Archive for May, 2004

Forest Plan Update – What’s at Stake Part III (Mountain biking)

In our last update we explained the radical road removal proposals being advocated by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Sierra Club’s Conservation Alternative 6. This week we will discuss the impact Alternative 6 would have on mountain biking.

In this issue:

1. Mountain Biking – The Sierra Club’s and Center for Biological Diversity’s campaign to radically limit mountain biking

2. Upcoming Forest plan meetings for the Angeles and Los Padres National Forests (Wednesday, June 2nd to Saturday, June 5th)

3. Meeting instructions and protocols for sound management advocates

1. MOUNTAIN BIKING

(Note: Forest Plans determine how a forest will be managed for 15 years. As we mentioned last week, the Forest Service has chosen as the preferred draft plans Alternative 2 for the Cleveland National Forest and Alternative 4 for the Angeles, Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Sierra Club’s supporters are attending the current forest plan meetings pushing instead for the adoption of Alternative 6; and they are in a panic.

The sad fact is many of their supporters have no clue what Alternative 6 is proposing – and the Sierra Club has made no attempt to explain the details of Alternative 6. They have instead distracted their supporters by passing out stickers at the Forest Plan meetings with the slogan “Protect and Restore our Forests!” without explaining the radical ramifications behind that slogan – and the devil is always in the details.)

The page numbers are for reference and indicate the pages in Alternative 6 where the information was taken.

To view the Conservation Alternative 6 go to our web site at:

http://www.warriorssociety.org/ConservationAlternative2002.pdf

The Center for Biodiversity (CBD) and the Sierra Club’s proposals for recreation would ban mountain bike use from a large portion of the Southern California National Forests, restricting mountain bike use to only the few fire roads that remain open after their radical road standards are adopted (as explained in last weeks update). Always keep in mind the CBD and the Sierra Club’s main goal in these forest plans is to limit public access and recreation, many times by the abuse of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

“The Forest Service shall designate all existing and potential Wilderness Areas and Roadless Areas over 1,000 acres in size as Primitive under the ROS (Recreation Opportunity Spectrum).” (Page 328)

As I previously mentioned in our past alert on fire management, a major portion of the four National Forests are designated as “roadless.” Although Roadless Inventoried Areas must be reviewed as a part of the forest plan revision process, the Roadless Area Conservation Rule is enjoined from implementation by a lawsuit in Colorado and there are two additional suits pending. But we should still proceed as if this initiative/designation will be implemented, as has the CBD and the Sierra Club.

Here in Orange County, all our single track trails, including the San Juan Trail, are in the Trabuco Roadless Area. Many of the trails in your National Forest are probably also in a named Roadless Area. The “Primitive” ROS management designation prohibits mountain bikes (page 324) and while wilderness areas must be at least 10,000 acres in size, this rule would in fact create de facto wilderness designations in areas (designated as roadless) that are as small as 1,000 acres in size. Managing these areas under the “Primitive” ROS designation would radically affect mountain bike access.

The Warrior’s Society opposed the Roadless Initiative because we believed it was an attempt by environmental groups, such as the CBD and Sierra Club, to create de facto wilderness designations, and we were proven correct. The Trabuco Roadless Area contains nearly 100 percent of our trails here in Orange County, including the San Juan Trail. The Sierra Club attempted to designate the Trabuco Roadless Area as wilderness in the current wilderness bill – but with your help we defeated them.

To prove their “environmental credentials” to the Sierra Club, IMBA supported the Roadless Initiative despite our warning. IMBA’s trust of the Sierra Club and attempts to appease them has resulted in IMBA being betrayed – again. IMBA even signed a “Joint Statement of Commitments” with the Sierra Club to support the wilderness designation:

http://www.warriorssociety.org/News/WildernessAlert22.html

How does the Sierra Club react to the signing of this “Joint Statement of Commitments?” Emboldened by this appeasement, it promotes management policies detrimental to mountain biking.

IMBA has been betrayed again.

“The Forest Service shall, within 1 year, classify all trails according to the following authorized use classes: (I) hiking and equestrian use only; (II) all non-motorized permitted uses (e.g. hiking, equestrian and bicycling); and (III) all permitted uses (e.g. hiking, equestrian, bicycling, and ORV). (Page 329)

This requirement, combined with the following requirement in the “Mountain Bike” section, would have severe impacts on mountain biking, especially if the Forest Service is unable to accomplish this assessment in the 1 year time period required. This would give the CBD grounds to file a lawsuit, their favorite weapon, to close these trails to mountain bikes because the Forest Service is in violation of the Forest Plan. Remember, to survey these trails and bring these trails up to their standard will take funds and personnel the Forest Service does not have:

“The Forest Service shall, within 1 year, examine all system trails for suitability for use by bicycles, review for safety of and conflicts with other users all trails on which bicycles are allowed. Review for safety of other users all trails that do not meet the following criteria: minimum sight distance of +/- 85 feet for trail grades of 5-10% at blind turns; minimum sight distance of +/- 50 feet for trail grades of 10-15% at blind turns; minimum sight distance of +/- 25 feet for tail grades over 15% at blind curves.” (Page 330)

Although the Sierra Club, after much controversy, allowed the creation of a “Mountain Bike Committee” within the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, their proposals truly show the disdain they have for mountain bike recreation. The token gesture of embracing mountain biking by the creation of that “committee” was as deceptive as the slogan, “Protect and Restore our Forests!” printed on stickers they passed out to their supporters at the Forest Plan. I wonder if the Sierra Club Mountain Bike Committee is allowed to oppose Alternative 6?

I think you know the answer to that question.

A few comments to those naïve citizens who attended the Forest Plan meetings and without thought supported the CBD and the Sierra Club; you place so little value on your freedom; you relinquish it without thought or deference. Only the intellectually bankrupt defer to ignorance on such important issues.

