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USFS - Inyo National Forest

 For a number of years the INF has been working on a plan to regulate unmanaged motor vehicle travel by the public.  This significant effort resulted in a Travel Management Plan (TMP) for public motorized vehicle use and designation of public roads.  There has not yet been any evaluation of other needs and legal uses of roads that must be taken into consideration in a complete route inventory and use designation process.  Nor has there been any evaluation of impacts on the existing, built-environment that the road alteration envisaged in the subject grant applications would cause. 
 
The grant applications submitted by INF and Friends of the Inyo (FOI) provide for INF and FOI to carry out the projects.  Neither INF nor FOI are public agencies as defined by CEQA Section 21063, and therefore are incapable of being lead agencies for CEQA.  The respective County is the only public agency with general governmental powers for these projects and is therefore the appropriate lead agency.  Only the respective County has a broad enough mandate to properly weigh all of the built-environment and land use plan considerations in a proper CEQA analysis.  At this time the FOI and INF grant applications are premature insofar as they seek to physically alter existing roads.  I hope FOI and INF will begin working, and coordinating, with the agencies of the respective County to move these projects forward.
 
INF’s Proposal To Physically Alter Existing Roads Is In Violation Of The Memorandum of Intent between the USDA Forest Service and OHMVRC
The common goals of the Forest Service and the departments of the State of California are:
Inventory and Map trails, roads, and off route impact areas.
Designate trails, roads, and open areas.
Develop orders and establish consistent standards for signs and maps.
As the MOI explains:  "The work described herein does not involve any ground disturbing work" (MOI p.4, Type of Work).
 
 
INF’s Proposal To Physically Alter Existing Roads
Is In Violation Of State And Federal Environmental Laws.
 
INF is in error in its belief that the Inyo National Forest Travel Management FEIS and ROD authorize this work.  The Travel Management Project was not to make existing roads unusable for all purposes.  “The purpose of the Travel Management Project is to implement provisions of the 2005 Travel Management Rule (36 CFR Part 212, Subpart B)” (Final Environmental Impact Statement, Record of Decision, Inyo National Forest Motorized Travel Management, p.1).  "I recognize the need to regulate unmanaged motor vehicle travel by the public" (ibid, emphasis added)  The purpose of the Travel Management Project did not include destroying existing roads, or making them unusable for non-public or managed motor vehicle travel.
 
The Travel Management Rule requires the designation of lands for public motor vehicle use, and states “motor vehicle use .. not in accordance with these designations is prohibited by 36 CFR 261.13”.  It does not prohibit motor vehicle use on non-system roads by agencies and emergency vehicles.  Below is the full text of 36 CFR 261.13 with emphasis, and comments in parentheses.
 
Sec. 261.13  Motor vehicle use.
    After National Forest System roads, National Forest System trails, and areas on National Forest System lands have been designated pursuant to 36 CFR 212.51 on an administrative unit or a Ranger District of the National Forest System, and these designations have been identified on a motor vehicle use map, it is prohibited to possess or operate a motor vehicle on National Forest System lands in that administrative unit or Ranger District other than in accordance with those designations, provided that the following vehicles and uses are exempted from this
prohibition:
    (a) Aircraft;
    (b) Watercraft;
    (c) Over-snow vehicles (The proposed projects could affect this use);
    (d) Limited administrative use by the Forest Service;
    (e) Use of any fire, military, emergency, or law enforcement vehicle for emergency purposes;  (The proposed projects would affect these uses)
    (f) Authorized use of any combat or combat support vehicle for national defense purposes;  (The proposed projects would affect these uses)
    (g) Law enforcement response to violations of law, including pursuit;  (The proposed projects would affect these uses)
    (h) Motor vehicle use that is specifically authorized under a written authorization issued under Federal law or regulations; and  (The proposed projects would affect future applications for these uses)
    (i) Use of a road or trail that is authorized by a legally
documented right-of-way held by a State, county, or other local public road authority.  (The proposed projects would affect these uses and future resolution of these right-of-ways)

 
 Below are the relevant sections from the TMP FEIS.
 
Once a decision is made, it is anticipated there will be a higher number of violations (i.e., travel off designated routes) the first few years before the number of violations declines as users understand and comply with the restrictions. Publication of the motor use vehicle map, combined with signage, user education programs, and enforcement, will reduce the number of violations.  (FEIS §3.1.1.2, bullet 2)  (No mention of barricading or converting existing roads)
 
Unauthorized routes not added to the NFTS are assumed to naturally decompact and revegetate at varying rates, which will depend upon the vegetation type and other site-specific conditions. Full restoration (e.g., decommissioning) or converting routes to other uses are not reasonably foreseeable at this time as site-specific proposals have not been developed and analyzed. (FEIS §3.1.1.2, bullet 8)
 
The only actions that may be accomplished at this time are signage, user education programs, and enforcement of the prohibition of non-authorized public motor vehicle operation.  As both NEPA and CEQA environmental standards must be met in order to use California funds for any other actions I suggest that Inyo National Forest and INF should begin by coordinating and working with Inyo County to formulate site specific treatments for each road in question that provide for the uses exempted from the FEIS and ROD.  This should be the first phase of the funds request, as explained in the “Environmental Requirements” for these grants. 
 
