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SKID MARKS #26 (an online magazine)

Discussion in 'Land Use' started by mudfanatic, Oct 29, 2000.

  1. mudfanatic

    mudfanatic 1/2 ton status

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    -----Original Message-----
    From: Jacob Smith [mailto:prebles@indra.com]
    Sent: Friday, October 27, 2000 2:53 PM
    To: skid marks - posting
    Subject: SKID MARKS #26


    SKID MARKS
    ISSUE #26 October 27, 2000

    Skid Marks, Wildlands Center for Preventing Roads' (usually) biweekly e-mail
    newsletter, reports on activist efforts to challenge roads and motorized
    recreation nationwide. Skid Marks shares instructive and precedent-setting
    successes and failures in the campaign to halt motorized abuse of wildland
    ecosystems.

    ---

    CONTENTS:

    1. BLM AGREES TO CLOSE 48,000 ACRES OF DUNES TO ORVS

    2. JUDGE REQUIRES FOREST SERVICE TO COMPLETE ANALYSIS OF ORV IMPACTS TO
    GRIZZ

    3. MEDICINE BOW NATIONAL FOREST RELEASES TRAVEL PLAN

    4. STUDY FINDS SNOWMOBILE POLLUTION IN SNOW

    5. WYOMING FOREST RANGER ADMITS CLEARING UNAUTHORIZED SNOWMOBILE TRAIL

    6. MAN SENTENCED IN DESTRUCTION OF MEADOW

    Correction: In the previous issue of Skid Marks we mistakenly identified
    Representative Greg Walden of Oregon, a sponsor of the Steens Mountain bill,
    as a Democrat. He belongs, rather, to the Republican Party.

    ---

    BLM AGREES TO CLOSE 48,000 ACRES OF DUNES TO ORVS

    The Bureau of Land Management last week agreed to temporarily ban off-road
    vehicles from a 48,000 acre area of the Algodones Dunes in southern
    California, known as the Glamis Dunes, because of impacts to imperiled
    species. The closure comes as the first success in a lawsuit filed by the
    Center for Biological Diversity to protect the endemic Peirson's milk-vetch,
    listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The ban will remain
    in place until the BLM adopts a permanent plan to protect the milkvetch and
    other imperiled species, including the Colorado fringe-toad lizard and the
    Algodones Dunes sunflower.

    The Center filed its lawsuit in March, arguing that the BLM had failed to
    consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service, as they are required to do under
    the Endangered Species Act, on management of the dunes area. The settlement
    brings the total protected area in the dunes to 80,000 acres, while another
    70,000 remain open to ORVs. The Algodones Dunes, part of the 10.5 million
    acre California Desert Conservation Area, are well known to the BLM as a law
    enforcement nightmare.

    Attorney Brendan Cummings and Earthjustice attorney Jay Tutchton are
    representing the Center in the lawsuit. Additional information on the
    Algodones Dunes, Peirson's milk-vetch, and other desert species of the
    southern California desert is available at:
    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/goldenstate/algodones.html

    ---

    JUDGE REQUIRES FOREST SERVICE TO COMPLETE ANALYSIS OF ORV IMPACTS TO GRIZZ

    U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard W. Anderson ordered the Forest Service and
    Fish and Wildlife Service to conclude their ongoing informal consultation
    regarding the impacts of dirt bikes, four-wheelers, and snowmobiles to
    grizzly bear and bear habitat on the Gallatin National Forest by December
    15. The order, issued October 17 in Billings, Montana, maintains that the
    "evidence indicates that human intrusion into grizzly habitat can no longer
    be managed simply by regulating the density of roads and trails." It
    further indicates that "off-road vehicles and snowmobiles may be encroaching
    upon core recovery areas." The Court also noted that "the impact of
    off-road motorized vehicles was not previously considered" by the Gallatin
    and FWS. Shawn Regnerus of the Predator Conservation Alliance asserts that
    "their informal consultation cannot continue indefinitely. The December 15
    results will show whether or not a formal consultation is necessary."

    Although Judge Anderson turned down conservationists' request for an
    injunction, the environmental plaintiffs are pleased with the result: "The
    Gallatin and FWS now have an opportunity to craft a solution that restores
    balance on the National Forest, accommodating the needs of grizzly bears,
    elk, fish, and other wildlife, as well as the interests of motorized
    recreationists," said Jim Barrett of the Park County Environmental Council.
    Sierra Club, Park County Environmental Coalition, Predator Conservation
    Alliance, and Biodiversity Legal Foundation filed the lawsuit in February,
    arguing that the Forest Service violated the Endangered Species Act by
    failing to address ORV impacts to grizzly bear on the Gallatin National
    Forest. Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund is representing the environmental
    coalition.