What does “Protect and Restore our Forests!” really mean?

The long version is:

“Protect and Restore our Forests!” means although we pay lip service to allowing mountain bike recreation we must make every effort to ban the evils of mountain biking from the forest by use of restrictive designations, unrealistic standards and requirements that the Forest Service will not be able to meet. This strategy will allow us to manage by lawsuit and by abusing the Endangered Species Act – and achieve our goal of radically removing public access to the forest.

The short version is:

“Protect and Restore our Forests!” means banning mountain bikes.

The CBD and the Sierra Club have been anything but honest with the public by not revealing the details of their proposals, instead relying on the Sierra Club’s false “mainstream” reputation as a balanced environmental organization, a reputation that over the years has become increasingly tarnished; their behavior during the Forest Plan process has only confirmed their decline as a trustworthy organization.

History has shown that Democracy can not long endure in a climate where the information that will govern it is denied or hidden behind slogans such as “Protect and Restore our Forests!” This tactic has found a home in the agenda of fanatics worldwide – as recent history has shown.

The Sierra Club’s path of deception, built on fanaticism and not reason, shows how far they have fallen from grace. We must remember that Jihad under any name poses a great risk to those subject to it; the folly of misplaced faith and ignorance over reason – and the subsequent destruction of our freedom.

The Sierra Club and CBD place such little value in your freedom, the freedom that many or our citizens have sacrificed their lives for.

Our next “Forest Plan Update – What’s at Stake Part IV (Vision)” will deal with what the future holds.

We will be evaluating and commenting on the forest plans before the comment period ends in August. We will be releasing these comments to our supporters with a link to the Forest Service web site so you can comment too. Please do your part to protect your access by visiting our web site for this information or sign up on our email list to be kept informed on the forest plans.

Our web site is warriorssociety.org.

2. UPCOMING FOREST PLAN MEETINGS FOR THE ANGELES AND LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST (WEDNESDAY, JUNE 2ND TO SATURDAY, JUNE 5TH)

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST

June 3 (Thursday)
Foothill Christian Center
242 West Baseline Avenue, Glendora, CA
5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

June 4 (Friday)
Wrightwood Community Center
1275 Highway 2, Wrightwood, CA
3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

June 5 (Saturday)
Pasadena City College
Campus Center Lounge
1570 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST

June 2 (Wednesday)
Pacific Valley Station
Highway 1, Pacific Valley, CA
5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

3. MEETING INSTRUCTIONS AND PROTOCOLS FOR SOUND MANAGEMENT ADVOCATES

The following information is needed:

We need to know what trails are contained within the specially designated areas: Wilderness, Wild and Scenic Rivers, Natural Research Areas and Special Interest Areas.

Questions to ask related to these areas:

1. What existing trails are located in proposed special designated areas – Wilderness, Wild and Scenic, Research Natural, Special Interest?

2. What is the real “need” for a particular direction – are existing uses such as trails not impacting these areas and thus should access not be restricted.

3. Are the proposed wilderness areas, or areas with the Primitive ROS (Recreation Opportunity Spectrum) designation at high risk for fire, which could affect local communities, and what strategies are being implemented to address fire suppression and management of these areas? Alert your local fire marshal and Fire agency union representatives and ask them to review and comment on the fire management proposals being advocated in Conservation Alternative 6, which is advocated by the Center for Biodiversity and the Sierra Club (copies can obtained from the Warrior’s Society) and in Alternative 2 (for the Cleveland) and 4 (for the Angeles, San Bernardino and Los Padres National Forests). Also ask what threats are being posed to these areas that they warrant wilderness protection? Are the threats real or overblown, etc.

The information from these questions is what we need to comment on the DEIS Draft Plan. This information many also be used for future actions, such as an appeal (if needed), and to show a particular direction or designation is simply not needed.

Remember when evaluating these areas:

Your feedback will be most helpful if you:

* are as specific as possible with your comments by naming the proposed wilderness area, Wild and Scenic River, Natural Resource Area, Special Interest Area that you are commenting on (and provide pictures if possible).

* indicate what trails will be affected

* suggest alternative management approaches or solutions to the specific problem(s) that warrant specific designations – i.e. trails will not impact area (take pictures for proof) or trails can be rerouted around area prior to designation being applied.

What ever information you can provide would be most helpful, so don’t feel overwhelmed. We are going to compile all the information received after the meetings are over and formulate our appeal. Your help will be a big part of influencing these plans.

PROPOSED DRESS AND BEHAVIOR CODE FOR FOREST PLAN OPEN HOUSES

1. THE TASK: inform our motorized, equestrian and mountain bike recreation representatives (whom are planning on) attending the Forest Plan Open Houses to wear “business casual” attire, preferably kaki, and or, green unmarked garments.

2. DEFINITION: These are public business meetings, not club social events. Hence the concern and suggestion is, “Please, resist the temptation to wear your favorite ‘motorized, equestrian or mountain bike recreation interest’ apparel.”

3. RESULT: Adhering to this simple “plan of action” will help minimize the initial “stereotyping” from opposing non-recreational representatives. This will enhance our effectiveness in discussing opposing opinions and give us the freedom to roam the room with less likely-hood of confrontation.

4. PROPOSED GUIDELINES:

DO’S: DON’TS:
FS appreciation pins Club, org., assoc., or council, attire.
Smokey Bear nick-knacks
Green hued shirts or polo’s
Conservative shorts, slacks or denim.
Conservation sponsored clean-up T’s,

PROPOSED CONDUCT CODE FOR RECREATION ATTENDEE’S

1. Don’t argue! Remain calm. On either end of the spectrum we will encounter folks that can be quite vocal and militant.

2. Assign a knowledgeable group representative for each meeting, to address your initial questions and concerns and plan for action. If you have no knowledge of the Forest Plan Alternatives don’t get caught airing your lack of understanding outside the privacy of your group.

