Posts Tagged ‘Public Comments’

Sequioa, Inyo and Sierra Forest Plans Hinder Sharing the PCT Campaign

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

 

Access to many trails could be affected by new Wilderness

Access to many trails could be affected by new Wilderness

The three major National Forests of the Southern Sierras are currently in the process of updating their Forest Management Plans. They are developing their plans under the guidelines of the new 2012 planning process. As they are among the first forests to do so, they are being referred to as “early-adopters” of the new planning process.

Part of the 2012 planning process requires the forests to evaluate areas of the forest they may be suitable for addition into the Wilderness Protection System. Currently, a large proportion of all three of these forests are designated Wilderness and are off-limits to bicycles. Many people heeding the environmentalists calls for wilderness at any cost, don’t realize that this greatly impacts recreational access. We are objecting to any new wilderness areas in these plans.

Another aspect of the plan calls for the designation of a Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail Corridor. The provisions prohibit any trail that allows bicycles or motorcycles to even CROSS the PCT, and gives the Pacific Crest Trail Association veto power over any trails that lie within that corridor, even if they are not the PCT. This is extremely troublesome, and may even be illegal.

As you may be aware, a group of people have been actively urging the forest service to review the order that closed the PCT to bicycles in 1988. The decision to close the PCT was never publicly reviewed, as required by the forest service own management guidelines and public law. Portions of this plan would circumvent that legally required public process, and making the ban on bicycles permanent. In the opinion of many, the current ban on bicycles was enacted in the same way a temporary order would be enacted, and is required to be reviewed regularly.

CORBA submitted the following comments on the plans, as this affects not only the PCT where it passes through the Sierras, but also has ramifications for our local portions of the PCT in the Angeles, San Bernardino and Cleveland National Forests. The comment period originally expired Monday, after only 30 days with a very poor public outreach effort. Comments are now being accepted an additional three days, ending tomorrow, October 3rd, 2014. Until then you still have a chance to submit comments here.

IMBA’s suggested talking points include:

  • The plan should include a trail planning Objective that will allow for a purposefully designed trail system, including bicycles.
  • Object to management that furthers the bicycle closure order on the Pacific Crest Trail.
  • Object to the delegation of any inherently governmental decision making authority to the Pacific Crest Trail Association.
  • Mountain bikers can be a huge asset to the PCT—we contribute 700,000 volunteer hours annually to trail stewardship.

For more information and suggestions on what to write in your comments, visit the following:

 

 

The Startle Factor

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

By Mark Langton

I was going to write an article about perception vs. reality relating to how different trail users perceive others on the trail: For example, I may be riding my bike at 15 mph, a relatively modest speed, but someone walking might think it’s way too fast. But a recent email sent to us more than illustrates this concept:

Dear CORBA,

I sometimes walk my big dog on fire roads also used by mountain bikers. I try to pay attention as to the whereabouts of the bikers so that I can pull my dog aside, but I’m often distracted. I’ve had a number of near-misses and one bad accident. A biker came around a bend very fast, could clearly see my back and the face of my big dog. I didn’t hear him coming. My dog lunged at him, which slammed me into the ground, and she dragged me as she tried to chase him. I screamed. Did the biker stop, turn around, show concern? No. He kept going.

It seems that many bikers have no idea how to “share the road” with animals. Does COBRA provide education to bikers? Is there a way to communicate to the mountain biking community that you shouldn’t ride toward or near a big dog, especially when the owner doesn’t see you. A dog will think its owner is being attacked and will go into defense mode. That translates into lunging at or jumping on the biker. A safe practice for the biker would be to shout “Bike!” when approaching a big dog walker who doesn’t appear to see him, and give the person a chance to pull in the dog. That keeps everyone safe.

Tracy Sulkin

Here was my response:

Hi Tracy,

Sorry to hear about your incident. It is troubling to hear that the rider did not come to your assistance, and as a human being I am disappointed he did not show more concern.

Yes, CORBA does try to educate riders about situations like the one you describe. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to control or educate everyone, nor can we install common sense and courtesy.

Your experience points out that we all need to be aware of things that could potentially be dangerous out on the trails.

Sincerely,

Mark Langton

You may have responded differently, but the bottom line is, different people react differently to different situations, and we all should treat each other with as much respect as we would expect from others.

