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USFS - Sequoia National Forest

I just came home from a ski tour to Buck Rock Lookout several hours ago. I am a frequent visitor to the Big Meadows area of the Sequoia National Forest, Hume Lake Ranger District. It was a beautiful day. However, snow grooming is a vital need in the Big Meadows Trail areas of the Hume Lake Ranger District.

For many years I have brought many visitors on this trail which has previously well groomed, and these trails are still currently listed on the  USFS winter snow map as being groomed routes. Grooming these trails are a priority and we need funding directed towards this goal.

I’d like to see dollars allotted in this budget/grant for the grooming of the snow trails in the Big Meadows area of the Hume Lake Ranger District, Sequoia National Forest. [Barry Sommer - 3/10/13]

I am writing to request that the OHV grant application submitted by the Hume Lake Ranger District include funds for grooming the winter trails to the Big Meadows area.

I recently attended the science symposium in Visalia presented by the many organizations that provide oversight in the Southern Sierra.  One of the looming concerns is how to get public support for the hard decisions that will have to be made in the face of climate change.  Many clubs and individuals have used these trails in the past when they were groomed, and It seems to me that funds spent to keep these people involved in the area will be returned many times over in public support. [Carolyn Murphy - 3/11/13]

See attached comment letter. [ORV Watch Kern County - 3/11/13]

As a cross-country skier using the Big Meadows area since 1971 I am writing to express my concern related to the OHV grant application of 2012-2013 for the 2014 operating year for the Sequoia National Forest. I am specifically addressing the fact that no funds were requested by the Hume Lake Ranger District of the Sequoia National Forest to groom and maintain the winter recreation trails on their District.

The Big Meadows area of the Hume Lake Ranger District is a very popular snow recreation area due to a combination of snow conditions; scenic views and terrain that provides some of the best winter snow in the Sierras. It is frequented by numerous local folks from the Central Valley, LA basin and Bay Area enthusiasts who come to ski, snow shoe, ride their snowmobiles, or just play. It is so popular that it is often hard to find parking at the trailhead. 

Since the late 60’s the increased popularity of the area has resulted in the establishment of many miles of trails for OHV use related to winter recreation (many of which I marked and located myself in the mid-seventies with USFS approval) and which are currently advertised on USFS snow maps as groomed trails. These trails have been groomed in the past but are currently no longer groomed. This is a great loss to the users who frequent this area since it is readily accessible to local residents of the state and one of the few places that lends itself so well to this type of recreation.

This letters requests that you actively support reinstatement of funding for grooming the snow routes in the Big Meadows area. Since the public advocates for these trails and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks directs their visitors to this area in addition to the USFS office it seems only right to use these OHV funds for this purpose.

It is my opinion that without this grooming the experience, safety and opportunities for public recreation will be greatly diminished and a regrettable loss of a unique winter recreation experience.

In case I failed to clearly state what I meant I have included the following.

1. I am a long-term user and frequent visitor to the Big Meadows area of the Sequoia National Forest, Hume Lake Ranger District

2. I disagree with the absence of OHV dollars requested for the grooming of trails used by skiers and snow vehicles in the winter

3. I wish to express my opinion that snow grooming is a vital need in the Big Meadows Trail areas of the Hume Lake Ranger District

4. I want to point out that Historically, trails have been groomed there at USFS expense, and they are still currently listed on the USFS winter snow map as being groomed routes

5. This is a major visitation area by tourist and locals and the groomed trails enable access by many who would not be able to use the area without this service

5. Groomed trails are a priority for users in this area and enhance the safety and accessibility of the area

I urge you to reconsider the priorities of this grant request to include dollars in support of grooming the trails in the Big Meadows area of the Hume Lake Ranger District, Sequoia National Forest. [Dutch Scholten - 3/14/13]

As usual Sequoia has submitted a very detailed Ground Ops proposal.  This would be anticipated for a Forest that provides a very extensive OHV program, including an Over Snow program.

The Kern Plateau facilities are some of the best Forest Service Facilities I have visited with clean well maintained facilites and trails.

I have just a few comments on the cost estimates that just need a little clarification.

1. Under Equipment Expenses, Vehicle HL 3409 is charged out for both mileage and monthly rental.  I am not sure what the Division policy is on how this should be charged, I would think mileage should be at a standard rate and be inclusive of all costs related to the vehicle? The other vehicles listed seem to be charged that way.

2. The Bobcats ( excavator and skid steer) are charged out for maintenance, but there is a separate item for new tracks for the mini excavator.  Do replacement tracks come under a different expense category, or should this be part of maintenance?

3. $3000 per year to maintain a new Sweco seems high, unless this includes a budget for replacement of undercarriage parts.  I doubt oil, fuel, and filters would cost that much but it depends on how much it is used. I guess this would come up in the year end audit.

4. I see that there are 4 Kern River motorcycles purchased though the division, and there are maintenance changes for these, but there are an additional 4 KR bikes listed for service and repairs - #4545, 4547, 4548, and 4549.  Are these different bikes?

I think the GO project costs  just need a careful look.

Thanks for running a great program. [Bruce Whitcher, CCMA - 3/17/13]

Good afternoon. During our OHV leadership meeting all grant where reviewed and only questions that I had was why is is forest putting in so much match when in actuality I gives them no extra points because they are 10% below 51%. Seems that the total grant amount is to high because of the extra match. [Ed Waldheim - 3/27/13]

I read in the Visalia Time Delta "letters to the editor" regarding"grooming" the snow for public use for skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and winter recreation etc. in the Big meadows area. I  have taken my family and friends camping in the campgrounds since the 70's and now enjoy the snow skiing and snowmobiling etc. I would like to see the Big Meadows area added back on the list for grooming the roads and trails as it has not been for several years. 

Using funds from the Calfornia OHV makes good sense. It is a great way to use OHV funds and is close for the "Valley" people to enjoy the Forest. [Delbert Canby - 3/30/13]