 
The Evaluation Criteria Of The Grant Application Are In Error
 
Section 2 Other methods are available that are more protective of the existing, built, environment; and that would have less impact on authorized uses of these routes.  Methods should be selected dependent upon specific site characteristics in coordination with Inyo County.
 
Section 5 erroneously states that the project is authorized by publicly reviewed and adopted plans and references “the Inyo National Forest Travel Management Record of Decision (2009); Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009; Inyo National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (1988), as amended by the Sierra Nevada
Forest Plan Amendment (2004)”.  As explained above, the activities proposed are not authorized.
 
Section 7 erroneously states that the proposed project was developed with public input.  There has yet to be any public input on the activities proposed in these grant applications.  These activities are not within the scope of the Travel Management Project.
 
Section 10 erroneously infers that routes that were not designated for unmanaged motor vehicle travel by the public can be closed to all uses.  There are other legal uses of these roads that are beyond the scope of the Travel Management Project.  Site specific actions will need to be formulated and impacts to these legal uses evaluated in a proper environmental process.  As explained above the only actions that may be accomplished at this time are signage, user education programs, and enforcement of the prohibition of non-authorized public motor vehicle operation. 
 
Section 11 is speculative in that there has not yet been any site-specific evaluation of which roadways might qualify as sensitive habitat. [Earlene Beaver - 4/5/10]


 Inyo National Forest has a grant request for $1,962.000  That is a very very large number. So they have 2216 miles of OHV trails, and 1105 acres open riding.  They have 627,470 visitors a year 
 
Ground Operation and maintenance $331,000 last year they received 199,700 so this is a big jump  There seems to be a lot of snow related expenses in this grant, something I do not recall from last year. Again, this is the problem when you do not have a history of all grants for past performance.  The brake down by day is a little hard to figure out. Most grants have the hourly rate times the hours they plan to have, say 2080 for a full time employee.  Mileage for vehicles I believe is at 50 cents or 51 cents, not 56, but that is a match anyway. Equipment purchases it talks about use of quad for restoration assistance, it should be perhaps divided up 1/2 restoration and 1/2 maintenance
 
Development Shady Rest $92,000, we talked a lot of this at our meeting and feel it is needed. 
 
Development Mammoth Scenic Loop $217,000 , also discussed at length as it will add to the opportunity.
 
GO signing and  resource mitigation for travel Management . $145,000  Here I think we are top heavy, you do not need program manger, Project manager.  You can put one or the other on OHV, but not both. Then you have a maintenance crew supervisor, again why?  You also have the botanist, Hydrologist, Archeologist, all that should already be done as you stated at the meeting, so why now being charge to the  grant.   GIS specialist, that should already be done.  All you need is a part time person with good camera with GIS and the quadrangle you work in the camera and you take before and after picture. This should be forest management .  After all it is a forest mandated program.    You ask for metal signs, $50 each, gates , what does that have to do with travel management. Gates are for closure, so that should not be part of this, if they are administrative gates, so have forest pay for them. 
 
All others same comment in that we need to make sure OHV pays for what goes on the ground, not all the other forest stuff, that should come out of appropriated dollars.  [Ed Waldheim " OHV activist for access to public lands for all " - 4/5/10]



 For a number of years the INF has been working on a plan to regulate unmanaged motor vehicle travel by the public.  This significant effort resulted in a Travel Management Plan (TMP) for public motorized vehicle use and designation of public roads.  There has not yet been any evaluation of other needs and legal uses of roads that must be taken into consideration in a complete route inventory and use designation process.  Nor has there been any evaluation of impacts on the existing, built-environment that the road alteration envisaged in the subject grant applications would cause. 

The grant applications submitted by INF and Friends of the Inyo (FOI) provide for INF and FOI to carry out the projects.  Neither INF nor FOI are public agencies as defined by CEQA Section 21063, and therefore are incapable of being lead agencies for CEQA.  Inyo County is the only public agency with general governmental powers for these projects and is therefore the appropriate lead agency.  Only Inyo County has a broad enough mandate to properly weigh all of the built-environment and land use plan considerations in a proper CEQA analysis.  At this time the FOI and INF grant applications are premature insofar as they seek to physically alter existing roads.  I hope FOI and INF will begin working, and coordinating, with the agencies of Inyo County to move these projects forward.
 
