Archive for September, 2005

Cleveland NF Forest Plan 2005 Record of Decision

Cleveland NF Forest Plan 2005 Record of Decision

I have reviewed the range of alternatives, read the public comments, and considered the evaluations of the alternatives in the FEIS. Based on all of this, I have selected Alternative 4a for the land management plan for the Cleveland National Forest. Alternative 4a is a modification of the preferred alternative
published in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in 2004.

Alternative 4a was modified (using elements from the range of alternatives) based on the public comments received during the 90-day comment period and from internal review by Forest Service staff. By selecting this alternative, I am approving the revised forest plan that describes in detail the strategic vision, goals, objectives, standards, suitable uses, and land use zones for the Cleveland National Forest that are described in Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the forest plan.

Alternative 4a includes a combination of active management strategies that will be used to conserve or restore the health of the national forest. Most of the existing uses on the national forest are expected to continue. For example, recreation residences are a valid use that will continue, subject to compliance
with the terms and conditions of the cabin owner’s permit. Most of the development (such as roads, developed recreation sites, and administrative structures) that might be expected to occur on the national forest has occurred. The Forest transportation systems (roads) have been built and much expansion should not occur. The decision is based on the concept of gradual change over time, expanding or improving the capacity of existing facilities before building new ones.

My decision strikes a reasonable balance between the sustainability of the national forest and the complex demands expressed by a wide variety of people, groups, and organizations affected by the management of the Cleveland National Forest. Although the responsibility for this decision is mine, I have made the decision using the information and help of many others. Thousands of comments were received during the development of the revised forest plan that began in 2000.

There were many comments about the agency’s ability to effectively manage the national forest with recent trends in budget and a smaller workforce. The challenge remains and we are counting on the help of people working collaboratively with us to reach our common goals. The management of motorized access in the national forest is a good example. The decision clearly emphasizes the retention of motorized public access using the currently
designated National Forest System roads and trails. This policy is important for forest health, the protection of sensitive resources (such as riparian areas or threatened and endangered species habitat), fire suppression, community protection or other important vegetation management activities. In order for this policy to work we will need the help of people working collaboratively to develop public education programs and communication strategies to help explain the importance of managing motorized uses on designated routes.

My decision applies only to the Cleveland National Forest and does not apply to any other federal, state, or private lands, although the effects to these lands and the effects of my decision on lands surrounding the national forest have been considered.

September 20, 2005
BERNARD WEINGARDT
Regional Forester, Responsible Official
Pacific Southwest Region
USDA Forest Service

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National Forest Blueprint Tries to Balance Interests

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-forest24sep24,1,7487231.story

National Forest Blueprint Tries to Balance Interests

Plan preserves more land as wilderness but doesn’t rule out development elsewhere.
By Sara Lin, Times Staff Writer

A long-awaited U.S. Forest Service plan released Friday preserves an additional 87,000 acres of parkland in Southern California’s four national forests from development, but doesn’t eliminate the possibility of a toll road, hydroelectric plant and continued oil drilling on other parklands.

The new blueprint for managing some of the most intensely used public forests in the nation has been shaped over four years through lobbying efforts by environmentalists, off-road enthusiasts and others.

By law, the federal government must update its management plan for the forests every 10 to 15 years.

Forest Service officials said their plan balances conservation needs with the growing recreational demands of the 8 million people who annually visit the 3.5 million acres of the Angeles, Cleveland, San Bernardino and Los Padres national forests.

The number of visitors is expected to increase by 20% in 15 years, putting added pressure on the parks’ resources.

“Everyone was not going to get what they wanted,” said Matt Mathes, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.

For instance, the plan opens new sections of backcountry to all-terrain vehicles, but the 740,000 acres of parkland zoned for off-road enthusiasts in the plan represents a sharp reduction from the original proposal — a reflection of public outcry.

Still, off-road advocates said Forest Service officials recognized the growing demand for alternative forms of recreation.

“Certainly we’d welcome the agency looking at increasing the amount of off-highway vehicles recreation on federal lands,” said Don Amador, California representative of the Blue Ribbon Coalition, an off-road group.

Under the new guidelines, about 1.2 million acres of national forest land in Southern California will be protected wilderness, where only hikers and people on horseback can venture. The additional amount of preserved land is nearly twice the size of Catalina Island.

But environmentalists said they were disappointed that more of the forest was not designated as wilderness areas — especially property in the Cleveland National Forest in Orange County, where a toll road and hydroelectric plant have been proposed, and in Los Padres National Forest in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, where oil drilling is a possibility under a plan approved in July.

