Comments are needed on the Ashley National Forest's Motorized Travel Plan, Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Send comments by July 16: (ANF has extended comments for 45 days until 7/16 from 6/1)
THE ASHLEY PROPOSAL
First: This is not a travel management plan--it is a motorized travel management plan meant to meet the concerns of off-road/all terrain vehicle (ORV/ATV) users. Second: It does not address snowmobile travel. Third: All cross country motorized travel is prohibited.
The Ashley selected Alternative B which increases the mileage of designated motorized roads on the forest by some 74 miles! It increases the mileage of motorized trails open to all vehicles by 54 miles! It designates some 128 miles of roads and trails in roadless areas open to vehicles.
Within this context it is important to note that the vast majority of these designations, in and out of roadless areas, and the increased mileage of designated routes do not represent new construction, but simply designating for use previously undesignated/unauthorized/ILLEGAL routes mostly on the Vernal Ranger District. For years the Ashley ignored this growing problem.
Also, the Ashley was required to adopt a new Utah forest-wide decision allowing dispersed camping off designated routes within 150 feet. The Ashley was allowing camping to occur within 300 feet of designated routes. Unbelievably enough, the Ashley sneaks around this rule by designating some 217 routes, something like 72 miles of 300 foot and longer dispersed camping routes (many in roadless areas), while still allowing dispersed camping 150 feet from all designated routes! Again, it is important to recognized these routes were all in existence as undesignated/unauthorized/ILLEGAL routes. Even more frustrating, there is no data or analysis, just simple speculation, as to how important these sites are for dispersed recreation!
The Ashley has the audacity of suggesting, for the most part, there are no notable environmental impacts to wildlife, for example, simply because the vast majority of newly designated routes were already on the ground and being used as undesignated/unauthorized/ILLEGAL routes.
At the same time, there are some good and very notable closures as well. The long Marsh Bench Road is closed and proposed open to non-motorized use. Galloway Spring road is closed and open to non-motorized use. Some seven miles of ATV roads are closed in the Ashley Gorge roadless area.
The HUPC PROPOSAL
Thank you much. We hope you will make your wild voice heard!
Send comments by July 16:
Imagine a mountain defined by the creation of life, not the production of resources.