INF’s Proposal To Physically Alter Existing Roads Is In Violation Of The Memorandum of Intent between the USDA Forest Service and OHMVRC
The common goals of the Forest Service and the departments of the State of California are:
Inventory and Map trails, roads, and off route impact areas.
Designate trails, roads, and open areas.
Develop orders and establish consistent standards for signs and maps.
As the MOI explains:  "The work described herein does not involve any ground disturbing work" (MOI p.4, Type of Work).
 

INF’s Proposal To Physically Alter Existing Roads
Is In Violation Of State And Federal Environmental Laws.
 
INF is in error in its belief that the Inyo National Forest Travel Management FEIS and ROD authorize this work.  The Travel Management Project was not to make existing roads unusable for all purposes.  “The purpose of the Travel Management Project is to implement provisions of the 2005 Travel Management Rule (36 CFR Part 212, Subpart B)” (Final Environmental Impact Statement, Record of Decision, Inyo National Forest Motorized Travel Management, p.1).  "I recognize the need to regulate unmanaged motor vehicle travel by the public" (ibid, emphasis added)  The purpose of the Travel Management Project did not include destroying existing roads, or making them unusable for non-public or managed motor vehicle travel.
 
The Travel Management Rule requires the designation of lands for public motor vehicle use, and states “motor vehicle use .. not in accordance with these designations is prohibited by 36 CFR 261.13”.  It does not prohibit motor vehicle use on non-system roads by agencies and emergency vehicles.  Below is the full text of 36 CFR 261.13 with emphasis, and comments in parentheses.
 
Sec. 261.13  Motor vehicle use.
    After National Forest System roads, National Forest System trails,
and areas on National Forest System lands have been designated pursuant
to 36 CFR 212.51 on an administrative unit or a Ranger District of the
National Forest System, and these designations have been identified on a
motor vehicle use map, it is prohibited to possess or operate a motor
vehicle on National Forest System lands in that administrative unit or
Ranger District other than in accordance with those designations,
provided that the following vehicles and uses are exempted from this
prohibition:
    (a) Aircraft;
    (b) Watercraft;
    (c) Over-snow vehicles (The proposed projects could affect this use);
    (d) Limited administrative use by the Forest Service;
    (e) Use of any fire, military, emergency, or law enforcement vehicle
for emergency purposes;  (The proposed projects would affect these uses)
    (f) Authorized use of any combat or combat support vehicle for
national defense purposes;  (The proposed projects would affect these uses)
    (g) Law enforcement response to violations of law, including
pursuit;  (The proposed projects would affect these uses)
    (h) Motor vehicle use that is specifically authorized under a
written authorization issued under Federal law or regulations; and  (The proposed projects would affect future applications for these uses)
    (i) Use of a road or trail that is authorized by a legally
documented right-of-way held by a State, county, or other local public
road authority.  (The proposed projects would affect these uses and future resolution of these right-of-ways)

Below are the relevant sections from the TMP FEIS.
 
Once a decision is made, it is anticipated there will be a higher number of violations (i.e., travel off designated routes) the first few years before the number of violations declines as users understand and comply with the restrictions. Publication of the motor use vehicle map, combined with signage, user education programs, and enforcement, will reduce the number of violations.  (FEIS §3.1.1.2, bullet 2)  (No mention of barricading or converting existing roads)
 
Unauthorized routes not added to the NFTS are assumed to naturally decompact and revegetate at varying rates, which will depend upon the vegetation type and other site-specific conditions. Full restoration (e.g., decommissioning) or converting routes to other uses are not reasonably foreseeable at this time as site-specific proposals have not been developed and analyzed. (FEIS §3.1.1.2, bullet 8)
 
The only actions that may be accomplished at this time are signage, user education programs, and enforcement of the prohibition of non-authorized public motor vehicle operation.  As both NEPA and CEQA environmental standards must be met in order to use California funds for any other actions I suggest that Inyo National Forest and INF should begin by coordinating and working with Inyo County to formulate site specific treatments for each road in question that provide for the uses exempted from the FEIS and ROD.  This should be the first phase of the funds request, as explained in the “Environmental Requirements” for these grants. 
 
 
The Evaluation Criteria Of The Grant Application Are In Error
 
Section 2 Other methods are available that are more protective of the existing, built, environment; and that would have less impact on authorized uses of these routes.  Methods should be selected dependent upon specific site characteristics in coordination with Inyo County.
 
Section 5 erroneously states that the project is authorized by publicly reviewed and adopted plans and references “the Inyo National Forest Travel Management Record of Decision (2009); Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009; Inyo National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (1988), as amended by the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment (2004)”.  As explained above, the activities proposed are not authorized.
 
