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SKID MARKS ISSUE #31

Discussion in 'Land Use' started by mudfanatic, Jan 19, 2001.

  1. mudfanatic

    mudfanatic 1/2 ton status

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    SKID MARKS
    ISSUE #31 January 17, 2001

    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. PRESIDENT CLINTON SIGNS ROADLESS PLAN

    2. DOMBECK SIGNS LONG TERM ROAD STRATEGY

    3. HIGHWAY THREATENS MOUNT ST. HELENS ROADLESS LANDS

    4. TRI-STATE OHV PLAN RELEASED

    5. ESA PETITION FILED TO PREVENT ROAD KILL ENDANGERMENT

    6. REPORT OUTLINES ORV DAMAGE TO WILDERNESS STUDY AREAS

    7. ORVS DAMAGING OWYHEE-BRUNEAU CANYONLANDS

    ---

    PRESIDENT CLINTON SIGNS ROADLESS PLAN
    On January 5, President Clinton signed the Roadless Plan to protect 58.5
    million acres of inventoried roadless areas from logging and road
    construction. The Final Rule includes immediate protection of the Tongass
    National Forest except that timber sales with a published DEIS as of the
    date of publication of the rule in the Federal Register will proceed to
    completion. The stewardship language has been dropped from the rule
    altogether. Instead, the decision will prohibit commercial logging in
    roadless areas but allow, by exception, limited restoration logging in
    tightly defined circumstances of (mostly) small trees. New oil and gas
    leases for currently unleased areas will have a provision that prohibits
    road construction within roadless areas. Marnie Criley, Wildland CPR's
    Road Policy Coordinator, praised the final rule but stated that the
    environmental community still has work to do to protect roadless areas.
    "Over the next 40 years, the final rule only reduces road construction in
    roadless areas by 64% due to the exceptions, and it doesn't address ORVs or
    smaller unroaded areas at all," she said. To view the Final Policy go
    to:http://roadless.fs.fed.us.

    ---

    DOMBECK SIGNS LONG TERM ROAD STRATEGY

    On the same day that President Clinton signed the Roadless Plan, Forest
    Service Chief Dombeck signed the National Forest System Road Management
    Strategy. The Road Management Strategy addresses the management of roads
    on all Forest Service lands. The new rule changes the focus of road
    management from "transportation development" to "managing access within the
    capability of the land." On-the-ground decisions about road management is
    left to individual forests, but it does provide direction towards
    decreasing road construction and increasing road decommissioning. There
    are currently 380,000 miles of classified roads on Forest Service lands and
    at least another 60,000 user-created unauthorized routes. The Forest
    Service can not afford to maintain this road system. Marnie Criley, Roads
    Policy Coordinator with Wildlands CPR, is concerned that the new rule is
    still too discretionary. "Roads are causing extreme ecological damage to
    public lands and yet this rule has no specific language on which roads to
    close, how to deal with user-created routes or designating ecologically
    sensitive areas where roads shouldn't be built," she stated. The new rule
    does introduce a roads analysis process in which the best available science
    and public input will help make road management decisions. View the Road
    Management Strategy at http://www.fs.fed.us/news/roads/

    ---

    HIGHWAY THREATENS MOUNT ST. HELENS ROADLESS LANDS

    The Washington Department of Transportation is studying the feasibility of
    extending State Route 504 (Spirit Lake Memorial Highway) from its current
    terminus at the Johnston Ridge Observatory east through the heart of the
    Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument to Forest Road 99 at Windy
    Ridge. Highway proponents argue that the tourist highway extension is
    necessary to improve the economies of local counties by making it easier to
    visit Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens and the Columbia River Gorge in a
    one-day loop. The Mount St. Helens Protective Association has organized a
    coalition of environmental and recreation organizations to oppose the
    highway. They contend that the highway would carve through the center of a
    wild landscape, would undercut the largest landslide in recorded history
    and that the sights and sounds of motor vehicles would mar grand views of
    the Pumice Plain, Spirit Lake, and Loowit Falls. The coalition also states
    that road boosters have no economic research to support their assumption
    that more cars going through rural communities will translate into
    significant economic benefits. The U.S. Forest Service, which manages the
    monument, concurs that the highway is a bad idea. An agency memo says,
    "Proposed roads that do not already exist within the Monument are in
    conflict with the (Monument Comprehensive Management) Plan." Maps and
    public information materials are available at the feasibility study
    website: www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/SR504/

