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Travel Plan Appeal Rejected

The Intermountain Regional Forester turned down our appeal of the Evanston/Mt. View Ranger Districts Travel Plan (LYNX, 4/03). We questioned three primary concerns in the travel plan:

  1. the differences between the alternatives analyzed were very small but with a clear and unarguable context that the alternative entitled Essential Summer Access (the most environmentally sound alternative) provided a distinct plus for water quality, stream and riparian habitats, and wildlife habitat integrity, while having no measurable impact upon human access or recreational opportunities;
  2. the analysis itself pointed to selection of this Essential Summer Access alternative because it notably favored and valued environmental integrity and recreational access; and
  3. in spite of this win-win approach the Forest Service lost its way again and selected an alternative that primarily measured its success on more miles of open dispersed camping spur roads, rather than the impacts of those dispersed camping spurs! Instead of measuring whether those roads actually are needed by motorized dispersed campers, the decision was based on the number of spur roads open!

While this kind of analysis might come from sophomore high school civics/government planning class or an introductory freshman forestry class in land planning, it doesn't belong in a Forest Service planning document or appeal analysis!

Thanks to the Evanston Ranger District and the Regional Office appeal review, there will be more stream crossings, far more acres within ½ mile of an open road, far fewer acres further than ½ mile of an open road, more miles of roads within 300 feet of streams…all for no reason!

Dick Carter

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