Section 7 erroneously states that the proposed project was developed with public input.  There has yet to be any public input on the activities proposed in these grant applications.  These activities are not within the scope of the Travel Management Project.
 
Section 10 erroneously infers that routes that were not designated for unmanaged motor vehicle travel by the public can be closed to all uses.  There are other legal uses of these roads that are beyond the scope of the Travel Management Project.  Site specific actions will need to be formulated and impacts to these legal uses evaluated in a proper environmental process.  As explained above the only actions that may be accomplished at this time are signage, user education programs, and enforcement of the prohibition of non-authorized public motor vehicle operation. 
 
Section 11 is speculative in that there has not yet been any site-specific evaluation of which roadways might qualify as sensitive habitat. [David Tanksley - 4/5/10]


 For a number of years the INF has been working on a plan to regulate unmanaged motor vehicle travel by the public.  This significant effort resulted in a Travel Management Plan (TMP) for public motorized vehicle use and designation of public roads.  There has not yet been any evaluation of other needs and legal uses of roads that must be taken into consideration in a complete route inventory and use designation process.  Nor has there been any evaluation of impacts on the existing, built-environment that the road alteration envisaged in the subject grant applications would cause. 

The grant applications submitted by INF and Friends of the Inyo (FOI) provide for INF and FOI to carry out the projects.  Neither INF nor FOI are public agencies as defined by CEQA Section 21063, and therefore are incapable of being lead agencies for CEQA.  Inyo County is the only public agency with general governmental powers for these projects and is therefore the appropriate lead agency.  Only Inyo County has has a broad enough mandate to properly weigh all of the built-environment and land use plan considerations in a proper CEQA analysis.  At this time the FOI and INF grant applications are premature insofar as they seek to physically alter existing roads.  I hope FOI and INF will begin working, and coordinating, with the agencies of Inyo County to move these projects forward.
 
INF’s Proposal To Physically Alter Existing Roads Is In Violation Of The Memorandum of Intent between the USDA Forest Service and OHMVRC
The common goals of the Forest Service and the departments of the State of California are:
Inventory and Map trails, roads, and off route impact areas.
Designate trails, roads, and open areas.
Develop orders and establish consistent standards for signs and maps.
As the MOI explains:  "The work described herein does not involve any ground disturbing work" (MOI p.4, Type of Work).
 

INF’s Proposal To Physically Alter Existing Roads
Is In Violation Of State And Federal Environmental Laws.
 
INF is in error in its belief that the Inyo National Forest Travel Management FEIS and ROD authorize this work.  The Travel Management Project was not to make existing roads unusable for all purposes.  “The purpose of the Travel Management Project is to implement provisions of the 2005 Travel Management Rule (36 CFR Part 212, Subpart B)” (Final Environmental Impact Statement, Record of Decision, Inyo National Forest Motorized Travel Management, p.1).  "I recognize the need to regulate unmanaged motor vehicle travel by the public" (ibid, emphasis added)  The purpose of the Travel Management Project did not include destroying existing roads, or making them unusable for non-public or managed motor vehicle travel.
 
The Travel Management Rule requires the designation of lands for public motor vehicle use, and states “motor vehicle use .. not in accordance with these designations is prohibited by 36 CFR 261.13”.  It does not prohibit motor vehicle use on non-system roads by agencies and emergency vehicles.  Below is the full text of 36 CFR 261.13 with emphasis, and comments in parentheses.
 
Sec. 261.13  Motor vehicle use.
    After National Forest System roads, National Forest System trails, and areas on National Forest System lands have been designated pursuant to 36 CFR 212.51 on an administrative unit or a Ranger District of the National Forest System, and these designations have been identified on a motor vehicle use map, it is prohibited to possess or operate a motor vehicle on National Forest System lands in that administrative unit or Ranger District other than in accordance with those designations, provided that the following vehicles and uses are exempted from this
prohibition:
    (a) Aircraft;
    (b) Watercraft;
    (c) Over-snow vehicles (The proposed projects could affect this use);
    (d) Limited administrative use by the Forest Service;
    (e) Use of any fire, military, emergency, or law enforcement vehicle
for emergency purposes;  (The proposed projects would affect these uses)
    (f) Authorized use of any combat or combat support vehicle for
national defense purposes;  (The proposed projects would affect these uses)
    (g) Law enforcement response to violations of law, including
pursuit;  (The proposed projects would affect these uses)
    (h) Motor vehicle use that is specifically authorized under a
written authorization issued under Federal law or regulations; and  (The proposed projects would affect future applications for these uses)
    (i) Use of a road or trail that is authorized by a legally
documented right-of-way held by a State, county, or other local public
road authority.  (The proposed projects would affect these uses and future resolution of these right-of-ways)

Below are the relevant sections from the TMP FEIS.
 