    ---

    TRI-STATE OHV PLAN RELEASED

    The BLM and Forest Service have released their OHV plan for Montana, South
    Dakota and North Dakota. The plan will eliminate - with some exceptions -
    motorized wheeled cross-country travel on BLM and Forest Service lands in
    the tri-state area. The agencies have likewise set up a future process
    where trails and roads will be evaluated on a site specific basis to
    determine which will be designated as open, closed, or restricted to ORVs.
    Cross-country travel does not include travel on "clearly evident" single-
    and two-track routes created by "use and continuous passage of motorized
    vehicles over a period of years." So, use on user-created, unauthorized
    routes may, in effect, continue. According to Ronni Flannery of the
    National Off-Road Vehicle Coalition "the agencies may think they are
    mitigating this by requiring that the route - to be exempt from the ban -
    be "clearly evident" and have been there "over a period of years. However,
    the agencies' paradigm puts a significant burden on anyone challenging
    travel on user-created routes." To view the documents on line, point your
    browser to http://www.mt.blm.gov/ea/ohv/index.html

    ---

    ESA PETITION FILED TO PREVENT ROAD KILL ENDANGERMENT
    The Northwest Ecosystem Alliance (NWEA) and Tahoma Audubon Society have
    petitioned for emergency ESA listing for the western gray squirrel in
    Washington state to keep it from "becoming road kill." According to NWEA,
    the emergency listing is needed to protect the squirrels from a proposed
    road that would dissect some of their "best remaining oak woodland habitat"
    on the Ft. Lewis Army base. The Cross-Base Highway - envisioned to
    connect Interstate 5 with suburban Spanaway - would be four to five lanes
    through the largest intact section of wildlife habitat on the base. The
    highway proposal has been condemned by state and federal wildlife agencies
    because no alternative routes are being considered. "Several alternatives
    to the Cross-Base Highway are available that would protect critical
    wildlife habitat and still provide for economic development in the Spanaway
    area," said Kirk Kirkland of the Tahoma Audubon Society. "With the filing
    of this petition, highway planners must now consider environmental problems
    equal with the other social and economic problems created by this highway."


    ---

    REPORT OUTLINES ORV DAMAGE TO WILDERNESS STUDY AREAS

    The National Off-Road Vehicle Coalition recently released a report that
    shows widespread damage on thousands of acres of Wilderness Study Areas
    throughout the country. The report found that the Bureau of Land Management
    has failed to prevent off-road vehicle damage to Wilderness Study Areas
    despite the agency's legal obligation to do so. Under law, the BLM must
    protect the special qualities the agency itself identified within
    Wilderness Study Areas. Currently, 94 percent of the BLM's 264 million
    acres are open to off-road vehicle use; only five million acres are
    protected as Wilderness. The report finds that to prevent further damage,
    the BLM should immediately prohibit ORVs in Wilderness Study Areas, and all
    other areas the BLM has inventoried and determined to possess wilderness
    characteristics; ensure future wilderness quality lands are protected from
    ORV damage; and allocate sufficient funds to monitor and enforce measures
    taken to protect WSAs and other wilderness quality land from ORV damage.
    To read the report on line go to: http://www.wilderness.org

    ---

    ORVS DAMAGING OWYHEE-BRUNEAU CANYONLANDS

    The National Off-Road Vehicle Coalition contends that off-road vehicles are
    chewing up some of Idaho's most pristine desert landscapes such as Big
    Jack's and Little Jack's creeks in the Bureau of Land Management managed
    Owyhee-Bruneau Canyonlands. The BLM says they try to encourage the
    four-wheel-drive trucks, motorcycles and ATVs to stay on existing trails
    within the study area, but signs do not provide direction, making Big and
    Little Jack's creeks essentially wide open to motorized travel, the
    coalition said. "It is particularly disturbing that these vehicles tear up
    streams, pollute the water, cause severe soil erosion and destroy wildlife
    habitat in backcountry wilderness areas that are supposed to be protected,"
    said Lahsha Johnston, regional associate for The Wilderness Society in
    Idaho. Mike Medberry of American Lands states that because these vehicles
    are ripping up land so special, the conservation groups in Idaho suggest
    Owyhee-Bruneau Canyonland's inclusion as a national canyonlands monument

    <font color=red>get involved with land issues or lose the land</font color=red>
     

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