USFS - Eldorado National Forest
G10-02-03-R04: I cannot support this project for OHV grant monies, or for any recreational use, for that matter.
This project will close more of a route that was closed during route designation, further reducing that amount of available parking at the trailhead. It will do very little to help congestion in the area and will in fact make it harder for people to park for either camping, hiking, or horseback riding.
The plan is said to help the equestrians by having an area away from the Caples Creek trailhead, but that new area is currently available to them, and would also require them to ride horse back across the Fitch Rantz Bridge to get to the destination they wish to go (Cody Meadow, Hay Flat area). They need areas for their trailers to be able to park, but this is not a good area with all the traffic that would be on Silverfork Road.
I also question the value of the rocks listed under section 2, Contracts. It states; “The match is based on the value of the rocks contributed by the Forest Service” If the Forest service is contributing them, do they own them? Would this qualify them as match dollars? [Randy Burleson - 4/4/11]
I generally support grants that ENF makes to expand OHV use and designate appropriate OHV-usable camping/picnicking/recreation areas, and it pleases me that USFS is honoring their commitments to execute continued management process even after the FEIS/ROD to review routes for addition into the Forests’ System of Roads and Trails.
I am generally encouraged by documentation of volunteer matching and heartily encourage Forest management to do even more of this – with hundreds of hours of documented volunteerism built into each grant application, counting every hour will be key. ENF has solid relationships with OHV coalitions and organizations like Friends of the Rubicon, Rubicon Trail Foundation, and California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, and I encourage ENF to continue to develop and maintain these relationships to drive education and volunteerism. Beyond that, many hundreds more undocumented hours are devoted to the Forest every year by OHV volunteers. I encourage the Forest to work even harder to formally document these hours, it will draw them closer to the volunteers and helps with the match to OHMVR. This is truly a win-win-win proposition, since it binds federal, state, and local resources together to work on the trail resources that they all value.
In general, not specific to any individual grant request, I continue to be disappointed to see how few motorized routes remain on this Forest after completion of the FEIS and ROD that came out of ENF’s Route Designation / Travel Management process, which is one of the reasons why I joined suit with Public Lands for the People in their lawsuit against ENF’s Route Designation actions. That suit ended in administrative complexity, but the principles are still legitimate, even if the lawsuit is now retired. OHV lost thousands of miles of access to roads and trails in ENF but there have been no meaningful changes to Forest staffing to reflect how many fewer miles now need maintained or patrolled, and how many fewer months those services are needed courtesy of seasonal closures. I am also disappointed at how little of the Forest is left to cross-over uses such as OHVs used over-the-snow in the FEIS/ROD. Seasonal closures and ‘Managing away’ (a.k.a. ‘closing) roads to use by wheeled vehicles over-the-snow has lost us access to hundreds/thousands of miles of access to OHV opportunity, but ENF’s funding requests continue unabated… you’d think that fewer miles of opportunity might correspond to fewer grant dollars required, but that certainly isn’t reflected in ENF’s grant requests. Let’s hope that the funds requested will result in a higher level of service on the routes that survived Travel Management.
I continue to support ENF’s emphasis on engaging education and enforcement by working with local user groups, and hope to see continued expansions in this effort. Informational open houses at major trailheads would work particularly well – depending on the season, a hot cup of coffee or a cold bottle of water are great icebreakers between ENF staff and users, especially with so many rules changed as a result of Route Designation. Informal on-site forums like this will be invaluable to communicating rules changes to users, most of whom would try to be legal in the midst of an inscrutable system of seemingly ever-changing rules. This sort of visible appearance at trailheads not only helps with educating on changes in rules, but sends a visibly message to criminals that Forest staff is meaningfully on the trails. Local club meetings are another great way to get education out, and prioritizing attendance by a ENF representative will pay huge dividends in user awareness and buy-in. Please continue to reach out to local clubs in the next years!
In future years, I encourage Eldorado National Forest to establish and maintain better documentation of ENF’s Over Snow Vehicle (OSV) program – I suspect that future grant funding would be available if ENF documented this program more thoroughly. I definitely hope to see better documentation of OSVs and over-the-snow OHVs in future grant cycles.
Thank you for considering my lengthy commentS. [Randy Burleson - 4/4/11]
G10-02-03-R07: This grant should be withdrawn. Though I fully support this project, it was also submitted to the Eldorado Resource Advisory Committee as ELD-01. This project has been recommended by the RAC on 3/21/11 and sent to the Forest Supervisor for final approval which will fund this project.
G10-02-03-D01: I fully support this grant request for the Eldorado National Forest for the Barrett Trail Bridge Construction project. Also under evaluation Criteria, item #10 Utilization of Partnerships. They have listed (1) for a score of one point, and listed Highlands 4WD Club. I feel that item should be listed as a higher score.
Friends of Eldorado National Forest has offered to help with volunteer labor on this project back on 3/25/2008 and still are will with that pledge. [Rick Ferdon - 4/1/11]
See attached comments. [Mike Fallon - 3/24/11]
The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance enthusiastically supports the use of OHMVR grant funds for enforcement of OHV regulations, trail and road maintenance and restoration, and bridge construction in the El Dorado National Forest.
CSPA was active in commenting on the Travel Management Plan for the El Dorado National Forest, and has been involved in litigation relating to water quality impacts from OHV use in the Forest. Use of funds for enforcement, maintenance and construction is a proactive means of avoiding habitat degradation and user conflicts that may result from motorized off-highway use. [Chris Shutes - 3/27/11]
The following is my comment for the OHV Grant request.
“The project will also include the purchase of two motorcycles for the Georgetown Ranger District OHV staff. One motorcycle will be a 2011 KTM XC 200 W with a cost estimate of $7,500.”
The KTM XC 200 W is not a proper choice for the Georgetown Ranger District. Being that it is a 2 stroke, it is classified for a RED sticker registration. Even though the El Dorado NF doesn’t have RED sticker limitations, it seems inappropriate. In addition, the XC 200 W doesn’t have a lighting system, making it ineligible for after dark operation and it doesn’t have a brake light so it cannot be legally operated on “combined use” routes.
CA Motor Vehicle code. 38026.5
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), it is unlawful for any person using an off-highway vehicle on a combined-use highway to do any of the following:
(1) Operate an off-highway motor vehicle on the highway during the hours of darkness.
(2) Operate any vehicle on the highway which does not have an operational stoplight.
Thank you for considering my comment. [Bruce Brazil - 3/10/11]