3. Identify those in your group that have experience speaking at public meetings and ask them to act as your liaison and address those in attendance. They must also try to neutralize the emotions of those fed up with the religious fanaticism of the environmental movement. Ask these individuals to share their prime concerns within the control of your group. Use a “reflective listening” technique such as, “So, what you are saying is, you are adamant about this boundary being here, as opposed to there?” Or, escort that person to a FS person you trust, to privately address their fear.

Please follow these instructions so you can be an effective representative of the recreation community.

Comments off

Forest Plan Update – What’s at Stake Part I – Fire

To all advocates of sound forest management:

In the next three Forest Plan updates we will be discussing the forest plan proposals being advocated by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Sierra Club in their Conservation Alternative 6. These proposals relate to fire management, recreation / mountain biking and roads. This week we discuss the fire management aspects of their proposals.

In late July we will compile all the information you will need to comment on the Forest Plans by email or by the web. Please take advantage when we provide these comments to do your part to protect your access and insure sound management of your forests.

There are many details I will be discussing, but remember, the devil is always in the details.

In this update:

1. Fire Management – The Sierra Club’s and Center for Biological Diversity’s Fire Management/Suppression Proposals in Alternative 6

2. Forest plan meetings for the Los Padres National Forest (Monday, May 17th to Monday May 24th)

3. Meeting instructions and protocols for sound management advocates

1. FIRE MANAGEMENT:

Although Alternative 2 for the Cleveland National Forest and Alternative 4 for the Angeles, Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests are the preferred alternative plans, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Sierra Club supporters have been attending the current forest plan meetings pushing for the adoption of Alternative 6.

The Forest Service’s reasoned decision not to adopt the extreme proposals being advocated by Alternative 6 has put the CBD and the Sierra Club into a panic. They have resorted to criticize this decision with slogans and a religious like fever.

At the Forest Plan meeting held in San Juan Capistrano on May 15th it was interesting to see the Sierra Club representatives passing out stickers to attendees stating “Protect and Restore our Forests!” and asking their supporters and other participants to not endorse alternatives 2 and 4 (drafts chosen by the Forest Service), but to instead advocate the adoption of Alternative 6.

The Sierra Club did not reveal the ramifications of that support, but instead relied on the religious like faith of their supporters and the simple call to Jihad expressed on that sticker to “Protect and Restore our Forests!”

Many I spoke to at the meeting who, on the advice of the Sierra Club, were supporting alternative 6 – had not even read what it was proposing – including a Sierra Club leader. Like lemmings they support something based on on faith and a misplaced trust in the CBD and the Sierra Club.

You can view the CBD’s and the Sierra Clubs Conservation Alternative 6 on our web site at:

http://www.warriorssociety.org/ConservationAlternative2002.pdf

This Jihad to “Protect and Restore our Forests!” has far reaching consequences. The Sierra Club made no effort to educate these people on the details behind the chant “Protect and Restore our Forests!” and what it would bring to bear on our fire fighters and Rural/Foothill residents and the very forests they claim to protect. Since 2000 we have lost 19 million acres of habitat to devastating fires – and many species, human lives and homes as well.

“Reason obeys itself, and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.”
– Thomas Paine

We will not treat you with disrespect like the Sierra Club and CBD, nor rely on a Jihad or Crusade like “faith” and slogans to advocate our position – but instead reveal the details so you can make up your own mind. Unlike the CBD and the Sierra Club – we trust you to use reason to decide.

There is a need to conserve and manage our public lands but a more balanced approach, which does not see man as evil, must be implemented. I fear the environmental movement has changed from one that loves nature, to fanatical faith that hates mankind. I feel we must love both nature and mankind.

Conservation Alternative #6 would place restrictions on fire agencies in fighting fires and subject them (or governments) to possible lawsuits by environmental groups for not protecting TES (threatened and endangered
species) and violating the ESA (Endangered Species Act) requirements (page
23):

“Fire planners and fire bosses are responsible for knowing locations and the types of TES species, habitats, the requirements of the ESA, and the penalties associated with violating the ESA, and relate necessary restrictions and strategies to ground personnel.”

“The Forest Service shall minimize backfiring as a fire suppression tool in TES species habitats if negative impacts will result.”

“Suppression activities such as retardant drops, bulldozed firelines, extensive backfires resulting in large burnouts, and extensive foam application shall be avoided to the maximum extent practicable. Firelines created by mechanical equipment shall be constructed outside riparian areas, sensitive soils, unstable or steep slopes upslope of ecologically sensitive areas, and other sensitive locations.”

“The Forest Service shall prohibit the use of fire retardant and Class A foam (NOI-125). Fire retardants poison the soil and water and do little to slow the spread of a fire, especially under severe weather conditions.” (Page 25)

At the Forest Plan meeting held in San Juan Capistrano I asked the Cleveland National Forest Biologist about this claim. She stated that amphibians (frogs and toads), are sensitive to these chemicals (the fertilizers to assist new growth) and can be killed by high concentrations. The effects are not long-term, but can kill off the remaining endangered species in the area. But also stated that the effect of devastating fires and the resulting erosion can also have the same effect on watersheds, as news stories have recently reported.

The Forest Service Fire Agency spokesperson at the same meeting stated that it is primarily in riparian habitats where this is a concern and efforts are always made to avoid using them in close proximity. But dropping retardant under demanding and dangerous conditions is not an exact science – and combined with an aging fleet of air tankers – deadly.

He shared the concerns I have expressed and stated that’s why the fire suppression and management proposals in Alternative 6 were not considered. He stated the road management proposals advocating road removal were also not supported due to the effect it would have on fire management. The impact of their road management proposals on recreational access would be severe – as I will explain in my alert next week.

