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USFS - Inyo National Forest

  DJ’s Snowmobile Adventures, Inc. was the only entity that provided snowmobile inter-agency trainings (including the Navy Seals) from 1982 to 1995. A DJ’s representative spent nine (9) years with the Mono County Sheriff Search and Rescue. We are in favor of this grant request… with the following comments: Comment 1: Page 1, paragraph 2. Except for 4 locations noted in the grant, most of the locations probably receive very minimal use due to lack of marketing. You will not find these areas in any USFS, Mammoth Lakes or June Lake marketing materials. Use would be primarily from locals. Locals have been pushed to these little known locations due to closures in favor of cross country skiing trail expansions by 5 times what it was 3 years ago, expanded wilderness, and unjustified USFS Administrative Closures to protect cross country trails and wilderness. Had this not occurred, use would be much more dispersed. There would be a smaller risk of injuries. Approximately 30% of the ride area that would meet the needs of the snowmobiler of today was closed in the last 10 years and 80% since 1988. (I.e. Yost Valley, McCloud Lake, Mammoth Lakes Basin, Obsidian Dome, Hartley Springs, Upper & Lower Deadman, Laurel Lakes, Sherwin Lakes, McGee Mountain, Rock Creek, portion of Tioga Pass, Saddlebag Lake, Tioga Lake. Ref. 1977 Interagency Snowmobile Use Map). All areas listed in this grant are already monitored by the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center (a non-profit funded by both Inyo and Mono County, Edison and others. See http://www.esavalanche.org). Please reference the Winter Recreation Map funded by California Parks and Recreation reflecting open and closed areas for OSV recreation as of 2014. The four areas on the Winter Recreation Map area that may receive use whether there is small or huge amounts of snow are: San Joaquin Ridge, Reds Meadows area, Sherwin Ridge, and Tioga Pass. Again, most of these areas are already monitored for avalanche by Mammoth Mtn. and the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center. Both are well funded. Why do we need to fund a meteorologist and winter sports specialist with no funding for education and training? Comment 2: Page 1, paragraph 4. Page 2, Item D, Page 9 Q-4, Item 4, Page 11, Item 8 - 8. These pages discussed trainings, education, field snowmobile repairs and listed the partners. Reference Pages 6, 7 and 8, no staff funding, partner funding, or volunteer funding was listed to pay any persons or organization for education and trainings. This was the primary goal proposed in the grant! Mammoth Nordic Patrol listed as a partner to disseminate avalanche trainings for snowmobilers borders on harassment vs. education. Mammoth Nordic Ski Patrol is listed as a paid volunteer (?) in a separate grant entitled “Repairs and Maintenance 2014-2015” to perform similar services. The amount to pay all volunteers in that ”Repairs and Maintenance Grant” (Page 9) is $67,680. Partners (volunteers) in this grant entitled “Snowmobile Avalanche and Safety” are not paid. Why? In this area there is a phone number (760 924 5510) for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center with a recording. That’s it. Therefore, the grant must be questioned…How does it plan to teach snowmobilers avalanche safety and how does the grant pay for this? Mono County Sheriff Search and Rescue should be the lead agency in conjunction with the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center. In addition, the California-Nevada Snowmobile Association (CNSA) has a mobile safety trailer. This organization should be included as they would know best how to repair snowmobiles in an emergency. These three organizations should be paid from this grant. Mammoth Nordic Ski Patrol should not be paid or participate in this grant or any other grant regarding OHV/OSV use. Comment 3. All agencies or organizations representing the USFS in carrying out the goals of this grant should have some sort of uniform with their name easily identifiable. They should carry papers as to the goals set forth in this grant with their name listed on it. This comment is in response to previous complaints and photographs submitted to OHV regarding over-zealous paid volunteers victimizing OHV/OSV users. J Little, DJ's Snowmobile Adven. - 3/6/15


  I would ask that any and all grants disseminated to the various Nation Forest Off-Highway Vehicle programs be limited to 50% of the proposed grant monies if that Forest abides by the California State OHV Green/Red sticker guide lines. Even though Riders of red sticker OHVs pay the full $52.00 bi-annual registration fees they  are limited to only partial year use in State SVRAs due to 'environmental' concerns of air quality.  Several National Forest districts have chosen to abide by the state mandated riding periods for red sticker OHVs even though there is no state mandated smog check program requirements for on road vehicles in their counties. Thank you for your time... David Cantrell - 3/13/15

  In general we support this Grant Request. However, a more specific and detailed description of the planned methods to be used in the "repairs and maintenance" of the OHV trails and roads should be stated in the Grant. Specifically in the South Zone as it applies to the Monache Meadow Area. The current INF practice has been, not to properly repair road/trail conditions, but rather to just block off user created detours/reroutes. This practice of just littering dead trees, branches, rocks etc. on the side of the road not only creates a very visual eye-sore but encourages the trail user to further widen the detour/reroute. Visual pollution is not the solution, proper road/trail maintenance is. The continued OHV Patrol efforts in the Monache Area is strongly encouraged. Dion Salfen, Monache Property Owners - 3/19/15