Once a decision is made, it is anticipated there will be a higher number of violations (i.e., travel off designated routes) the first few years before the number of violations declines as users understand and comply with the restrictions. Publication of the motor use vehicle map, combined with signage, user education programs, and enforcement, will reduce the number of violations.  (FEIS §3.1.1.2, bullet 2)  (No mention of barricading or converting existing roads)
 
Unauthorized routes not added to the NFTS are assumed to naturally decompact and revegetate at varying rates, which will depend upon the vegetation type and other site-specific conditions. Full restoration (e.g., decommissioning) or converting routes to other uses are not reasonably foreseeable at this time as site-specific proposals have not been developed and analyzed. (FEIS §3.1.1.2, bullet 8)
 
The only actions that may be accomplished at this time are signage, user education programs, and enforcement of the prohibition of non-authorized public motor vehicle operation.  As both NEPA and CEQA environmental standards must be met in order to use California funds for any other actions I suggest that Inyo National Forest and INF should begin by coordinating and working with Inyo County to formulate site specific treatments for each road in question that provide for the uses exempted from the FEIS and ROD.  This should be the first phase of the funds request, as explained in the “Environmental Requirements” for these grants. 
 
 
The Evaluation Criteria Of The Grant Application Are In Error
 
Section 2 Other methods are available that are more protective of the existing, built, environment; and that would have less impact on authorized uses of these routes.  Methods should be selected dependent upon specific site characteristics in coordination with Inyo County.
 
Section 5 erroneously states that the project is authorized by publicly reviewed and adopted plans and references “the Inyo National Forest Travel Management Record of Decision (2009); Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009; Inyo National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (1988), as amended by the Sierra Nevada
Forest Plan Amendment (2004)”.  As explained above, the activities proposed are not authorized.
 
Section 7 erroneously states that the proposed project was developed with public input.  There has yet to be any public input on the activities proposed in these grant applications.  These activities are not within the scope of the Travel Management Project.
 
Section 10 erroneously infers that routes that were not designated for unmanaged motor vehicle travel by the public can be closed to all uses.  There are other legal uses of these roads that are beyond the scope of the Travel Management Project.  Site specific actions will need to be formulated and impacts to these legal uses evaluated in a proper environmental process.  As explained above the only actions that may be accomplished at this time are signage, user education programs, and enforcement of the prohibition of non-authorized public motor vehicle operation. 
 
Section 11 is speculative in that there has not yet been any site-specific evaluation of which roadways might qualify as sensitive habitat. [Jared Smith - 4/5/10]



 The California Wilderness Coalition (CWC) strongly supports the Inyo National Forest’s 2009-2010 restoration and ground operations grant application proposals for Cooperative Agreements with the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division of the California Department of Parks and Recreation. We believe that these proposals reflect the Inyo National Forest’s ongoing commitment to maintain an OHV program that balances recreational opportunities with ecological safeguards.
 
We are particularly pleased with the three restoration grant requests contained in the application. Illegal OHV use in unauthorized areas is negatively impacting meadows, riparian habitat, wilderness areas, roadless areas, cultural resources and other sensitive areas; restoration and disguising of unauthorized routes is needed to discourage continued OHV incursions and improve habitat viability. The Travel Management Implementation proposal to disguise and barricade intersections with unauthorized routes throughout the forest, as well as the proposals for restoration work in Black Canyon, Mammoth Creek watershed, the Mono Crater area, and in the vicinity of the Owens River Headwaters Wilderness Area, will go a long ways towards improving the ecological integrity of those regions. Restoration planning in the Upper Owens and Bishop Creek watersheds will help to ensure that funds for restoration projects in these areas are targeted for those sites most in need.
 
We also support the Inyo National Forest’s ground operations grant requests. We hope that the proposed activities, including trail maintenance and conservation, installation and maintenance of signs and barriers, monitoring, erosion control, public education efforts, and trail map production will largely eliminate the problem of illegal OHV use off designated routes.
 
If you need volunteers to help implement these or other projects, please do not hesitate to contact us.  [Sean Baumgarten - 4/2/10]


 Regarding the Grant application from,
Agency: USFS - Inyo National Forest
Application: Restoration, Travel Management Implementation
Application: Restoration, Forest Projects
Application: Restoration, Upper Owens and Bishop Creek Watersheds
 
Comment:
 
To Whom It May Concern At Inyo National Forest (INF):
 
For a number of years the INF has been working on a plan to regulate unmanaged motor vehicle travel by the public.  This significant effort resulted in a Travel Management Plan (TMP) for public motorized vehicle use and designation of public roads.  There has not yet been any evaluation of other needs and legal uses of roads that must be taken into consideration in a complete route inventory and use designation process.  Nor has there been any evaluation of impacts on the existing, built-environment that the road alteration envisaged in the subject grant applications would cause. 

