Fellow cyclists, the four Southern California National Forests Land Management Plan Amendment is currently in its public comment period. The amendment makes changes to Land Management plans in the Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernadino and Cleveland National Forests. Within that proposal are two alternatives that will forever impact bicycle access to public lands in the Angeles National Forest.
Maps of the proposals are available here.
Alternative 1, the “no-action” alternative, is the only alternative we can presently support.
Alternative 2 retains a backcountry non-motorized status for Red Mountain and Tule districts, but it appears that the trails in the Fish Canyon/Salt creek areas may be forever closed. These trails have appeared in guidebooks dating back to the 90’s, and we have ride reports from much more recent times. We asked for these trails to be left out of any wilderness proposals. There are many other trails, official and unofficial, in the area, and we’re seeking documentation of those trails. If you have knowledge of these potentially affected trails, let us know. We could support Alternative 2 if the trails in question are cherry-stemmed out of the wilderness proposal.
In Alternative 3, the Fish Canyon/Salt Creek proposed wilderness on which we commented last year has now been expanded to include the Red Mountain and Tule districts of the Angeles National Forest. These two areas lie to the east and south of the Fish Canyon/Salt Creek area. These two areas were not included as potential wilderness in the original scoping documents, and we therefore made no comment on them, other than to offer our general support for their designation for non-motorized backcountry use. Now, in Alternative 3, these two areas and the many trails that traverse them are included as wilderness. Local riders have been riding these trails for more than 30 years, right up to the present. We cannot allow Alternative 3 to be adopted.
We too would like to see these areas protected, and feel that backcountry non-motorized designation gives the area adequate protection, but the environmental lobby is pushing for federal wilderness. We have proposed a compromise, a federally designated Special Conservation Area, which prohibits extractive use, development and road-building and can be custom tailored to allow for non-motorized recreational use, while affording stronger protection for and monitoring of the environment. This would require special legislation.
After the public meetings in March, we will be compiling and submitting our comments on the proposals. We encourage everyone to submit comments on the proposals, along with supporting documentation (GPS tracks, photos) of bicycle use of the trails. The comment period will close on May 16, 2013.
The Forest Service will be hosting multiple open house meetings during the comment period. The content and format of each meeting will be the same. Meetings will begin with an open house where Forest Service staff will be available to answer questions about the Draft SEIS. A brief presentation will begin 30 minutes after the meeting opens, followed by an opportunity to ask questions. Maps of the alternatives will be available for viewing. The meeting times and locations are:
- March 26, 2013, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Angeles National Forest Headquarters, 701 North Santa Anita Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91006
- March 26, 2013, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Alpine Community Center, 1830 Alpine Blvd, Alpine, CA 91901 (Hosted by the Cleveland National Forest)
- March 27, 2013, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Palomar Ranger District Office, 1634 Black Canyon Road, Ramona, CA 92065
- March 28, 2013, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Santa Clara Mojave Rivers Ranger District Office, 33708 Crown Valley Road, Acton, CA 93510
- March 28, 2013, 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM, San Bernardino National Forest Headquarters, 602 S. Tippecanoe Ave., San Bernardino, CA 92408
- April 9, 2013, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Mt. Pinos Ranger District office, 34580 Lockwood Valley Road, Frazier Park, CA 93225
- April 10, 2013, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Southern California Edison, 103 David Love Place, Goleta, CA 93117 (Hosted by Los Padres National Forest)
For Further Information Contact Bob Hawkins, Project Manager firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the
project website at http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/fs-usda-pop.php?project=35130.
Update 3/25/2013: We have learned more about the draft proposals and reported here.