When I mentioned the paragraph in Alternative 6 regarding banning fire retardants to a representative of the Orange County Fire Authority, he stated fire retardants do not stop fires, but slow down fires and give them time to either form a defensive position or allow the evacuation of trapped fire fighters. He requested I provide a copy of Alternative 6 so he could review the proposals.

One fire fighter told me that fire retardants (they call it pink elephant snot) were used in the recent fires in Corona and were dropped directly on them. As I previously mentioned, he stated fire retardants contain fertilizers to help reseed areas after the fire.

Much of the land in the Cleveland National Forest, and much of the area in the other National Forests, is designated as roadless, including the forest surrounding the canyon and foothill communities, and is characterized by steep slopes and sensitive soils with many of the canyons being riparian habitats.

“The Forest Service shall ensure that fire suppression activities minimize ecological harm and are generally discouraged in inappropriate areas, including wilderness, roadless areas, old-growth and riparian habitats, steep slopes, sensitive soils, and habitat for TES.” (page 25)

This requirement discourages fire suppression anywhere near the canyon communities, which as I mentioned, are surrounded by roadless areas with steep slopes, sensitive soils, habitat for TES and are located in riparian habitats.

A canyon resident emailed me to say it suggests that communities such as ours should not even exist. He went on to say there are numerous conflicting statements, such as existing roads should be minimized or obliterated, and yet prescribed burns should only be conducted using existing roads. No new roads shall be built to conduct undergrowth fuel reduction or prescribed burns (“no new road construction or reconstruction”) and yet somehow these very programs of manual fuel reduction and prescribed burns are to be increased in number.

He stated that apparently firefighters will need to be trained biologists to decide whether “negative impacts would result” from their activities before they suppress fires. Now that’s what I call tying the hands of the USFS and other firefighters. How many deaths of fire suppression personnel and property owners will result from the implementation of these onerous restrictions? And how many additional homes/communities will burn if this alternative is chosen?

It is important that you alert your local fire marshal, fire agency union representatives and friends with homes adjacent to or in proximity to the national forests and ask them to attend a meeting and review and comment on the fire management proposals being advocated in Conservation Alternative 6 and in Alternative 2 (for the Cleveland) and 4 (for the Angeles, San Bernardino and Los Padres National Forests).

Firefighter’s lives and the lives and property of rural and foothill residents are being put at risk by the proposals in Conservation Alternative 6. It’s not just their lives and property at risk but their health as well (from the smoke and ash). They should have a say in whether they will risk their lives, health and property to further the radical agenda of the CBD, the Sierra Club and their allies in the environmental movement that place animal lives above human lives. Can we look forward to another 19 million acres of forest being burned?

Why has the Sierra Club made no effort at the Forest Plan meetings to explain the details of Alternative 6?

Why have they not encouraged their supporters to ask Forest Service representatives at these Forest Plan meetings why this alternative was not considered? They should be asking the same questions I have been asking.

As I said; the devil is always in the details…

How can you sum up the fire suppression proposals of Conservation Alternative 6 being advocated by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Sierra Club?

The long version is:

“Protect and Restore our Forests!” means we must not permit any fire suppression/management or fighting methods that will affect endangered species. It is much better that they and their habitat be destroyed by fire (and the rural and foothill communities also), with the resulting erosion caused by loss of ground cover when winter rains return, than to have any evidence that man has touched this “holy” ground. It is Jihad – a Crusade.

The short version is:

“Protect and Restore our Forests!” means Burn baby, burn.

2. FOREST PLAN MEETINGS FOR THE LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST (MONDAY MAY 17TH TO MONDAY MAY 24TH)

LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST

May 17 (Monday)
Salinas Community Center
Santa Lucia Room
940 N. Main Street, Salinas, CA
6:00 – 8:30 p.m.

May 18 (Tuesday)
Big Sur Lodge Conference Room
Highway 1, Big Sur, CA
6:00 – 8:30 p.m.

May 19 (Wednesday)
South County Regional Center
800 West Branch Street,
Arroyo Grande, CA
6:00 – 8:30 p.m.

May 20 (Thursday)
Goleta School District
Admin. Center Chamber Room
401 North Fairview Ave., Goleta, CA
6:00 – 8:30 p.m.

May 24 (Monday)
Frazier Park Community Hall
300 Park Drive, Frazier Park, CA
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

3. MEETING INSTRUCTIONS AND PROTOCOLS FOR SOUND MANAGEMENT ADVOCATES

The following information is needed:

We need to know what trails are contained within the specially designated areas: Wilderness, Wild and Scenic Rivers, Natural Research Areas and Special Interest Areas.

Questions to ask related to these areas:

1. How could the Preferred (or other) Alternative management affect trail xyz in the future?

2. What is the real “need” for a particular direction or designation?

3. Are the proposed wilderness areas, or areas with the Primitive ROS (Recreation Opportunity Spectrum) designation at high risk for fire, which could affect local communities, and what strategies are being implemented to address fire suppression and management of these areas? Alert your local fire marshal and Fire agency union representatives and ask them to review and comment on the fire management proposals being advocated in Conservation Alternative 6, which is advocated by the Center for Biodiversity and the Sierra Club (copies can obtained from the Warrior’s Society) and in Alternative 2 (for the Cleveland) and 4 (for the Angeles, San Bernardino and Los Padres National Forests). Also ask what threats are being posed to these areas that they warrant wilderness protection? Are the threats real or overblown, etc.

These questions will help guide what information needs to be collected for DEIS Draft Plan comments, and future actions (appeal) if needed, to show a particular direction or designation is simply not needed.

Remember when evaluating these areas:

Your feedback will be most helpful if you:

* are as specific as possible with your comments

* describe the location(s) where your comment applies; note the National Forest, Planning Place(s), or name of proposed wilderness area, Wild and Scenic River, Natural Resource Area, Special Interest Area you are commenting on) and provide pictures if possible.