The grant applications submitted by INF and Friends of the Inyo (FOI) provide for INF and FOI to carry out the projects.  Neither INF nor FOI are public agencies as defined by CEQA Section 21063, and therefore are incapable of being lead agencies for CEQA.  Inyo County is the only public agency with general governmental powers for these projects and is therefore the appropriate lead agency.  Only Inyo County has has a broad enough mandate to properly weigh all of the built-environment and land use plan considerations in a proper CEQA analysis.  At this time the FOI and INF grant applications are premature insofar as they seek to physically alter existing roads.  I hope FOI and INF will begin working, and coordinating, with the agencies of Inyo County to move these projects forward.
 
INF’s Proposal To Physically Alter Existing Roads Is In Violation Of The Memorandum of Intent between the USDA Forest Service and OHMVRC

The common goals of the Forest Service and the departments of the State of California are:

Inventory and Map trails, roads, and off route impact areas.

Designate trails, roads, and open areas.
Develop orders and establish consistent standards for signs and maps.

As the MOI explains:  "The work described herein does not involve any ground disturbing work" (MOI p.4, Type of Work).

INF’s Proposal To Physically Alter Existing Roads
Is In Violation Of State And Federal Environmental Laws.
 
INF is in error in its belief that the Inyo National Forest Travel Management FEIS and ROD authorize this work.  The Travel Management Project was not to make existing roads unusable for all purposes.  “The purpose of the Travel Management Project is to implement provisions of the 2005 Travel Management Rule (36 CFR Part 212, Subpart B)” (Final Environmental Impact Statement, Record of Decision, Inyo National Forest Motorized Travel Management, p.1).  "I recognize the need to regulate unmanaged motor vehicle travel by the public" (ibid, emphasis added)  The purpose of the Travel Management Project did not include destroying existing roads, or making them unusable for non-public or managed motor vehicle travel.
 
The Travel Management Rule requires the designation of lands for public motor vehicle use, and states “motor vehicle use .. not in accordance with these designations is prohibited by 36 CFR 261.13”.  It does not prohibit motor vehicle use on non-system roads by agencies and emergency vehicles.  Below is the full text of 36 CFR 261.13 with emphasis, and comments in parentheses.
 
Sec. 261.13  Motor vehicle use.
    After National Forest System roads, National Forest System trails, and areas on National Forest System lands have been designated pursuant to 36 CFR 212.51 on an administrative unit or a Ranger District of the National Forest System, and these designations have been identified on a motor vehicle use map, it is prohibited to possess or operate a motor vehicle on National Forest System lands in that administrative unit or Ranger District other than in accordance with those designations, provided that the following vehicles and uses are exempted from this prohibition:
    (a) Aircraft;
    (b) Watercraft;
    (c) Over-snow vehicles (The proposed projects could affect this use);
    (d) Limited administrative use by the Forest Service;
    (e) Use of any fire, military, emergency, or law enforcement vehicle for emergency purposes;  (The proposed projects would affect these uses)
    (f) Authorized use of any combat or combat support vehicle for national defense purposes;  (The proposed projects would affect these uses)
    (g) Law enforcement response to violations of law, including pursuit;  (The proposed projects would affect these uses)
    (h) Motor vehicle use that is specifically authorized under a written authorization issued under Federal law or regulations; and  (The proposed projects would affect future applications for these uses)
    (i) Use of a road or trail that is authorized by a legally
documented right-of-way held by a State, county, or other local public road authority.  (The proposed projects would affect these uses and future resolution of these right-of-ways)

Below are the relevant sections from the TMP FEIS.
 
Once a decision is made, it is anticipated there will be a higher number of violations (i.e., travel off designated routes) the first few years before the number of violations declines as users understand and comply with the restrictions. Publication of the motor use vehicle map, combined with signage, user education programs, and enforcement, will reduce the number of violations.  (FEIS §3.1.1.2, bullet 2)  (No mention of barricading or converting existing roads)
 
Unauthorized routes not added to the NFTS are assumed to naturally decompact and revegetate at varying rates, which will depend upon the vegetation type and other site-specific conditions. Full restoration (e.g., decommissioning) or converting routes to other uses are not reasonably foreseeable at this time as site-specific proposals have not been developed and analyzed. (FEIS §3.1.1.2, bullet 8)
 
The only actions that may be accomplished at this time are signage, user education programs, and enforcement of the prohibition of non-authorized public motor vehicle operation.  As both NEPA and CEQA environmental standards must be met in order to use California funds for any other actions I suggest that Inyo National Forest and INF should begin by coordinating and working with Inyo County to formulate site specific treatments for each road in question that provide for the uses exempted from the FEIS and ROD.  This should be the first phase of the funds request, as explained in the “Environmental Requirements” for these grants. 
 
