challis National Forest web page.

The Salmon-Challis National Forest received more than 9,000 emails and comments when it first asked for public input about summertime motorized recreation in the forest, and another 400 comments during the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) stage.

The final decision by Salmon-Challis Supervisor Bill Wood is subject to appeal in the next 45 days. If no appeals are filed, the Salmon-Challis expects to issue Motor Vehicle Use Maps that provide information about motorized roads and trail routes in late 2009.

All of Idaho’s national forests have been working through travel management plans for motorized recreation:
• The Clearwater National Forest recently extended its public comment period on its draft EIS until Oct. 2. Comments should be sent to comments-northern-clearwater@fs.fed.us.
• The Idaho Panhandle National Forests are still working on travel management plans.
• The Payette and Sawtooth national forests have completed their travel management plans, and the Boise national forest has completed travel planning for all but two of its ranger districts.

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