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SKID MARKS #30

Discussion in 'Land Use' started by mudfanatic, Dec 19, 2000.

  1. mudfanatic

    mudfanatic 1/2 ton status

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    Subject: SKID MARKS #30


    SKID MARKS
    ISSUE #30 December 15, 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.

    For Skid Marks inquiries between December 14 and January 15, please contact
    Marnie at Wildlands CPR's Missoula office (mailto:marnie@wildlandscpr.org,
    406 543-9551).

    ---

    CONTENTS:

    1. STRATEGY FOR OFF ROAD VEHICLES ON BLM LANDS ISSUED

    2. GROUPS FILE LAWSUIT TO OVERTURN SNOWMOBILE BAN IN YELLOWSTONE

    3. ARCTIC CAT ANNOUNCES CLEANER, QUIETER FOUR-STROKE SNOWMOBILE

    4. GAO REPORT SHOWS SNOWMOBILES AND PERSONAL WATERCRAFT IMPROPERLY MANAGED
    ON PUBLIC LANDS

    5. NEW YORK TOWN CONSIDERS LAW TO RESTRICT SNOWMOBILES AND ORVS

    6. ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS WITHDRAW FROM ORV WORK GROUPS

    7. ROAD PROPOSED THROUGH GREAT SMOKEY MOUNTAINS NP

    8. MUD RALLY DAMAGES IDAHO CREEK


    ---

    STRATEGY FOR OFF ROAD VEHICLES ON BLM LANDS ISSUED

    The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a draft national
    management strategy intended to promote environmentally sound off highway
    vehicle (OHV) use on BLM managed public lands. The draft strategy is now
    available for a 30 day public comment period that runs until January 3,
    2001. Though the draft management strategy for ORVs does not
    itself limit vehicle use on BLM land, it lays the groundwork for field
    managers to do so if they believe it is necessary to protect wildlife and
    the environment. The new National Off-Highway Vehicle Strategy would
    restrict vehicle use in Wilderness Study Areas to roads and trails that
    existed when the study areas were first identified. Off-highway vehicle
    groups had asked the BLM to recognize routes that had been created since
    the areas were established, while environmental groups wanted the BLM to
    close all routes inside the areas to OHVs.

    The Blue Ribbon Coalition feels that the draft appears too enthusiastic
    about enforcing the Endangered Species Act, either by limiting access or
    closing areas. But according to the December 6 Los Angeles Times, Katie
    Fite of
    Committee for Idaho's High Desert said the plan "leaves ORVs as unregulated
    as if nothing had happened. Rare-species habitat [in Idaho] is being torn
    to shreds by ORVs under BLM's current lack of management." Others express
    concern that the strategy is part of the BLM's continuing effort to
    commercialize use of public lands. "The BLM and their private partners
    have embarked upon a recreation management paradigm to commercialize,
    privatize and motorize recreational opportunities on America's public
    lands" said Scott Silver of Wild Wilderness. "Those who are prepared to
    pay, will get to play." The draft strategy is posted on the BLM's website
    at: http://www.blm.gov. Comments may be submitted on the website or by
    sending email to the BLM at: ohv_comment_manager@blm.gov

    ---

    GROUPS FILE LAWSUIT TO OVERTURN SNOWMOBILE BAN IN YELLOWSTONE

    Snowmobile groups and manufacturers have sued to overturn a ban on
    snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks that was
    announced by the National Park Service last month to protect the parks'
    natural beauty and wildlife. The International Snowmobile Manufacturers
    Association and the Blue Ribbon Coalition filed the suit in U.S. District
    Court in Wyoming, charging that NPS was "arbitrary and capricious" and in
    violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. The group said
    snowmobiles do not disrupt wildlife as claimed, and that the machines emit
    less pollution during the winter than do the hundreds of thousands of
    vehicles that pass through the park each summer.

    ISMA says the Environmental Protection Agency is working on standards for
    snowmobiles, without which NPS has no basis for its restrictions. NPS has
    said the industry has had years to come up with quieter, cleaner machines
    but has failed to do so. John Catton, a spokesman for the Greater
    Yellowstone Coalition conservation group, called the lawsuit unfortunate
    but not unexpected.He said the snowmobile ban is "rooted in science, law
    and extensive public comment."

    ---

    ARCTIC CAT ANNOUNCES CLEANER, QUIETER FOUR-STROKE SNOWMOBILE

    Snowmobile manufacturer Arctic Cat Inc. announced a limited production run
    of its new cleaner, quieter four-stroke snowmobile. The company is building
    100 four-stroke snowmobiles, including 50 machines that will be available
    for public use in Yellowstone National Park this season. Arctic Cat is the
    first major manufacturer to deliver four-stroke engine technology in a
    snowmobile. The four-stroke product runs quieter and produces lower
    emissions than typical two-stroke machines. They do not
    produce the blue smoke that is more typical of two-stroke engines. The
    machines also use electronic fuel injection (EFI) instead of carburetion,
    making the sled 65 percent more fuel efficient than a two-stroke engine.
    Arctic Cat said that current four-stroke technology does not meet the
    performance needs of many users, but these models are ideal for a certain
    segment of snowmobilers who want a nearly exhaust-free, quieter ride at
    trail speeds.