* indicate where clarification is needed on what trails will be affected

* suggest alternative management approaches or solutions to the specific problem(s) that warrant specific designations.

What ever information you can provide would be most helpful, so don’t feel overwhelmed. We are going to compile all the information received after the meetings are over and formulate our appeal. Your help will be a big part of influencing these plans.

PROPOSED DRESS AND BEHAVIOR CODE FOR FOREST PLAN OPEN HOUSES

1. THE TASK: inform our motorized, equestrian and mountain bike recreation representatives (whom are planning on) attending the Forest Plan Open Houses to wear “business casual” attire, preferably kaki, and or, green unmarked garments.

2. DEFINITION: These are public business meetings, not club social events. Hence the concern and suggestion is, “Please, resist the temptation to wear your favorite ‘motorized, equestrian or mountain bike recreation interest’ apparel.”

3. RESULT: Adhering to this simple “plan of action” will help minimize the initial “stereotyping” from opposing non-recreational representatives. This will enhance our effectiveness in discussing opposing opinions and give us the freedom to roam the room with less likely-hood of confrontation.

4. PROPOSED GUIDELINES:

DO’S: DON’TS:
FS appreciation pins Club, org., assoc., or council, attire.
Smokey Bear nick-knacks
Green hued shirts or polo’s
Conservative shorts, slacks or denim.
Conservation sponsored clean-up T’s,

PROPOSED CONDUCT CODE FOR RECREATION ATTENDEE’S

1. Don’t argue! Remain calm. On either end of the spectrum we will encounter folks that can be quite vocal and militant.

2. Assign a knowledgeable group representative for each meeting, to address your initial questions and concerns and plan for action. If you have no knowledge of the Forest Plan Alternatives don’t get caught airing your lack of understanding outside the privacy of your group.

3. Identify those in your group that have experience speaking at public meetings and ask them to act as your liaison and address those in attendance. They must also try to neutralize the emotions of those fed up with the religious fanaticism of the environmental movement. Ask these individuals to share their prime concerns within the control of your group. Use a “reflective listening” technique such as, “So, what you are saying is, you are adamant about this boundary being here, as opposed to there?” Or, escort that person to a FS person you trust, to privately address their fear.

Please follow these instructions so you can be an effective representative of the recreation community.

Comments off

Access Alert – Forest Plan Update – Important !!!!

1. How you can help

2. An explanation of the proposed designations – Wilderness, Wild and Scenic Rivers, Natural Research Areas and Special Interest Areas

3. Listings (by National Forest) of proposed designations

4. Cleveland National Forest meetings being held this week

1. HOW YOU CAN HELP

At this draft stage of the process, the preferred alternative for the Angeles, Los Padres, and San Bernardino National Forests is alternative 4. The preferred alternative for the Cleveland National Forest is alternative 2. These alternatives are good news, but we still must evaluate areas being proposed for specific designations to see what effect they will have on existing trails and roads.

THE PREFERRED ALTERNATIVES ARE NOT LEGALY BINDING. After public comments on the draft environmental impact statement are received and analyzed, the selected alternative will be identified in the final environmental impact statement and the reasons for this choice explained in a record of decision that accompanies its release. The preferred alternative at this stage, represents the agency position for the 90-day DEIS comment period, and is NOT a decision.

We encourage active stakeholders to attend their local open houses (or not so local if they know the other area / Ranger District / Forest well) and try to learn as much as possible about the Draft RFP and how it will affect future management of the Forest. We need the people who are most familiar with specific areas that are being considered for changing designations such as the Wilderness Designation, Wild and Scenic River Designation, Research Natural Areas, and Special Interest Areas to report what is actually on the ground. Quite often the planners don’t have as much on the ground knowledge as local trail users.

We need to collect as much information and pictures of locations proposed for the Wilderness Designation, Wild and Scenic River Designation, Research Natural Areas, and Special Interest Areas designations to support our position if we intend to appeal these designations or prevent trails from being closed. Not just questions like “will this close the xyz trail?”, but looking out past the immediate plan effects to “how could the Preferred (or other) Alternative management affect trail xyz in the future?” Questions about the real “need” for a particular direction or designation, what the “threats” are (real or overblown), etc. will help guide what information needs to be collected for DEIS Draft Plan comments, and future actions (appeal, …) if needed, to show a particular direction or designation is simply not needed.

Bottom line, people with extensive local knowledge need to decide if a particular direction / designation is really needed, adequately justified, and how it will affect their interest — both short and long term. If it isn’t needed, is weakly justified (no real threat), and will or could affect their interest, they need to start collecting information (ground work, review of literature, FOIA, …) to show with hard facts *why* it’s a bad decision.

This will be used for the DEIS / Draft RFP comments, but the information collection should continue on critical areas, especially if we think we may need to appeal.

In this alert we have by, National Forest, a list of areas being proposed for the Wilderness Designation, Wild and Scenic River Designation, Research Natural Areas, and Special Interest Areas to help you assist us in evaluating threats to our access. Keep in mind, if trails do go through these areas we may not oppose these designations, but instead ask that the rerouting of these trails be designated in the plans as a condition of these areas being designated.

If you can assist us in evaluating the plans for the National Forest near you please email us at countingcoup@warriorssociety.org . Those assisting in evaluating the plan will qualify for free entrance in our Vision Quest and Toad Festival events, as well as our volunteer events.

Remember when evaluating these areas:

When submitting your comments on the draft Forest Plans and draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), your feedback will be most helpful if you:

* are as specific as possible with your comments

* describe the location(s) where your comment applies (e.g., if applicable, it is helpful if you note the National Forest(s), Planning Place(s), or name of proposed wilderness area, Wild and Scenic River, Natural Resource Area, Special Interest Area you are commenting on) and provide pictures

* indicate where clarification is needed

* suggest alternative management approaches or solutions to the specific problem.

