In our last update we explained the threats the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club's Conservation Alternative 6 posed to fire suppression and management. This week we will discuss the impact Alternative 6 would have on roads. If you missed last week's Forest Plan Update "What's at Stake Part I (fire management)" you can view it by clicking on the drop down menu on the top of this page.
In this issue:
1. Roads/ Recreational Access - The Sierra Club's and Center for Biological Diversity's campaign to remove our historical access
2. Upcoming Forest plan meetings for the Angeles and Los Padres National Forests (Wednesday, May 26th to Wednesday, June 2nd)
3. Meeting instructions and protocols for sound management advocates
As we mentioned last week, 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 are attending the current forest
plan meetings pushing for the adoption of Alternative 6 instead of the
alternatives chosen by the Forest Service; and they are in a panic.
The Warrior's Society does not see a great need for new roads or trails, but we do see a need to protect roads and trails we've used historically. The proposals being advocated by the CBD and the Sierra Club would result in the loss of much of our access. The Roads issue, combined with the proposals related to mountain biking, would remove mountain bikers from 99 percent of the trails in the Trabuco District here in Orange County, including the San Juan Trail.
The goal of the CBD and the Sierra Club is to remove as much public access as possible; but rather than being honest with the public they have hidden their agenda in a deceptively simple slogan "Protect and Restore our Forests!" instead of the truth - we must stop you from accessing the forest. If they were honest they'd name their Alternative "Remove Public Access from the National Forests Alternative 6."
Their proposed mountain bike recreational policies would force mountain bikers onto fire roads (as I will explain in next weeks update), but these fire roads will also be subject to removal. Their Road Removal Strategy (RRR) that identifies roads for removal and "obliteration" would have a dramatic effect on our access. Here in the Trabuco District of the Cleveland National Forest, Maple Springs Road (the road that begins at the end of Silverado Canyon) Trabuco Canyon Road (the road the leads to the Holy Jim Trail), the Indian Truck Trail, and the Harding Truck Trail would not meet their qualifications. I'm sure this is the case with many of the roads in your forest as well.
The Forest Service Fire agency representative alluded to the ramifications of adopting the Alternative 6 road management proposals and the negative consequences they would have on fire suppression and management. If you read Alternative 6 you will see there are numerous conflicting statements, such as existing roads should be minimized or obliterated if they do not meet their standards within a short time period - and yet prescribed burns should only be conducted using existing roads.
Their proposals do not take into account the lack of funding to pay for the personnel needed to evaluate the road system or to fund repairs, which would require a multi-million dollar funding increase. They propose that 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. How can you control a controlled burn if you remove the roads that make controlling them possible?
The page numbers are for reference and indicate the pages in Alternative 6 where the information was taken.
You can view the Conservation Alternative 6 on our web site. (3.7mb PDF file)
To quote directly from their alternative on page 344 and 345 (with examples of what roads in the Trabuco District, near Orange County, do not meet these criteria):
The RRR strategy shall identify roads subject to the removal as follows:
* Roads within and Adjacent to aquatic areas, riparian zones, coastal sage scrub, and other sensitive, ecologically significant habitats. (Maple Springs/Silverado, Trabuco Canyon)
* Roads occurring within habitat for TES species management indicator species that are sensitive to the direct and cumulative effects of roads. (Maple Springs/Silverado)
* Road in watersheds that feed into habitat for TES species and management indicator species that are sensitive to the direct and cumulative effects of roads. (Maple Springs/Silverado)
* Roads with the potential to deliver high levels of sediment to streams. (Virtually every road)
* Roads in watersheds with existing sedimentation or peakflow flooding problems. (Maple Springs/Silverado, Trabuco Canyon)
* Roads in watersheds with significant hydrologic problems, areas prone to mass failure, or other hazards. (Maple Springs/Silverado, Trabuco Canyon)
* Roads with stream crossings that cannot currently convey flow and sediment associated with a 100 year flood event. (Maple Springs/Silverado, Trabuco Canyon)
* Roads bisecting adjacent roadless areas, regardless of their size. (Maple Springs/Silverado, Trabuco Canyon, Harding Truck Trail, Indian Truck Trail)
* Roads surrounding designated Wilderness Areas.
* Roads identified as currently or potentially contributing to the invasion of exotic species. (Virtually every road)
* Roads leading to high fire-risk areas. (Virtually every road)
* Roads in watersheds with already high road densities.
In addition they would also require all roads on that are on native surface (dirt roads) to be rocked or graveled within 2 years. These standards supplement any other provisions or recommendations, including those related to recreation, in their alternative.
You can understand after reading these standards why the Forest Service decided to balance conservation and access by choosing reasonable draft alternative plans 2 and 4 instead of Conservation Alternative 6. They did not want to risk the lives of fire fighters or the lives of the public by choosing an alternative that would severely limit access for fire suppression and management - as well as severely limit the public's ability to access the forest for recreation.
The Forest Service is already under funded and we've just touched the surface of the proposals being put forth by the CBD and the Sierra Club. To fund their proposals would require a multi-million infusion of funding that is unlikely to happen - and I believe they know this. If their proposals and road standards are instituted in the Forest Plan, the Forest Service would not be able to meet the requirements or assessments within the time limits allowed (2 years to assess) and the CBD and the Sierra Club would have grounds to sue to close roads - because they did not comply with the Forest Plan requirements.
Either way, they will have achieved their goal of removing access and continue on their march to lock up our National Forests and limit public access, the goal of the Wildlands Project, which I will explain in my final update.
As I said; the devil is always in the details...
How can you sum up the road management 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 make every effort to remove roads that have been historically used by hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers and motorized vehicles for recreational access. We must remove roads that have been used by fire agencies for fire suppression and management, thus increasing the chance of the same devastating fires that have burned 19 million acres of habitat since 2000 and puts both fire fighters and the public's lives at risk. We must remove any evidence that "evil mankind" has touched this "holy" and "sacred" ground. It is Jihad - a Crusade.
The short version is:
"Protect and Restore our Forests!" means we must remove roads to prevent public recreational access and limit the ability of fire agencies to access our forest for fire fighting and suppression.
Like sheep led to slaughter by a wolf in sheep's clothing, the Sierra Club has abused the public's trust by not revealing the true agenda of the slogan "Protect and Restore our Forests!" and the detrimental effect it will have on their ability to access their forests. But to them this is not about honesty, it is a holy war, a Jihad and Crusade against the public's freedom to responsibly access their forests. As true believers in the evilness of mankind they will stop at nothing to keep humans off this holy ground.
It is a tragedy to see what the Sierra Club has become. From their beginning as a legitimate mainstream organization whose goal was to protect our forests for the use and enjoyment of future generations, to its' current religious-like fanatical belief that evil human presence/access must be removed from our National Forests at all cost; freedom be dammed!
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 in late July for this information or sign up on our email list to be kept informed on the forest plans and to be notified when to comment. Our web site is warriorssociety.org.
ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST
LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST
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 Biological Diversity 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:
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.
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