 
The Evaluation Criteria Of The Grant Application Are In Error
 
Section 2 Other methods are available that are more protective of the existing, built, environment; and that would have less impact on authorized uses of these routes.  Methods should be selected dependent upon specific site characteristics in coordination with Inyo County.
 
Section 5 erroneously states that the project is authorized by publicly reviewed and adopted plans and references “the Inyo National Forest Travel Management Record of Decision (2009); Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009; Inyo National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (1988), as amended by the Sierra Nevada
Forest Plan Amendment (2004)”.  As explained above, the activities proposed are not authorized.
 
Section 7 erroneously states that the proposed project was developed with public input.  There has yet to be any public input on the activities proposed in these grant applications.  These activities are not within the scope of the Travel Management Project.
 
Section 10 erroneously infers that routes that were not designated for unmanaged motor vehicle travel by the public can be closed to all uses.  There are other legal uses of these roads that are beyond the scope of the Travel Management Project.  Site specific actions will need to be formulated and impacts to these legal uses evaluated in a proper environmental process.  As explained above the only actions that may be accomplished at this time are signage, user education programs, and enforcement of the prohibition of non-authorized public motor vehicle operation. 
 
Section 11 is speculative in that there has not yet been any site-specific evaluation of which roadways might qualify as sensitive habitat. [Doug Hicks - 4/4/10]



 Post travel management restoration of routes seems to be the focus of intensive effort on the Inyo NF for 2010-2011.  Inyo NF is applying for OHV grant funding for this purpose as part of their GO grant, their own restoration grant utilizing Friends of Inyo volunteers, and also Travel Management implementation.
 
In addition we have the application by Friends of Inyo totaling  close to a million $ for restoration.  Although the Inyo Travel Management application states that there will be coordination between Inyo NF and the Friends of Inyo efforts the total being requested for restoration is staggering for one forest.
 
The grant total for just the National Forest is over $3 million, I have never seen such a large total. This would allocate over $ 4 million to just one Forest!
 
Inyo NF is only one of 19 Forests in the state and funding is limited.  Furthermore the total for restoration far exceeds what is being requested for trail maintenance. I sincerely hope grant staff will look very hard at the Inyo applications. [Bruce W - 4/4/10]


 I am writing in support of the OHV Grant Request from the Inyo National Forest, ref# G09-02-05-D01 "Development Shady Rest Staging Redevelopment" - my specific request is for the proposal to be funded, and if possible, additional funds be made available for the effort.

The Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access Foundation (MLTPA) convened a successful collaborative planing process in Mammoth Lakes last year that resulted in a critical planning document, "The Sherwin Area Recreation Plan (SHARP)"  please see http://www.mltpa.org/projects/current/sherwins/SHARP/  for complete project information.

The SHARP collaborative planing effort engaged thousands of hours of volunteer community participation through the Sherwins Working Group, and provided an invaluable capacity building exercise for the community's engagement with public lands management and the very real effectiveness of collaborative planning.

The Inyo National Forest application for funds for "Shady Rest Staging Redevelopment" could not be coming at a better time. In the fall of 2010, a collaborative planning effort in the Mammoth Lakes Basin will get under way funded by a grant from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, that will engage local agencies and stakeholders in additional collaborative capacity building and engagement with public lands.  The initiative by Mammoth Pacific, the geothermal energy company, to expand its operations in the Shady Rest area, brings yet another partner and interested stakeholder to the table.

The "Shady Rest Staging Redevelopment" grant will be implemented in a community well schooled in collaborative efforts, focused on a landscape in the community that is of particular value and interest, and with a planing effort that is long overdue. 

MLTPA encourages the California State Parks Off-Highwaty Motor Vehicle Recreation Program to fund this grant, and to find additional resources for the collaborative planing component to ensure the efforts success. [John Wentwort - 4/4/10]



 Everyone asking for Grant money does it with honorable intentions to manage our public lands , provide sustainable recreation and protect resources.  I agree with all of that and am not one to say "do not fund"  but there are exceptions from my point of view. 
 
In reviewing these grants for 2009/2010  It it is alarming how the % of actual work on the ground changes from one agency to another.  From experience I would like to see no more than 5% of the grant request for staff under Ground Operation go to management.   The key to sustainable recreation on our public lands are for our grant money to be spent on the ground.  
 
Every single grantee should be preaching "Stay on Designated Trail"   regardless what your job is, it is the responsibility of every person involved with OHV that this message has to pushed.
 
Every single grantee should encourage those that are law abiding citizens to put pressure on the "Willfully Ignorant" to change their way so that we can have a "Sustainable OHV recreation"  for future generations. 
 