“These forests are the last big natural open spaces left … the [Forest Service] is forgoing the strongest protection available to protect that land,” said Bill Corcoran, senior regional representative for the Sierra Club. “They just missed that opportunity.”

The forest plan merely recognizes that Southern California’s needs and desires for its public lands could change over time, Forest Service spokesman Mathes said.

“These plans have to be forward-looking,” he said. “It would be unprofessional, and frankly irresponsible, to close the door on something that humans may desperately need five to 10 years from now.”

Though the new guidelines are regarded as the official game plan on forest management for the next two decades, individual development projects would still have to go through several layers of federal approval.

It takes an act of Congress to permanently protect wilderness areas, and only portions of existing wilderness areas have this permanent protection.

The clash between environmentalists and development interests over the forest management plan is inevitable, said Sean Hecht, executive director of the Environmental Law Center at UCLA.

“I don’t think there’s a single right answer, it’s a question of values: what is it that we want to do with our public lands and how those choices are made,” Hecht said.

Throughout much of the 20th century, Hecht said, the Forest Service had been largely focused on harvesting resources like timber and minerals from its national parks space.

In the last 20 to 30 years, he said, public sentiment shifted toward preservation and environmentalism.

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09/19/05 Warrior’s Society News

In this issue:

1. Switchback Cyclery 6-Hours of Orange County Grand Opening Party

2. Thursday evening pre-view ride of the Switchback Cyclery 6-Hour course

3. Parks board lost a powerful advocate

4. It’s going to be a cold winter…

1. SWITCHBACK CYCLERY 6-HOURS OF ORANGE COUNTY GRAND OPENING PARTY

We had a great time at the Grand Opening Party for the new “Lare-Dog” Trail at the Flying B that will be used in the Switchback 6-Hours of Orange County course. This is a whole new course, not the same one used in the 12-Hours of Orange County last spring.

The designers and builders of the trail, as well as special guests, took their first complete ride on the course. The Lare-Dog Trail is a blast going up, as we will be doing the in 6-Hour event, or going down. We also created two new bypasses and a great exchange area for the event that will keep us from dealing with traffic coming and going into the ranch. We will be modifying the last 250 feet of Warrior’s Trail, eliminating “Dan’s Drop” and the cross-traffic problems we were experiencing.

After the ride everyone was given a buffet of Mango Salmon, Beer Sautéed Chicken and Portobello Steak along with salad, home made squash soup, home made potato salad, beer or soda and pie for dessert. Many thanks to our chef’s; Gena, Alex, Tanya and Jesse for preparing and cooking an excellent gourmet dinner.

As I mentioned in a previous email, we will be building two new trails over the winter, “They Killed Kenny” and “You Bastard.” “You Bastard” will be a stunt/downhill trail designed by Jim Sladeck who designed the stunts at Brian Lopes house in Trabuco Canyon.

Eron Boyer and Jason Martin will be designing “They Killed Kenny” which will be used for both cross-country events and downhill events.

Depending on when “You Bastard” is completed, we will have a downhill competition either at the Warrior’s Spring Cross Country Race in April or the Warrior’s Fall Cross Country Race in November or next year.

Many thanks to the following people for building and designing the Lare-Dog Trail:

Larry “Lare-Dog” Branham – Designer
Ken “Dies Many Deaths” Rands – Designer
Tim Panttaja
Gerry Huth
Calvin Mulder
Jady Enomoto
Keith Eckstein
Jason Martin
Suzanne Martin
Eron Boyer
Bob McCarter
Steve Peterson
Josh Jacquot
Jesse Vargas
Dave Ross
Lubos Durdovic
Matthew Nourmohamadian
Leslie Williams
Bill Babishoff
Dan Gallagher
Sherry Panttaja
Reed Price

2. THURSDAY EVENING PRE-VIEW RIDE OF THE SWITCHBACK CYCLERY 6-HOUR COURSE

We’ve already started receiving a lot of registrations for the November 5th Switchback 6-Hours of Orange County (a lot of solo riders) and since this is a new event (and we want to make sure that both the support staff and participants enjoy themselves) we will be limiting registration to 200 participants.

A pre-view ride will be held this Thursday, September 22nd, beginning at 6:00 at the Flying B Ranch. This ride is only open to those already registered in the event. If are already registered for the event and you’re interested in joining us email us to RSVP.

We will have additional pre-view rides scheduled for those registered for the event on Saturday’s or Sunday’s in October.

We estimate the course will be 4.5 miles long with about 1,200 feet of total elevation gain per lap. The course will take expert/pro riders around 30 minutes to complete a lap, intermediates about 35 to 45 minutes to complete a lap and novices 45 minutes to 55 minutes to complete a lap.