State Parks Programatic EIR Public Hearing

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

This Saturday, November 13, California State Parks will be hosting the final public hearing on their Draft Programatic EIR.

Bicycle access to trails in the Santa Monica Mountains and many other areas will be directly affected by the final version of this document, so it is important to ensure that mountain bikers are fully engaged in this process. CORBA and IMBA representatives will be attending, and we urge everyone who would like to see more trails opened for bicycles in State Parks to attend and make comments.

What is a Programatic EIR?  This is an effort to streamline the process of converting trails from one designation, such as hiker-only, to another designation, such as multi-use. This is good for mountain biking.  According to IMBA:

California State Park’s Director Ruth Coleman has embraced a statewide Programatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) that will improve the process to convert trails to shared-use status. “This will lay the groundwork for the efficient conversion of trails that IMBA California and clubs have been requesting for some time,” says IMBA California’s Tom Ward. This bodes well for efforts to open Bill’s Trail in Marin, as well as numerous trails in Santa Cruz and Humboldt counties, Mt Diablo State Park, Folsom State Recreation Area, Donor Lake State Park, various Sonoma County parks and miles of trails in the Los Angeles basin. According to Ward, park managers have often shown support for improved mountain bike access — but each time they attempt implementation they are threatened with lawsuits from opposing forces. “The intent of PEIR is to curtail the legal challenges to each trail conversion project,” says Ward. He adds, “This is a major milestone for IMBA’s efforts to increase mountain bike access in state parks.”

The meeting will take place from:

1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, November 13
Lake Activities Building,Lake Perris State Recreation Area,
17801 Lake Perris Drive,
Perris, CA 92571 [map].

The Notice of Preparation for the draft PEIR can be found at http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=980. Public comments are being accepted through November 30. Comments on the PEIR may be submitted in person at the workshops, or by either mail to:

Environmental Coordinator – Trails PEIR
1 Capitol Mall, Suite 410
Sacramento, CA  95814

Or by email to:  ceqansc@parks.ca.gov
(Note:  In the Subject Line, write:  ‘Trails PEIR’)

Comments can also be submitted by Fax to: (916) 445-8883;  Please address faxes to: Environmental Coordinator – Trails PEIR

We’ll have more details and a more thorough report after Saturday’s presentation and hearing.

Giant Sequoia National Monument – Public Comments Extended

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Many mountain bikers from Southern California venture out to the trails of the Southern Sierras.  Places like Freeman Creek Trail, Quaking Aspen, Camp Nelson and other areas have been enjoyed by off-road cyclists for many years.

Camp Nelson Trail

Camp Nelson Trail, at the heart of the Monument

The Sequoia National Forest is currently accepting public comments on the Giant Sequoia National Monument draft Environmental Impact Statement, which includes several Management Alternatives. This Draft Environmental Impact Statement (draft EIS) describes six alternatives that would amend the 1988 Sequoia National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan to manage the Giant Sequoia National Monument. The draft EIS document will implement President Clinton’s 2000 Proclamation which established the Monument.

Of the six management alternatives presented, Alternative C  could result in a ban for mountain bikes on trails in the Monument, while Alternative D would limit mountain bikes to existing trails without any future expansion. Dispersed camping and other activities are also adversely affected. The remaining options allow for most current trails to be grandfathered in, with varying degrees of flexibility for trail use designations.

We prefer Alternative B, which allows for existing bicycle use and future expansion of recreational opportunities. Alternative F is also favorable to multi-use and bicycles, with the only difference between B and F being the way that fuels reduction and fire control are managed. The complete draft statement is available online for review.

For those who are concerned about California trails being forever closed to mountain bikers, please make your comments to the Sequoia National Forest. This National Monument is bordered by extensive Wilderness areas and a National Park, all of which is off-limits to mountain bike use. We can’t afford to lose more! If you haven’t ridden this area, it offers some spectacular high-country riding and is well worth a visit. It is also very much worth protecting for it’s unique ecological and recreational value.

IMBA is also reviewing the document drafts and will issue their official comments soon.  We encourage everyone to write in support of Alternative B, and strongly against Alternatives C and D. Note that you must login and/or register on the SNF Public Comment Portal to post your comments.

Comments are being accepted through December 3rd, 2010.