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Tellico: proposed rule change

Discussion in 'Southeast Region' started by bigjbear, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

    Feb 18, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Marietta GA
    From Southern's web site (www.sfwda.org)

    Important: New Proposed Tellico Restrictions
    [​IMG] January 4, 2006 [​IMG]
    The US Forest Service is proposing new rules and restrictions at Tellico. You can (and should) write them a letter with your comments. The public comment period runs through January 13, 2006.
    The restrictions proposed by the US Forest Service are:
    1. Winter closure to motorized vehicle of the following trails from January 1 through April 15 of each year:
      • Lower Trail #2 (0.7 mile),
      • Trail #7 (0.6 mile) and that portion of Trail #6 from the intersection with Trail #7 to the intersection with Trail #4 (0.4 mile),
      • Trail #9 (0.8 mile), and
      • Trail #10 (3.7 miles).
    2. Prohibition of overnight camping along Trail #1 and Trail #5 unless designated for such use. Also prohibited would be overnight camping in the parking facilities at Allen Gap and State Line.
    Our comments on proposed rule 1:
    Obviously, we are not happy with any proposals to close trails at Tellico for the winter. We understand that some other multi-use recreation areas have seasonal winter closures. Many of the Forest Service areas close in the winter, but most private areas remain open in the winter. While we do not think winter closure is the best course of action to solve the run-off problems, we do understand that there may be a need for seasonal closures on Lower Trail 2 and the Peckerwood Connector at Trail 7 when the freeze-thaw cycle is happening.
    Lower Trail #2 runs close to Tipton Creek for a considerable length. The biggest problems on this trail are the illegal bypasses by ATV users who cannot make the tough sections of the trail. It's already illegal for ATVs to use Lower Trail #2, but they continue to do so and the Forest Service law enforcement is not there to prevent it. An effective law enforcement presence would go a looooong way to solve this problem, but apparently that is not happening.
    Trail #7 (Peckerwood connector) bridges over and runs close to Peckerwood Creek. It's a difficult trail and some run-off may be getting into the creek. Because of the proximity of the trail to the creek, it's difficult to keep all run-off out of the creek during weather that winter may bring.
    Trail 9 is located in an area of the forest where top soil is very shallow before giving way to rock underneath. Any erosion here can be easily controlled by water bars and silt traps. Trail 9 is also quite a distance from a creek or wet weather conveyance, thereby providing a good opportunity to implement erosion-control devices before any run-off reaches a body of water. We believe that the main source of erosion on Trail 9 is not from the well-maintained trail, but from the bypasses and spiderweb "go arounds" made mostly by the ATVs riding illegally on this trail. Controlling the ATV traffic on this trail would improve water quality more effectively than a seasonal closure.
    Trail #10 is an ATV-only trail. Sections of it run close to creeks and the soil of some of the sections are vulnerable to the freeze-thaw cycle during the winter. SFWDA has performed maintenance on all trails in the ORV area and will to continue to do so. With Trail 10 being an ATV-only trail, if an ATV group is willing to help with this maintenance, as an association we would be willing to partner with them in a joined effort.
    Past discussions with the Forest Service on winter closure dates have always been for the dates of January 1 through March 31. We do not agree with or see a need for a closure into April!
    An important consideration is that Lower Trail 2 and Trail 9 are already off-limits to ATVs. Most of the problems on these trails are caused by ATVs bypassing the difficult sections off-the-trail through the woods. The ATVs are there due to lack of law enforcement. Lower Trail 2 starts off the main gravel road and is easily accessible to street vehicles - why can't law enforcement be there now? If these trails are closed during the winter, will there be law enforcement officers to enforce the new restrictions? Otherwise, what's the point of more rules if there is no plan to enforce them? Ditto for Trail 10 - what's the plan to make sure the trail is not used during the winter closure?
    The Forest Service proposal calls for closing only a few trails that of particular concern. We oppose the winter closure of Trail #9 and we could accept a winter closure period of not longer than January 1 through March 1 or possibly March 31.

    Our comments on proposed rule 2:
    The prohibition of overnight camping along Trails #1 and #5 has come up several times before. This issue was addressed in a formal proposal in July 2002 but due to the response from user groups this proposal was never implemented. The reason for the proposal is that there are a few campers that won't stay out of the creeks and riparian areas (creek banks). We have built extensive metal barriers to keep ATVs on the road and out of the riparian areas. This helped a lot but didn't totally eliminate the problem. Under today's environmental laws, it's unacceptable to walk all over creek banks or drive an ATV through these areas. These few campers are spoiling the camping opportunities for everyone. In addition, these camping areas do not have immediate access to toilets and some people are "going behind the tree" instead of going to the toilet at State Line.
    Note that the proposed rule contains the qualifier "unless designated for such use." If we cannot keep camping opportunities on Trails 1 and 5, new designated camp sites in appropriate areas will need to be built along these trails. This would recover some of the lost camping opportunities and present fewer environmental problems in the future. People who have a strong desire to camp on trails 1 and 5 are encouraged to volunteer to help build designated camp sites.
    The proposed rule would prohibit camping along Trails #1 and #5, but parking would still be allowed.
    There is already no camping at the Allen Gap parking lot. Due to the limited parking spaces available at Allen Gap and State Line, we think that these two parking lots should be for parking only and not camping.
    We are not in favor of camping restrictions along trails #1 and #5 unless new camping opportunities are made available at the earliest possible time.

    As you read our comments above, you may notice our reluctance about these proposals. We are not truly in favor of them, but we are compromising and accepting some of them in the interest of improving the downstream water quality and ensuring the long-term existence of the Upper Tellico OHV Area. As always, SFWDA will continue to maintain the trails and do everything in our power to keep Tellico an enjoyable experience. In return, we ask all users to follow the rules and help take care of Tellico and we expect the Forest Service to do their best to enforce the rules so that they fully serve the purpose for which they were implemented.
    Writing Your Letter

    You can use the above comments as a guide to write your letter and you are encouraged to add your own opinions and comments. Be specific with what you favor and oppose and why. If possible, give alternate actions or better ideas.
    Please write your letter in your own words. These letters are the most valuable. Form letters or petitions are mostly ignored because they provide little or no useful input and no new ideas. You might also include how much you and your family enjoys 4-wheeling at Tellico - and be sure to thank the Forest Service for the opportunities at Tellico.
    Put your name, full address, and date in your letter - and be sure to sign your letter!
    The Forest Service must receive your comments by January 13, 2006.
    Mail your letter to:
    R E Vann
    Tusquitee District Ranger
    123 Woodland Drive
    Murphy, NC 28906
    Or you can email your letter:
    To: rsemingson@fs.fed.us
    Cc: revann@fs.fed.us
    Or at the last minute you can fax your letter to:
    R E Vann
    Tusquitee District Ranger

    [SIZE=+1]Please tell all your friends and get them to write letters, too![/SIZE]​
  2. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

    Feb 18, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Marietta GA
    crap, just noticed the cut off date was fri

    this one caught me napping

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