    ---

    MEDICINE BOW NATIONAL FOREST RELEASES TRAVEL PLAN

    The Medicine Bow National Forest in southern Wyoming released its
    long-awaited Travel Management Plan last week. The decision, which does not
    apply to snowmobiles, restricts motorized use to designated routes on the
    Forest, and allows travel up to three hundred feet away from designated
    routes for activities such as camping and game retrieval. The decision also
    requires that routes currently causing considerable adverse impacts be
    immediately closed, although it does not specifically identify any such
    routes. The travel plan includes a second phase, involving the evaluation of
    each user-created route for its environmental impacts and its contribution
    to the travel management system. The process is scheduled to last five to
    seven years.

    Local environmentalists were disappointed with the decision, however,
    because it will continue to allow motorized use on numerous other
    user-created motorized routes. Environmentalists argue that legitimizing
    those illegally-created routes rewards the illegal activity. "This is just
    another example of the Forest Service taking the easy way out instead of
    confronting the serious environmental degradation caused by off-road
    vehicles," said Jeff Kessler of Biodiversity Associates, a Laramie, Wyoming
    based group.

    The Decision Notice is available at
    http://www.fs.fed.us/mrnf/nepa/mbtm/dn.pdf, and the Environmental Analysis
    is available at http://www.fs.fed.us/mrnf/nepa/mbtm/ea_final_web.pdf.

    ---

    STUDY FINDS SNOWMOBILE POLLUTION IN SNOW

    A just-released study concludes that snowmobiles are the likely cause of
    chemical contamination in snow in the Maroon Creek Valley in central
    Colorado, reports today's Aspen Times. The study was conducted last winter
    by the Colorado School of Mines and analyzed the chemical content of snow
    near a snowmobile route. The study found "an unnatural level of pollution,"
    including concentrations of 20 hydrocarbon compounds, some toxic and
    carcinogenic, at least 50 feet above the snowmobile route. Sponsors of the
    study included the School of Mines, the National Park Service, and Public
    Counsel of the Rockies. Further studies of the area are planned.

    ---

    WYOMING FOREST RANGER ADMITS CLEARING UNAUTHORIZED SNOWMOBILE TRAIL

    A Forest Service Ranger in northern Wyoming admitted fault in the illegal
    construction of a snowmobile trail on the Shoshone National Forest. Wapiti
    District Ranger Brent Larson admitted that he violated the National
    Environmental Policy Act when he authorized an employee of Wyoming's trails
    program and a state contractor to construct the roughly two mile snowmobile
    trail. Neighboring landowners were upset because more than 100 trees were
    logged, large boulders moved, and official trail markers posted. District
    Ranger Larson halted work on the uncompleted project because of concerns
    about the presence of lynx, listed as threatened under the Endangered
    Species Act. Local conservationists are dissatisfied, however. Liz Howell
    of the Wyoming Sierra Club comments, "Just because they stopped construction
    doesn't mean they aren't going to use it."

    ---

    MAN SENTENCED IN DESTRUCTION OF MEADOW

    An Aspen, Colorado resident was sentenced to 1,000 hours of community
    service last week for intentionally damaging a wet meadow in August with his
    jeep on the White River National Forest. His meadow ravaging was abruptly
    halted when the jeep became stuck in the mud. The culprit, Kent J. Muer, is
    required to pay $436 towards restoration of the wetland. In addition, Muir
    was fined for failing to have a driver's license and failing to register the
    vehicle. Muer's community service will involve working with the Forest
    Service to develop a presentation on the responsible use of off-road
    vehicles.

    *********************************************

    Please keep in touch with us about your roads and motorized recreation work.
    Questions about Skid Marks should be directed to Jacob Smith at
    prebles@indra.com. Please send e-mail action alerts to
    WildlandsCPR@wildrockies.org.

    TO SUBSCRIBE
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    Skid Marks is brought to you by the friendly road-rippers at Wildlands CPR.
    Thanks for your support and all of your efforts on behalf of wild places and
    imperiled species.

    *********************************************

    Jacob Smith, ORV Policy Coordinator
    Wildlands CPR
    P.O. Box 2353
    Boulder, Colorado 80306-2353
    (303) 247-0998
    prebles@indra.com

    Wildlands Center for Preventing Roads (main office)
    PO Box 7516
    Missoula, MT 59807
    406/543-9551
    WildlandsCPR@wildrockies.org
    http://www.wildrockies.org/WildCPR/

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