The Forest Service will read and organize all comments received by subject matter through a content analysis process. Significant comments will be addressed through revisions made in the final environmental impact statement (FEIS). All comments and the forests’ responses to these comments will be published as an appendix to the FEIS.

Keep in mind, Final Plan can change from the Draft Plan (sometimes significantly for particular issues), and that change may not be in our direction.

Also keep in mind the importance of not letting our guard down. Remember we are up against a multi-million dollar organization, the Sierra Club, which is seeking to remove as much of our access as they can. But even their money, given by unsuspecting supporters who do not know their true agenda, cannot stand up to our passion to protect our historical freedom to access our public lands – and so far we have proven that.

2. AN EXPLANATION OF THE PROPOSED DESIGNATIONS – WILDERNESS, WILD AND SCENIC RIVERS, RESEARCH NATURAL AREAS AND SPECIAL INTEREST AREAS

You should all know by now that the wilderness designation is very restrictive and best described as near abandonment of active land management. The wilderness designation also BANS MOUNTAIN BIKING.

One of the main concerns of the forest service is the limitations that wilderness puts on fire prevention and management due to its restriction on motorized equipment. This concern was expressed by the Angeles National Forest Supervisor in a letter to Tim Allyn of the Sierra Club through a letter obtained by the Freedom of Information Act:

http://www.warriorssociety.org/News/WildernessAlert07.html

In a May 7, 2004 Los Angeles Times Article Tom White, an assistant project leader for the Forest Service who helped draw up the Forest Plan proposals said forest managers believed there was, for the most part, enough existing wilderness. And he noted that access was limited in non-wilderness areas because Southern California forests have a lower density of roads than other national forests in the state because of the rugged terrain and the relative lack of logging.

“A lot of the wilderness character is actually inherent in the non-wilderness because it’s so steep,” White said.

But in this article the Sierra Club (and most likely their allies the Center for Biodiversity) are not satisfied and it is obvious from their support for Alternative 6 that their goal is to stop citizens (and mountain bikers in particular), from recreating in the forest and maintaining their historical access by removing roads and trails.

In a future update we will be quoting directly from their own Conservation Alternative 6 document a poison pill provision that would allow them to easily sue to remove roads and trails as well as restrict the use of fire retardants and other fire fighting methods – which would put fire fighters and canyon communities at risk.

The Warrior’s Society’s intent in influencing these plans is not to have additional trails or roads, but to maintain and protect access to the existing system we have.

Below is the description of the Wild and Scenic River Designation, Research Natural Areas, and Special Interest Areas (in quotation marks) taken from the Forest Plan CD followed by the comments of our National Legislative Representative Candace Oathout.

– Wild and Scenic River Designation –

“All existing facilities, management actions, and approved uses will be allowed to continue in eligible river corridors until a decision is made on inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic River System, provided these facilities, actions, and uses do not interfere with the protection and enhancement of the river’s outstandingly remarkable values. Proposed new facilities, management actions, or uses on National Forest System lands are not allowed if they have the potential to affect the eligibility or potential classification of the river segment.

Uses comply with Forest Service Handbook 1909.12, chapter 8.2, which includes a description of developments and activities that are permitted, restricted or prohibited within the designated river corridor for each of the three classifications (wild, scenic and recreation).”

It has been the experience of our National Legislative Representative Candace Oathout that the designation of wild and scenic rivers has led to rerouting of trails, restrictions on camping near streams and rivers due to the creation of buffer zones and limits on the number of trail users due to perceived impacts. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act emphasizes “protecting its aesthetic, scenic, historic, archaeological and scientific features…” Creation of new roads, logging, dams and most water diversions are prevented.

“Scenic easement” is defined as the right to control the use of land (including the air space above such land) for the purpose of protecting the natural qualities of a designated wild, scenic or recreational river area. The boundaries of the wild and scenic river designation are legislated as one fourth mile from the ordinary high water mark on each side of the river.

There is a lot of language in the act that supports land acquisition by the Federal government and declares the river corridors as under Federal control. Although the definition of a river in the Act is “a free flowing condition or restored to this condition”. Petitions for designation have recently included ephemeral streams and creeks and dry washes. The impacts to recreation include loss of access through restrictive carrying capacity limits, loss of access to water especially in more arid regions and limitations on camping along designated rivers and streams. The impacts to equestrians have included restrictions due to the perceived potential for the spread of diseases, such as, Giardia and Cryptosporidium. There is current research available that disputes the spread of cryptosporidium by horses.

– Research Natural Areas –

“Research natural areas include relatively undisturbed areas of the forest that form a long-term network of ecological reserves designated for research, education, and the maintenance of biodiversity. This designation applies to both established and proposed research natural areas.

Research natural areas are selected to preserve a spectrum of relatively pristine areas that represent a wide range of natural variability within important natural ecosystems and environments, and areas that have unique characteristics of scientific importance. Research natural areas are also selected for one or more of the following reasons:

* To serve as reference areas for evaluating the range of natural variability and the impacts of management in similar environments.

* To protect and maintain representative or key elements of biological diversity at the genetic, species, population, community, or ecosystem levels.

* To serve as areas for the study of ecosystems and ecological processes including succession.

* To provide onsite and extension educational activities.

* To serve as baseline areas for measuring ecological change.

Uses that retain the research values for which the site is designated are appropriate.”

Research Natural Areas are by their definition set apart and all human access except for researchers is usually prohibited. The establishment of new Research Natural Areas should be studied carefully to avoid current and potential impacts to existing or potential new trails as it is doubtful that land managers would support any recreational use of these areas. There is a perception that more RNA’s equals a more positive cumulative impact.

– Special Interest Areas –

“Special interest areas protect and, where appropriate, foster public use and enjoyment of areas with scenic, historical, geological, botanical, zoological, paleontological, or other special characteristics. Uses that are compatible with maintaining the target of the areas designation are appropriate.”

