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USFS - Stanislaus National Forest

 View public comments. Blue Ribbon Coalition - 3/26/14

 View public comment. Stephanie Thompson - 3/27/14


1 changing the Mi-Wok district from open unless marked closed,  too closed unless marked open was a really bad idea, it's great for your law enforcement folks, but now I'm afraid to out of my yard. 

2 Closing the forest for the winter by some designated dates that have nothing to do with conditions   is a bad idea as some of the best riding ever has been in the winter between storms. James Haire - 3/27/14

 I am attempting to leave my comments to those who need to hear them for this recent comment period for the 2015 off-highway  grant application for the Stanislaus National Forest (SNF) OHV usage.

I tried to figure out who the main contact was to leave them the same comments as the Public Review process states, however I cannot figure out who it is and there is no link for me to just click on it.  I feel the 'system' has been made to 'dissuade' someone like myself from giving you comments, instead of me having ONE link to click on and leave your comments and it gets forwarded by YOUR system to the appropriate divisions.  I truly feel this too should be part of your corrective process and be fixed for the future and maybe you would get more comments, like them or not, I too almost gave up instead I'm filing my comments here and only here.  Hopefully whom ever reads these will understand my frustration, help me,  and forward my comments to those who need them as today is the LAST day for comment.

Getting to the point, I am an off-highway user.  I own seven two wheel motorcycles and one side-by-side.  Putting it lightly, i spend ALOT of time with my family in the outdoors.  I also obviously spend a large amount on registrations and taxes, helping fund your jobs and supporting the forests/parks.  We love motorcycles and the time we spend together using them.  I have lived in Tuolumne County for the majority of my entire life and have been using the forest here for almost 40 years.  I have seen some HUGE changes over the past 20 years.  Some were definitely needed and appropriate and some are not. 

Closures are NOT the answer!   This past winter is a PRIME example…I understand that the reasoning for closures is to protect the forest once we have heavy rains and snows to protect the forest and trails from erosion.  However, we never had this type of rain and weather till literally just a couple of weeks ago, yet the trails in Deer Creek where my family and I spend a lot of time is not accessible to us, unless we want to break the law and go out there anyways…how can I do that and be a good example for my family? 

Instead, my family and I take it to the road, we travel out of town to areas that regulate their riding areas appropriately due to weather conditions, NOT just based upon a 'winter date.'   There are plenty of riding areas open year round and close certain trails or sections when deemed appropriate based upon conditions…why can't the SNF do this?  I am not the only person who feels this way!  I am sure you have seen more comments on this issue… I too am willing to VOLUNTEER my help and services by using my side-by-side, hand tools and equipment to help someone like CHUCK JAMES, an OHV guy who works for the SNF.  Myself and others have helped him in the past by volunteering to fix problems with red tagged trails and repair them for use by all OHV enthusiasts.  I am still willing to do this function and so are others.  I would like to see some of the grant funding used to help keep our trails more accessible to the users by closures based more on the conditions than the dates.

Further more….less closures of trails and more opening or creating new trails for OHV users.  With the RimFire, more people will be coming over to other areas, like the Deer Creek, Hull Creek areas, and it will have a higher use since some areas will be off limits or closed or lets face it, not as beautiful as before.

Services:  We need more facilities in the SNF OHV areas…in the Deer Creek area there are no services.  This is a heavily used riding area without basic restrooms.  Unless I want to haul my 5th wheel to this location for a restroom, I will bring a shovel and TP and defecate somewhat close to my truck.  Now I know the restrooms may get vandalized, what doesn't these days…My truck was broken into at Deer Creek last year when my son and I were riding out on a 2 hour loop.  We came back to my truck with a broken window and missing belongings on the inside.  Unfortunately, some one is always going to want what someone else has.  More patrols could also help slow this type of activity down too.

Something to consider, I am a law abiding citizen and OHV user…I have seen my share of 'A.. h….s' out there and have no problem letting them know they are ruining it for the rest of us.  Most people I ride with will also comment others and we attempt to educate those individuals in 'trail behavior.'   Also, having to travel outside of the area takes revenue from local business.  I will eat out after a ride and enjoy a meal as I am very hungry and its nice not to have to fix my meal afterward.  Also, I use to camp with my trailer during good winter weather riding, something I can't do on the weekend locally anymore since my forest is always closed.  I go to the local store and spend money on 'comfort' items I normally wouldn't buy, etc… the list goes on.

Simply saying, I would like more time usage of 'our' forest.
Thank you for your time and consideration on this subject. David Fish - 4/7/14

 We are very supportive of most of your grant request for ground maintenance.
I do OPPOSE the purchase of the skidsteer for Summit RD. There is very few miles of ATV trail, the rest is level 2 roads and The 4X4 Niagara Rim trail. I don’t believe that there are enough trails to justify the purchase of the skidsteer tractor. The skidsteer can only be used for trail maintenance and not for restoration projects. Because of the limited trails that it can be used on I oppose this purchase! When Summit Rd requests a planning grant to increase OHV opportunity I would then support them for equipment purchases.
The Summit RD is not volunteer friendly. Some of our 4X4 members volunteered to take the chainsaw and other training classes and were turned down. When they worked on the Snow Park area they were only aloud to replace the metal signs and could not straighten the posts for the signs. They were told that they were only needed for their volunteer help to get points for the grants and the other work was for the forest employees.
If you need information about what our volunteers can do, call the ranger at the Columbia State Park. We have done projects there for a couple years.
I was disappointed in not seeing any planning grants for the Groveland Rd and the Rimfire area.
Another issue is the Date Flat restroom. There is no legal OHV use in that area it should no longer be listed as OHV restroom and OHV moneys being used to clean said restroom.
1 G13-02-19-G01 Ground Operations- Stanislaus National Forest 681,462-- 244,388-- 925,850 Michael Damaso, President, Merced Dirt Riders - 4/7/14