Doug at Geoladders will be out on Tuesday to ride the course and provide a 3D map as well as the exact distance and total elevation gain. We’ll have a link to the map and stats in next week’s news as well as an update on the 2006 Pow Wow.

At the event we will also be providing a Bounce House for the kids as well as a free kids race after the 6-Hour event ends at 2:00. There is a playground, field and plenty of shade so bring the whole family out to root you on and enjoy the day. Food will be available for purchase and kids four and younger eat free.

The cost of the event is $35 per person and includes custom beaded gold, silver and bronze coup feathers for the top finishers and a lunch of salad, rolls, veggie or chicken pasta and beer or soda.

Applications for the Switchback Cyclery 6-Hours of Orange County are now available at the majority of bike shops in Orange County. You can also download and application from our web site at:

http://tinyurl.com/blhbe

Or register on active.com at:

http://tinyurl.com/blwoz

3. PARKS BOARD LOST A POWERFUL ADVOCATE

Mike Boeck, our Consultant on the Road through the Santa Ana Mountains and the East Orange Development in Orange, recently resigned from the Silverado Modjeska Recreation and Parks District Board. A story written by Frank Mickadeit of the Orange County Register on his resignation and his reasons for resigning follows my comments.

Mike has fought tirelessly for the Community to provide trails and open space for all the residents of Orange County, including the “Flatlanders” who don’t live in the canyons. Mike was also instrumental in exposing the detrimental effects the Sierra Club’s Conservation Alternative 6 Forest Plan would have on fire management and control as well as on our recreational access.

He was a member of the Sierra Club’s Santa Ana Mountains Task Force until he was asked to resign from the Sierra Club when he openly confronted them for not being honest in their negotiations over the Southern California Wilderness Bill and the effect it would have on recreational access and fire management.

Despite his decision to resign from the Parks District for the Canyons, he will continue to be an advocate for access, trails and open space. Mike has never been, and will never be, in the pocket of anyone and will expose corruption when he confronts it.

We look forward to continue working with Mike as our lead consultant to provide and protect recreation opportunities and multi-use access for the citizens of Orange County.

By FRANK MICKADEIT
The Orange County Register
Friday, September 16, 2005

The News

Mike Boeck, my eyes and ears out in the canyons, abruptly resigned from the Silverado Modjeska Recreation and Parks District this week. It was nasty.

This agency doesn’t sound like a big-deal political entity, but it covers 73 square miles of O.C.’s backcountry, or what is left of it, and has the potential to be a player when it comes to acquiring trails and open space for the rest of us flatlanders to enjoy on weekends. Or, perhaps I should say, had the potential.

Boeck rubs a lot of people in the canyons the wrong way (I hear from them whenever I quote Boeck), but no one can question that he knows O.C.’s backcountry like few others, cares passionately about its future, and that because of his outreach (detractors would say because of his ego), he made this obscure parks board better known to those in a position to help it – like the county Board of Supervisors and environmental nonprofits.

In a scathing letter that accompanied his resignation, he complains that the board president removed him from arguably the board’s most important committee, Trails and Open Space. He also says the board may have violated state laws by misrepresenting in the minutes what happened at the June 23 board meeting where all this came to an ugly head, by ending the tape recording of the meeting and by signing a contract without proper consent.

The minutes, online at www.smrpd.org, say that during the meeting Boeck opined on some matter and that another board member asked him to “stick to the facts.”

Boeck, the minutes say, “stood up and began to shout and gesture toward the chair(man).” He was called out of order but continued his outburst, and the chairman ordered the meeting halted. “Director Boeck was escorted from the room by several members of the audience, and the room was cleared.”

Yikes. I tried calling him yesterday but he was out hiking. That’s so Mike. I tried calling the park district office but just got an answering machine. That’s so Silverado.

4. IT’S GOING TO BE A COLD WINTER

It was October and the Native Americans on a remote reservation asked their new Chief if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was a Chief in a modern society he had never been taught the old secrets. When he looked at the sky he couldn’t tell what the winter was going to be like. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect firewood to be prepared. But being a practical leader, after several days he got an idea.

He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, “Is the coming winter going to be cold?”

“It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold,” the meteorologist at the weather service responded.

So the Chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more firewood in order to be prepared.

A week later he called the National Weather Service again. “Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter?”

“Yes,” the man at National Weather Service again replied, “it’s going to be a very cold winter.”

The Chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find.

Two weeks later the Chief called the National Weather Service again. “Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?”

“Absolutely,” the man replied. “It’s looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters ever.”

“How can you be so sure?” the Chief asked.

The weatherman replied, “The Native Americans are collecting firewood like crazy.”

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