Special Interest Areas, again, focus first on protection, so land managers tend to first look at carrying capacity and control of access. This would most likely result in less access rather than more. In my opinion, it would be harder to maintain existing trails or develop new ones. Land managers tend to have a lot of discretion in administering these areas. Strong concerted advocacy will be needed to keep public access.

Below are listed, by National Forest, the areas being recommended or are eligible for the Wilderness Designation, Wild and Scenic River Designation, Research Natural Areas and Special Interest Areas:

3. LISTING (BY NATIONAL FOREST) OF THE PROPOSED DESIGNATIONS

– CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST –

Recommended Wilderness (RW): This zone includes land the Forest Service is recommending to Congress for wilderness designation.

Cutca Valley:

The 14,510-acre Cutca Valley inventoried roadless area is located in the northern part of the Palomar Ranger District, approximately 12 miles southeast of Temecula.(Map Cutca Valley ) From the east, the area can be accessed from the High Point Road (FS8S05) and Palomar Divide Road (FS9S07). The eastern boundary parallels High Point Road. Cutca Valley Trail (1E01) provides access to both the Cutca inventoried roadless area and the Agua Tibia Wilderness. Recreational opportunities include hiking, hunting, backpacking, photography, minimal target shooting, equestrian use and rock hunting.

Pine Creek Expansion:

The area lies within the Descanso Ranger District, and is situated in the Pine Creek Valley, south of interstate 8.(Map Pine Creek Expansion) Access is from Horsethief Canyon Road on the west, and from Skye Valley Road on the southeast. Public access is limited by adjacent private lands. Several miles of the wilderness abut Interstate 8, however, there is no direct access from the highway.

The rough, steep canyon walls are covered with young, even-aged chaparral, due to a minor fire in 1970 that burned the entire area. There are several mesas within the wilderness, which support some broadleaf woodland. Pine Creek and its tributaries represent typical riparian areas. Elevations vary from 1,600 to 4,400 feet. Several minor canyon drainages feed into Pine Creek, bisecting the wilderness.

Recreational opportunities include hiking, backpacking, and hunting. One of the primary designated trails, Espinosa Trail, runs through the upper portion of the area.

Sitton Peak:

The 3,840-acre Sitton Peak expansion area is located on the western slopes of the central Santa Ana Mountains, on the northern part of the Trabuco Ranger District.(Map Sitton Peak ) The Sitton Peak expansion area is the steep, undeveloped, unroaded southern slope of the San Juan Creek Canyon. No Forest Service system trails access the interior of this roadless area. A primitive, unmaintained road (Sitton Peak Road, FS
7S09) delineates the southern border. This road is deeply eroded, rocky and overgrown in places, but offers relatively easy access for hikers.

Sitton Peak offers a 360-degree panoramic view and is one of the few remaining peaks on the Trabuco District without an existing electronic site. Vegetation in this area is mainly chaparral.

Recreational activities common in this area include hiking, viewing scenery, photography, hunting, mountain biking, and equestrian use.

Upper San Diego River:

This area is the headwaters of the San Diego watershed and is located east of the town of Ramona.(Map Upper San Diego River (Gorge) ) Access to the area is primarily via unauthorized trails from the nearby San Diego Country Estates, and on the eastside from Saddleback junction.

The topography of this area is characterized by rugged, very steep terrain in east San Diego County, along with a well-defined river channel. Elevations range from 880 feet at the riverbed to about 3,000 feet in the upslope area. There are waterfalls during spring runoff and
during periods of above-average rainfall.

This river corridor supports Diegan Coastal Sage Scrub, characteristic habitat for the federally threatened California gnatcatcher. Oak woodland vegetation types are also found here.

Hiking, hunting, horseback riding, photography, and some placer mining are the recreational activities pursued in this area.

Wildhorse (Morrell Canyon):

The 1,480-acre Wildhorse expansion area is located on the western slope of the Elsinore Mountains, within the Trabuco Ranger District, approximately five miles southwest of Interstate Highway 15.(Map Wildhorse (Morrell Canyon) ) It consists of several small parcels of National Forest System land located on the northeast side of the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness. The South Main Divide Road (FS6S07, formerly Killen Truck Trail) parallels the northeastern edge of this area.

The vegetation here is primarily oak woodland. Natural features include Lion spring and scattered stands of oak.

Morgan Trail and nearby Morgan Trailhead are in the northern section of the inventoried roadless area. The area has dense stands of chaparral, archeological sites, and an intermittent stream.

Eligible Wild and Scenic Rivers:

Cottonwood
San Luis Rey River (main)
San Mateo Creek

Proposed Research Natural Areas:

Guatay Mountain
Viejas Mountain
San Diego River

Proposed Special Interest Areas:

Chiquito Springs – near the San Juan Trail
Filaree Flat
Pine Mountain

– ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST –

Recommended Wilderness (RW): This zone includes land that the Forest Service is recommending to Congress for Wilderness designation. The wilderness designation bans mountain bikes

Sheep Mountain Addition:

The areas proposed are rugged and not easily accessible, but are still highly used by Los Angeles and San Bernardino residents. Elevations range from 2,400 feet to over 10,000 feet, offering a variety of recreational opportunities. The vegetation consists primarily of chaparral at the lower elevations and mixed conifer in the higher elevations.

Eligible Wild and Scenic Rivers:

Little Rock Creek
San Antonio Canyon Creek
San Francisquito Canyon
San Gabriel River (East, North, and West Forks)

Proposed Special Interest Areas:

Aliso-Arrastre

– LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST –

Recommended Wilderness (RW): This zone includes land that the Forest Service is recommending to Congress for wilderness designation.