Lastly I want to thank every single person involved in working on  OHV recreation for your time and dedication . [Ed Waldheim "OHV activist for access to public lands for all" - 3/28/10]


 Applications: Ground Operations and Maintenance; Restoration, Upper Owens and Bishop Creek Watersheds; Restoration, Forest Projects; Restoration, Travel Management Implementation

CEQA is the environmental standard mandated in order to use these California funds.  The applicants and the Parks Department have been proceeding under the assumption that the FEIS completed for the Inyo National Forest Motorized Travel Management Plan are sufficient for these road closure grants to comply with CEQA.  I do not think they are.  I believe these projects are premature and that each road needs to have site-specific treatment formulated, in coordination with Inyo County, and the added financial burden on Inyo County should be funded through the OHV program.
 
The Travel Management Project was not to close roads to all uses.  “The purpose of the Travel Management Project is to implement provisions of the 2005 Travel Management Rule (36 CFR Part 212, Subpart B)” (Final Environmental Impact Statement, Record of Decision, Inyo National Forest Motorized Travel Management, p.1).  "I recognize the need to regulate unmanaged motor vehicle travel by the public" (ibid, emphasis added)  The purpose of the Travel Management Project did not include destroying or converting existing roads, or making them unusable for non-public or managed motor vehicle travel.
 
The Travel Management Rule requires the designation of lands for public motor vehicle use, and states “motor vehicle use .. not in accordance with these designations is prohibited by 36 CFR 261.13”.  It was my understanding that the TMR did not prohibit motor vehicle use on non-system roads by agencies and emergency vehicles.  When I asked this question at the open house on Tuesday the representative for Friends of the Inyo told me (incorrectly) that all motorized vehicle traffic was prohibited.  Below is the full text of 36 CFR 261.13 with my emphasis and comments.
 
Sec. 261.13  Motor vehicle use.
    After National Forest System roads, National Forest System trails, and areas on National Forest System lands have been designated pursuant to 36 CFR 212.51 on an administrative unit or a Ranger District of the National Forest System, and these designations have been identified on a motor vehicle use map, it is prohibited to possess or operate a motor vehicle on National Forest System lands in that administrative unit or Ranger District other than in accordance with those designations, provided that the following vehicles and uses are exempted from this
prohibition:
    (a) Aircraft;
    (b) Watercraft;
    (c) Over-snow vehicles;
    (d) Limited administrative use by the Forest Service;
    (e) Use of any fire, military, emergency, or law enforcement vehicle for emergency purposes;  (The proposed projects would affect these uses)
    (f) Authorized use of any combat or combat support vehicle for national defense purposes;  (The proposed projects would affect these uses)
    (g) Law enforcement response to violations of law, including pursuit;  (The proposed projects would affect these uses)
    (h) Motor vehicle use that is specifically authorized under a written authorization issued under Federal law or regulations; and  (The proposed projects would affect future applications for these uses)
    (i) Use of a road or trail that is authorized by a legally
documented right-of-way held by a State, county, or other local public road authority.  (The proposed projects would affect these uses and future resolution of these right-of-ways)
 
 
Below are some relevant sections from the TMP FEIS. This is the ruling document!!!!!!!!!
 
Once a decision is made, it is anticipated there will be a higher number of violations (i.e.,
travel off designated routes) the first few years before the number of violations declines as users understand and comply with the restrictions. Publication of the motor use vehicle map, combined with signage, user education programs, and enforcement, will reduce the number of violations.  (FEIS §3.1.1.2, bullet 2)  (No mention of barricading or converting existing roads)
 
Unauthorized routes not added to the NFTS are assumed to naturally decompact and revegetate at varying rates, which will depend upon the vegetation type and other site-specific conditions. Full restoration (e.g., decommissioning) or converting routes to other uses are not reasonably foreseeable at this time as site-specific proposals have not been developed and analyzed. (FEIS §3.1.1.2, bullet 8)

It is reasonable to assume that the only thing that may be accomplished is the signage, user education programs, and enforcement, for closures without completing CEQA on every road closure in question. [David Tanksley - 3/29/10]


 We are opposed to providing OHV money to the USFS to close the trails!

We have paid to have the trails put in to their inventory. Now they ask for OHV money to have them closed! As we have seen in the "Route Designation" process the USFS is not a good investment for OHV funds.
Give the grants to groups that actually enhance OHV opportunity, like the BLM. [Brendan Hathaway  - 3/17/10]



 Please do not give any state money to a federal agency to close our public land to us.  I whole heartedly reject what the federal government is doing to our lands.  They are tying to kill local economies and discourage people from living free.  It appears as if they all want us to sit and a desk and enjoy the forest on a screensaver. [Casey Crandall - 3/11/10]