July 16, 2007
Q: So what can I do?
A: Get involved! NOW! Make sure everyone you know responds during the 45 day comment period. Get on the forest service e-mail list. Pass out flyers on the route designation process in a National Forest near you. Post on various message boards on the internet to spread the news. ELDO National will be holding meetings all over NorCal after the final Draft is picked on the 20th. GO TO ONE OF THOSE!!!
Q: How do I find out if my campsite, trail etc is on the chopping block?
A: At least for El Dorado National, they have created 5 alternative maps. Alternative â€śAâ€ť, is a complete inventory of all the roads and trails in the forest. The other 4 maps are versions that they will pick from. They pick the one they want in ELDO on July 20th, thatâ€™s when the public comment period begins. You will need to compare the inventory map against the new map from the forest service. YOU MUST DO THIS! We will not know which alternative the Forest Service will pick until July 20th (for ELDO), but it is best to be prepared. Check all your normal areas you 4 wheel, camp, hunt, fish etc. in.
Eldoâ€™s alterantive maps can be seen here:
Q: how does this whole thing happen? What are the steps?
A: Itâ€™s a five step process:
a. The Forest Service does an inventory of all existing roads and trails used by off-road vehicles and compile the info. This includes â€śuser-createdâ€ť roads that the forest service does not manage.
b. They issue an order prohibiting wheeled vehicles on these routes until the project is over.
c. The forest service proposes a new map (or multiple alternative maps) of the forest with routes designated and/or removed from the maps. Supposedly this is done with public input.
d. The Forest service releases a draft map with which routes will be for off-road use and which routes will be closed.
e. The public has a forty-five day window to argue for these routes to remain open. (or closed for that matter)
f. The forest service makes a â€śfinal-finalâ€ť map of the forest identifying their â€śapprovedâ€ť routes.
Q: So is the Rubicon safe?
A: Yes........ and no. Since the trail is a county road, the Forest Service cannot mess with it, BUT many of the spur routes and bypasses off the 'Con are on the chopping block. forget driving off the trail to camp....
Major spur routes or portions of the 'Con on the chopping block:
* Old True Sluice
* long bypass north of Little Sluice, feeds into Thousand Dollar Hill
* bypasses near Devil's Postpile
* spur routes near Buck Island, especially below the dam
* McKinstry access to Ellis Creek
If the forest service closes 2,500 miles of OTHER trails in the forest, (Including Barrett Lake trail which is on the chopping block) where do you think those users are going to go? You think the 'Con is packed now, wait until after route dez....
One thing that may really hurt us in the future is now you will have a greater amount of users in a smaller area, thereby creating more damage and giving the "Other side" more ammo to close even more trails. It's a catch-22. They really got us cornered with this one...
Q: So really, how bad is all this?
A: Here are two sample maps of the same exact area in ELDO National forest. This is maybe 40 square miles worth of roads off of Iron Mountain/Silverfork road. The first map is the current inventory of trails, notice the numbered routes. Very few if ANY of these are single track trails, mostly dirt forest roads. I personally know this area VERY WELL.
The second map is what would happen if Alternative D is picked on the 20th. "There is a worse alternative than this!" To make it even WORSE notice the routes that do not have a red line thru them. That means green-stickers are not allowed on them anymore. (ATV'S Dirt Bikes etc)
Potential AFTER route Dez