Chumash Toad Springs:

The Chumash-Toad Springs area is an off-highway vehicle corridor temporarily excluded from the existing Chumash Wilderness, which was established in 1992 by the Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act. The Act states, “The Toad Springs road corridor delineated as potential wilderness shall remain open to off-road traffic until construction of an alternate route, which bypasses this area, is completed. These potential wilderness lands shall be automatically incorporated in and managed as part of the Chumash Wilderness upon publication of a notice in the Federal Register.”

Garcia Mountain:

The Garcia Mountain Roadless Area is located in central San Luis Obispo County, approximately 15 miles east of San Luis Obispo. The area consists of four separate parcels adjacent to the existing Garcia Wilderness.

La Brea:

The La Brea inventoried roadless area is located within the Santa Lucia Ranger District, approximately 15 miles east of Santa Maria. It is composed of all the National Forest System lands between the San Rafael Wilderness and the Sisquoc Land Grant south from NFSR 11N04 (near the North Fork of La Brea Creek) to NFSR 8N02 (near Zaca Lake).

Machesna Mountain:

The Machesna Mountain Roadless Area is within the Santa Lucia Ranger District, approximately 20 miles east of San Luis Obispo. The area consists of four separate parcels adjacent to Machesna Mountain Wilderness Area. Access is to this area best gained from the
Pozo Fire Station via Forest Routes 29S01 and 31S02.

Madulce-Buckhorn:

The portion of the Madulce-Buckhorn Roadless Area proposed for wilderness is located in Santa Barbara County, approximately 10 miles north of Santa Barbara. Elevations range from 4,926 feet at the headwaters of Buckhorn Creek to 2,000 feet where Buckhorn Creek leaves the area. Access is limited to non-motorized travel, and there are no trails within the interior of the inventoried roadless area.

Matilija:

The Matilija Roadless Area is located in Ventura County, approximately six miles northeast of the town of Ojai. Elevations range from just over 5,600 feet at the summit of Ortega Hill to 1,600 feet where the Upper North Fork of Matilija Creek leaves the area. Access is from State Highway 33 along the Matilija Creek Road (Forest Route 5N13) and the Ortega Road (Forest Route 6N01).

Mono:

The Mono Roadless Area is located in Santa Barbara County approximately 10 miles north of Santa Barbara. Elevations range from Hildreth Peak at 5,065 feet to 1,600 feet, where Mono Creek leaves the area. The area is surrounded by existing administrative jeep-ways. Access is limited to non-motorized travel originating primarily from Mono Campground. The Mono/Alamar Trail and a portion of the Poplar Trail comprise 10 miles of non-motorized trails within the area. The Mono/Alamar Trail does receive some mountain bike use. Mountain bikers also use the 25-mile Loma-Victor Jeepway from the Monte Arido Road to an area just south of Ogilvy Ranch for extended backcountry travel and dispersed camping.

Eligible Wild and Scenic Rivers

Piru Creek
Sespe Creek
Arroyo Seco River

Proposed Research Natural Areas

Big Pine Mountain
Sawmill Mountain
White Mountain
Valley Oak
Ventana Cones

Proposed Special Interest Areas

Bear Ponds
Camatta
Mono Basin
Milpitas

SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST

Recommended Wilderness (RW): This zone includes land that the Forest Service is recommending to Congress for wilderness designation.

Cucamonga B Expansion:

The Cucamonga Roadless Area is located in the western portion of the Front Country Ranger District. The area lies west of the Lytle Creek Ranger Station and the Lytle Creek community, with the more urbanized Rancho Cucamonga and the Upland communities located five miles to the south.

Raywood Flat B (San Gorgonio Expansion):

The Raywood Flat Roadless Area is located in the east side of the Front Country Ranger District. It is bounded on the north and east by the San Gorgonio Wilderness, west by FDR 1S08, and south by the San Gorgonio River. Raywood Flat lies near the Oak Glen Fire Station and Oak Glen and Forest Falls communities, with the more urbanized Inland Empire communities located 10 miles to the southwest.

Sugarloaf:

The Sugarloaf Mountain Roadless Area is located in the southeast portion of the Mountaintop Ranger District, near Camp Heart Bar and the Big Bear community

Eligible Wild and Scenic Rivers

Bautista Creek
Bear Creek
Fish Creek
Fuller Mill Creek
Holcomb Creek
Lytle Creek – Middle Fork
Palm Canyon
San Jacinto River – North Fork
Santa Ana River
Santa Ana River – South Fork
Siberia Creek
Whitewater River – East Fork of South Fork
Deep Creek

Proposed Special Interest Areas

Childrens Forest
Deep Creek

5. CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST MEETINGS THIS WEEK

It is important for recreationists to make a presence at these meetings to let those attempting to restrict our historical access that we will actively oppose them. Each week we will be announcing the forest plan meetings to be held during that week. This week’s meeting will all be for the Cleveland National Forest:

CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

May 10 (Monday)
San Diego Natural History Museum
Discovery Room
1788 El Prado
San Diego, CA
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

May 11 (Tuesday)
Corona Public Library
650 S. Main Street
Corona, CA
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Exit the 91 freeway at Main Street and take a right and proceed to Main Street then take a right and park in lot behind the Library.

May 12 (Wednesday)
Ramona Community Center
434 Aqua Lane
Ramona, CA
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

May 13 (Thursday)
Alpine Community Center
1830 Alpine Blvd.
Alpine, CA
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

May 14 (Friday)
East Valley Community Center
2245 East Valley Parkway
Escondido, CA
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

May 15 (Saturday)
City of San Juan Capistrano
Community Hall
25925 Camino Del Avion
San Juan Capistrano, CA
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Exit I-5 at Ortega in SJC, take a right, get in left lane immediately and take a left on Del Obispo. Follow Del Obispo across the Rail Road tracks on down to Del Avion and take a left on Del Avion to the Community Hall parking lot (on the left).

For information on all the planned forest plan meetings go to: www.fs.fed.us/r5/scfpr

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