The details of the Forest Service's draft alternatives, which were open to public comments until September 28th, are complex. You can download PDF maps that show all the proposed changes in color here (scroll down to middle of page)
We suggest you look at Atlernative D PDF maps Its a big file at 9+mb, but you can zoom in and out to finds areas that you know best.
Help field check routes
The conservation community is organizing field checking on some priority routes this summer and fall. Volunteers will travel an assigned route and document conditions that will justify closing it.
Mappers using smart phones, a camera and GPS, or one of Wild Connections IPads will record specific data. Wild Connections will have training sessions.Contact Jim Lockhart at firstname.lastname@example.org or (719) 385-0045 for more information or to volunteer.
Learn more about travel planning and the Forest
If you want to really dig into the background, sign up for the PSI’s TMP newsletter, and explore current information from the PSI go towww.psitravelmanagement.org
Background Motorized use on 500 miles of the Pike-San Isabel was challenged in court, leading to the current planning process
Four years ago Quiet Use Coalition, Rocky Mountain Wild, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, The Wilderness Society and Wild Earth Guardians "filed a lawsuit challenging the Pike-San Isabel's permitting motorized vehcile use on over 500 miles of mtorized roads and trails without first consulting the public or examining the potential environmental effects. Some of the routes are in areas zoned for not-motorized use only; others were located in important big-game winter range and imperilled species' habitat." (Earth Jusice, press release)
The U. S. District Court announced the settlement on November 20th. The Forest Serice is noe required to review all motorized use on the foreat and develop a plan that defines the type and location of motorized use across the Pike-San Isabel with in five years.
This is a win for both wildlife and the public and will help protect the forest for the future. Earth Justic represented the conservation groups in this law suit - read more details in their press release.
Illegal route along the South Platte River in Wildcat Canyon. Phot Jean Smith
Travel Management Planning for the Pike and San Isabel National Forests (PSI) continues as the agency considers public comments
The PSI is undertaking an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for travel management across all Ranger Districts.
This EIS will determine which roads and trails would be open for future public motorized use.It has implications for some 500 miles of roads and trails that conservationists believed were improperly displayed on the official Motorized Use Maps, as well as many other routes across the Forests.
Scoping, the public input process that took place in September was the phase that will identify important issues and the needed analysis that will help make informed decisions on proposed actions.
Thanks to all of you who submitted your requests to the Forest Service to establish an ecologically and fiscally sustainable road system that will protect important habitat, wildlife species and meet the recreational needs of citizens.
The Forest Service will spend the next few months addressing issues raised by citizens and completing their reports and analyses of various management possibilities. In the meantime conservation organizations continue to review important routes with further on-the-ground work. In the past this kind of careful documentation has been influential in adding additional areas to the roadless inventory and advocating for more non-motoized trails.
Balancing Motorized and Non-Motorized Recreational Uses
Travel management planning should recognize that the bulk of recreation in Pike San Isabel National Forests is nonmotorized. 90% of National Forest visitors come primarily to participate in non-motorized activities, ranging from wildlife viewing to hiking to hunting. Only about 6.5% of visitors to the Pike San Isabel National Forest participate in off-road vehicle (ORV) use as their primary recreation activity. Nearly 30% engage in hiking or mountain biking.
Funding and Sustainability of Motorized Network
The plan should consider available funding and the effect which it has on the size of the road and motorized trail network which the Forest Service can maintain. According to the Pike San Isabel Travel Analysis Report (TAR), the two National Forests receive about $419,538 in revenues annually for road maintenance work but the cost of maintaining the road system is about $1.6 million. Based on the information in the TARs, it appears that the PSI can currently afford to maintain only 24% of its transportation and that even if the agency were to implement the TARs’ recommendations, it could afford just 34% of its transportation. The final TMP must take into account not only road maintenance costs, but also likely levels of Forest Service funding for activities such as route closure, rerouting, rehabilitation, and maintenance, and also funding for patrolling and enforcement.
Proper environmental analysis of the road and motorized route system.
The environmental analysis should look at both the motorized system as a whole and as individual segments. This environmental analysis should include, but not be limited to:
Identification of impacts to threatened and endangered species.
Identification of wildlife impacts due to a denser route network and increased human activity.
Identification of impacts to particularly significant habitat features, such as known wildlife corridors, wildlife concentration or production areas, and summer and winter range.
Identification of impacts to particularly sensitive habitat, such as streams and wetlands.
Closure of illegal routes and illegal off-route use areas.
The planning process should identify illegal routes and areas where illegal use is concentrated, such as hill climbs and mud-bogging areas. Except in areas identified as suitable for expanded motorized recreation, these routes and use areas should be closed and adequate measures adopted to prevent continued illegal use.
Closure, rerouting, or rehabilitation of system routes which are causing adverse impacts.
The plan should provide for prompt closure, rerouting, or rehabilitation of system roads and routes which are identified as causing unacceptable environmental impacts, or resource damage. The plan should also make adequate provision for temporary or seasonal closures where this is appropriate to prevent environmental or resource damage and identify roads or routes where such measures are appropriate.
Closing of unnecessary spurs and short segments.
The plan should provide for permanent closure of spurs or short segments which serve no significant purpose (such as those which do not lead to a viewpoint or suitable dispersed camping site), or which unduly encourage illegal use beyond the end of the route.
Maintenance and rehabilitation of roads and motorized routes.
The plan should identify roads and motorized routes in need of maintenance and rehabilitation and should estimate the cost of dealing with any current backlog in maintenance and rehabilitation.
Minimization of conflicts between motorized and nonmotorized users.
The plan must meaningfully apply and implement – not just identify or consider – applicable conflict minimization criteria in Forest Service travel management directives when designating each road, motorized trail, or motorized use area. Isolated motorized routes should not be maintained or created in or near areas devoted primarily to nonmotorized recreation.
Minimization of conflicts with adjoining landowners
The plan must consider impacts to private land adjoining motorized trails and use areas. For example, the Badger Flats area, which has seen a proliferation of unauthorized motorized trails extending in some cases onto private land, has also seen an increase in conflicts between motorized users who feel “entitled” to use the routes and landowners trying to protect their land from trespass. Spurs which lead onto or end at private land boundaries should be closed or closed.
Continued restriction of dispersed camping and use of motor vehicles for game retrieval.
The plan should retain its policy for managing motorized travel for dispersed camping. Pike-San Isabel currently allows motorized vehicle use for dispersed camping within one vehicle length (30 feet) of a designated route, where it is not prohibited, unsafe or will result in resource damage The public should continue to be allowed to park along the side of designated roads and walk into the forest to access dispersed sites, and/or use a motor vehicle on designated “spur” roads to established dispersed campsites. The plan should retain the long-established policy of not allowing off-road driving to retrieve downed big-game, since most animals are shot a substantial distance from a designated road or motorized route.
The final plan should give higher priority to measures aimed at eliminating existing problems than to expansion of the road and motorized trail system.
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