  There are two errors in this Grant Request: 1. There are only two (2), not three (3), OHV crossings of the South Fork of the Kern River in the Monache Meadow Area (Statement of Planning Objectives, PROJECT DESCRIPTION). The third Monache Area crossing of the South Fork of the Kern River is located within the South Sierra Wilderness and is a shared crossing with the Sequoia National Forest. This crossing is an access road to private property and being in a designated wilderness is not authorized for OHV use and therefore not a subject of this Grant. 2. The Golden Trout fish should not be a concern or justifiable reason for this Grant (Planning Project,). The California Department of Fish and Game has continually (every three to four years) poisoned all fish in the South Fork of the Kern Rover in Monache Meadow so as to limit and protect the Golden Trout up stream of the fish barrier located north of Monache Meadow. Dion Salfen, Monache Property Owners - 3/19/15


  WE FULLY SUPPORT APPROVAL OF THIS GRANT REQUEST WITH THE HOPE THAT THE INF WILL CONTINUE THE FPO IN MONACHE MEADOW DURING 2015. After many years of non-presence and ignoring the Monache Meadow Area in 2014 the Inyo National Forest, with the assistance of CA OHV Grant G13-02-39-01, placed a FPO in Monache during the Summer months. It has been a resounding success. The sometimes unruly OHV crowd coming from the SNF has been educated (controlled?). We do have one request/concern. During 2014, the Monache FPO would be seen leaving early Sunday morning for his scheduled return and days off. This basically left the area unattended throughout Sunday. During Sunday many OHV riders are in the area "for their last ride" or planning on returning on Monday. In addition, the FPO's duties go beyond OHV patrol. The Monache Area Complex has many disbursed camping sites. As the result of the drought this area has become tinder dry and even though there are fire restrictions, many chose to ignore. It is imperative that the Monache FPO remain in this area through Monday morning. It is strongly encouraged that the Monache FPO's on site schedule be Thursday-Monday as described in ITEM 3. "Describe the frequency of the patrols" of the Grant Request. Dion Salfen, Monache Property Owners  - 3/19/15


  Because of the size of the forest, and all the work on restoration being done, this grant needs to be more specific exactly what is the area to be restores, How does it relate to other restoration project. In other words there should be a map that highlights all areas so far restored with reference to the grant used, and another picture of exactly what this grant will cover. So the reader can see what process or organization of projects is being done in a systematic way. We need a map of area, either by polygons or whatever system forest wishes to use. Ed Waldheim - 3/22/15


  This project is a 3 years planning program. It would be nice to have all these crossings prioritized so that we can understand which ones will be follow up with more request for funds to get the work has done There also needs to be an estimate of cost each of these will takes to fix so that proper planning and budging can take place and not wait until 3 years from now. By time you get there, these crossing can completely be different. In other words, what are the very important crossing work needs done so we do not loose access? Ed Waldheim - 3/22/15


  Inyo Forest has an incredible amount of access routes for all and writhing their grant they are asking for $576.045 in Ground operations. As expressed at the meeting , exactly what are we get for half million dollars. In short paragraph, reader should be able to find out how many miles of trails will be worked on, how many are there. How many still need signings. How much tractor work will be done, It is hard to determine exactly how many boots on the ground there will be. In other words at Project Description statement, it should be more direct to what the deliverables will be.? It is a lot of money, but if we do not translate this to what we are doing on the ground, it is to much money. Ed Waldheim - 3/22/15


  To: OHMVR Division 1725 23rdStreet, Sacramento, CA 95816 Attention: Sixto Fernandez Re: Bishop Inyo Forest Service I attended the USFS grants public meeting in Bishop and they were deficient in revealing any information with regard to their intentions for receiving grant money. Please verify their plans before giving any grant money. There should not be any request for money to monitor The Adventure Trail. Steve Toomey Land use Co ordinator - 3/25/15