    ---

    GAO REPORT SHOWS SNOWMOBILES AND PERSONAL WATERCRAFT IMPROPERLY MANAGED ON
    PUBLIC LANDS: A report recently released by the General Accounting Office
    found that the four national land management agencies have not properly
    managed snowmobile and personal watercraft use on public lands. According
    to the report, about 60 percent of the agencies' jurisdictions had not
    collected any data on the impact of the machines, and another 20 percent
    said they'd collected too little data to make decisions about where the
    machines should and shouldn't be allowed. The report noted that the
    agencies lack the manpower and money necessary for thorough studies, with
    more than two-thirds of the managers interviewed saying they lacked people
    to enforce restrictions already in place. In one example cited in the
    report, the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming has only two enforcement
    officers to cover 2.2 million acres. For a copy of the report see
    http://www.gao.gov"

    ---

    NEW YORK TOWN CONSIDERS LAW TO RESTRICT SNOWMOBILES AND ORVs.

    According to the November 30 Syracuse Post-Standard, the Elbridge village
    board is considering a law that would regulate where and when ORVs and
    snowmobiles can run in the village. The city has received many complaints
    about snowmobiles and ORVs tearing up sidewalks, private lawns and parks.
    Weedsport Winter Wanderers' snowmobile club members want a law that allows
    them to use Elbridge streets. That provision is needed to keep them from
    using village sidewalks. The proposed law reserves village sidewalks to
    pedestrians. The law would restrict snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles,
    mini- bikes and similar vehicles to road shoulders and village rights-of-
    way not already reserved for foot traffic.
    They could only use that space to get to off-road trails, unless they're
    on a route designated by the trustees. The law also would set a 10 mph
    speed limit, restrict times of operation, mandate age minimums for
    operators and forbid the use of vehicles on private or village property,
    including parks and public lands, without permission.

    ---

    ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS WITHDRAW FROM ORV WORK GROUPS

    Four environmental organizations notified the U. S. Forest Service that
    they are withdrawing from the working groups that the Forest Service
    established to help develop policy for off-road vehicle use on the
    Apalachicola, Osceola, and Ocala National Forests in Florida. In a letter
    to Forest Supervisor Marsha Kearney, the organizations -- Defenders of
    Wildlife, Sierra Club, Marion Audubon, and Putnam County Environmental
    Council -- stated that they are taking the action because they are
    "frustrated" by the process due to the lack of science-based landscape
    level planning methodology, inconsistent information, participation and
    decision making by Forest Service staff, and the lopsided representation,
    where recreation demands by user groups are broken out by the various
    types, eg., motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, jeep clubs, mountain bikes,
    without equal representation and consideration
    for ecologically- minded recreationists. The four organizations intend to
    review research already completed about the impacts of ORVs on
    the environment and to gather new site specific data as needed. They will
    provide this information to the Forest Service during the initial steps of
    its environmental analysis process (beginning early next year) and will
    help the Forest Service develop an ORV policy that protects
    the natural resources of the national forests.

    ---

    ROAD PROPOSED THROUGH GREAT SMOKEY MOUNTAINS NP

    Residents of Swain County in western North Carolina want to see a road
    built along the north shore of Fontana Lake, through Great Smokey Mountains
    National Park, as a tourism boon for their county. Swain County
    Commissioners contend that the federal government promised them a new road
    when State Road 288 was inundated by the Tennessee Valley Authority lake in
    1943. Since 1943, State Road 28 was built along the south shore of the
    lake and TVA turned the north shore land
    over to the National Park Service. The NPS says the road should not be
    built because it would reduce the amount of wildlife and construction would
    release acids and heavy metals that would pollute streams, killing aquatic
    life. However, the issue escalated when U.S. Rep. Taylor, R-Brevard, and
    Sen. Helms , R - NC, got $16 million inserted into the federal budget
    specifically for this road, an initiative that, according to the November
    2 Asheville Citizen-Times, subverts both responsible budget procedures and
    North Carolina's law for equitable distribution of federal highway money.
    The $ 16 million would do little except pay for the environmental impact
    study. It would cost at least $ 136 million to build the road.

    ---

    MUD RALLY DAMAGES IDAHO CREEK

    An off-road vehicle mud rally did so much damage to Hayden Creek and the
    land around it that protected fish could be killed in the spring runoff,
    the Forest Service said. Drivers left the area pocked with rutted-out
    holes, one big enough to swallow a full-size truck. Officials are trying to
    determine the cost of repairing the damage and stopping topsoil from being
    flushed into spawning beds, which could choke the fish to death, officials
    said. The stream provides habitat to bull trout, which are protected as
    threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and Westslope cutthroat trout,
    which environmentalists have been pressing to be protected as well.


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

    Please keep in touch with us about your roads and motorized recreation
    work. Questions about Skid Marks should be directed to Marnie Criley at
    marnie@wildlandscpr.org Please send e-mail action alerts to
    WildlandsCPR@wildlandscpr.org.

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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 Center for Preventing Roads (Colorado office)
    P.O. Box 2353
    Boulder, Colorado 80306-2353
    (303) 247-0998
    prebles@indra.com

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

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