Friends of the Forest,
On August 29, 2001, a meeting was held to discuss the areas proposed for wilderness in the Trabuco District of the Cleveland National Forest. In attendance were Leannah Bradley from Senator Boxer's office, Mike Boeck and Judy Myers from Inter-Canyon League, a representative from the Riverside County Parks Department, Karla Gallegos the Forest Service Trails Manager, Jim Meyer of Trails4All, Dana Judd from ETI (Equestrian), Randy Davis representing trail runners, Dave Perlman from the Sierra Club, and Chris Vargas from the Warrior's Society.
We had contacted County Supervisors Spitzer and Wilson to send representatives from the County of Orange to attend but they declined. We hope that in the future the County of Orange will take an active part in issues such as this that have such an impact on the quality of life of the citizens of Orange County. We thank the County of Riverside for sending a representative and for understanding the importance of this meeting.
We thank Senator Boxer for her interest in the local communities' concerns in regard to the proposed wilderness designations. Her aide, Leannah Bradley was very gracious and was very attentive to all our concerns. She stated that none of the proposed wilderness areas are set in stone and they can be modified according to the input of the local communities and officials.
Dave Perlman of the Sierra Club was very passionate that we understand the beauty of the forest and how important it is that we protect it. It serves a very important need as an outlet from the everyday stress of day-to-day living. He also shared his concerns about the different threats posed to the forest. He wanted to stress that our main goal should be to protect it. We all agreed to protect it and seek any designation that would offer solid protection and still provide for all non-gasoline or electric powered forms of recreation.
THE DESIGNATION WILL NOT AFFECT CURRENT LEGAL MOTORIZIED VEHICLE ACCESS ROUTES IN THE TRABUCO DISTRICT OF THE CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST IN ORANGE COUNTY.
We went over the areas that we agreed to be placed in wilderness. Dana Judd, who was not given the opportunity to express her views at our other meetings, was concerned about giving up Ladd because the county had plans to have a regional multi-use trail re-established there. She was concerned that if wilderness designation were given, mountain bikers would not be allowed access to the trails. Although she is an equestrian, she was concerned with equal access for everyone. She said she would agree to the wilderness designation for Ladd if all those present agree to push for the Re-establishment of another trail at Bear Flats lost to an earth slide.
We agreed to this proposal and will all work together to get this trail re-established. After this issue was settled, the consensus was to having portions of Ladd and the other areas of Coldwater and Morrell Canyon in Riverside proposed for wilderness. The Trabuco portion would be omitted and no trails used by mountain bikers would be affected. The representative from Riverside was concerned with the Coldwater and Morrell Canyon proposed designations because the County had plans for multi-use trails in the area. Ms. Bradley stated she would arrange another meeting with Riverside Officials before a decision is made on these two areas.
Jim Meyer also mentioned that it was likely that the County of Orange PFRD/HBP would weigh in here with some concerns, since some trail alignment through Ladd Canyon is still on the County's Master Plan of Regional and Hiking Trails.
We asked Ms. Bradley when the final wilderness legislation would be brought before Congress and if we would be notified about the final designations.
She replied that Senator Boxer is hoping to present it before the end of the year and she would contact us all and let us know the final designations.
All those present agreed that we would work together to protect the remaining areas with other designations that would afford the same protection as Wilderness, but not affect mountain biking or any other form of recreation that is not gasoline or electric powered. We will keep you updated on the final designations when they are approved.
This is where you come in. We are hoping to apply roadless designation to these areas. It is important that we all support the acceptance of this designation and comment on it. Until this designation or any other strong designation that would offer the same protections is developed, we must all agree to passionately oppose any road or other development through or in the forest. This land is too precious to lose.
All those that participated represented all the varied groups: hikers, equestrians, trail runners, mountain bikers, and canyon residents. They have shown the power of working together and what we can accomplish when a treaty of peace exists between us all. It is our hope that this agreement sets a national standard and replaces the current animosity that sometimes exists between user groups. We all want the same thing, to protect the forest and encourage responsible use.
We all vowed to work together to be united in our love for the forest in the future.
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