  We are in favor of this grant. We respectfully request the California OHV Parks and Recreation Grants Committee to consider the following comments: Comment 1: The closures funded by California Parks and Recreation within the past 3 years are extremely detrimental to over-snow-vehicle (OSV) recreation. In a few cases, the Inyo N.F. has reduced the height of the log barricades, but not the rocks. As such there is a huge risk of injury for other forms of recreation… in winter. We continue to recommend the use of carsonite signs only as the method of closure. Comment 2: Page 1 A Paragraph 4. And Page 9 Item 11 Volunteers and Page 22 Item 5.5 – “Mammoth Nordic Ski Patrol will monitor and patrol OSV groomed trails and open riding areas to engage riders and ensure users remain on the legal routes.” Utilizing Nordic ski patrols is what created controversy between users. We recommend not funding the utilization of Nordic skiers for dissemination of information and patrols as stated in the grant. These users create controversy that continues today. Following are examples of that controversy which is commonplace from skiers: (1) In 2014 the Mammoth Ranger District closed by forest order a 45-year trail to/from the Town of Mammoth Lakes due to alleged controversy with skiers. The fact is the USFS stated the USFS was unable to communicate to skiers to use the exclusive Nordic parking area with access to the exclusive Nordic trail system. Instead skiers utilized the parking area for snowmobilers. Skiers used the groomed snowmobile trail. After the closure of the 45-year trail, the USFS enforced nordic skiers to park in the previously provided exclusive Nordic parking area. At the same time, the Nordic trails marked and groomed trails doubled in size. (2) We were stopped on the marked orange diamond snowmobile trail when we were accosted by two cross country skiers. We were filming the trail from the parking area to the Inyo Crater Play Area. The skiers stated “The USFS is looking for you!" More verbal harassment continued as they skied past our vehicles. (On video) (3) Upon returning to our vehicle we found the following note: “Dear Snowmobilers: Snowmobiles are illegal on all blue diamond trails. I just skied from the Earthquake Fault to Inyo Craters. Almost all the blue diamond trails were shredded by fresh snowmobile tracks. Please do not drive on any blue diamond trails in the future. Thank You, Nordic Patrol, Inyo National Forest. PS. A citation can be issued for this illegal act.” (Note is on file.) We were filming from the parking area to Inyo Crater Play Area. We never left the orange diamond snowmobile trail. Our vehicle was singled out by this Nordic patrol. Comment 3: Page 2C. While the Inyo NF does offer OHV recreation, we have no knowledge as to marked trails, kiosks, or designated OHV staging areas except 2 locations in Mono County (northern Inyo NF). There should be monitoring of what is stated to be accomplished in the grant verses the actual work performed in all grants. Comment 4. Page 2C. While it appears this grant is in support of OHV recreation on the Inyo, our location at Smokey Bear Flat on US Hwy. 395 was denied for a small UTV guided tour staging area. This location is the hub of all OHV approved routes leading to/from Smokey Bear Flat on US Hwy. 395. It was the location for a previous commercial operation. OHV use occurs here until snow pack prevents the activity. The USFS email mentions an endemic plant as the basis for denial of this location. However, none of the OHV grant proposals from the Inyo N.F. submitted in 2015 mention it. If the endemic plant is supposedly at Smokey Bear Flat OHV Trails, it must be throughout the entire northern Inyo forest. As this grant mentions the closure of OHV historical roads due to sensitive plants, we respectfully request that the endemic plant be verified as to whether it exists or not at Smokey Bear Flat with funding from this grant. Further, is it located within all OHV routes on the Inyo N.F.? Comment 5: Page 2C. The miles of groomed trails for OSV recreation are questionable. The USFS and the partners have reduced the total miles groomed from 130 miles to approximately 85 miles. Page 2 D. The paragraph does not mention that part of the 130 miles of OSV groomed trails… are for exclusive Nordic use. The exact number of Nordic trails should be noted and included in the grant separately because the California OHV Program funds those trails. This item is not mentioned in any OSV/OHV grant. Our issue here is (1) that Nordic trails groomed with OSV funds are already subsidized by the Town of Mammoth Lakes (double funding). (2) Nordic trails are opened before all OSV trails are opened. Comment 6: Page 2C. The new Winter Recreation Map 2014 (funded by OHV) documents the huge loss of OSV riding areas. OSV recreation has been displaced in favor or Nordic skiing, wilderness, Mammoth Mtn. Ski Area expansion and by forest order with no explanation. Areas closed for OSV recreation in favor or the expansion of Nordic skiing are Yost Valley, Mammoth Lakes Basin and portions of Shady Rest. Additional closures were added in 2014 by forest order surrounding the town to include the industrial park, Sherwin Mtns. the Earthquake Fault, and a 45-year road/trail to/from the Town of Mammoth Lakes. Reference the Winter Recreation Map 2014. Please procure the Winter Recreation Map 2014 and compare it carefully with what is left for OSV recreation on the Winter Recreation Map 2014. Please do not allow this method of closures mentioned in this grant for summer OHV users to adversely create additional closures for winter OSV recreation. Comment 7: Page 22, Item 5.5 Friends of the Inyo provides and manages work crews which directly assist INF crews with maintenance and monitoring of OHV routes. Off-Road Adventures in Bishop reported to the California OHV the incursions of Friends of the Inyo members and their methods of closures with photographs. The information was submitted to S. Fernandez, California OHV Parks and Recreation. This local non-profit violated the terms and conditions of a grant from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy in the amount of $600K. The work performed under the Sierra Nevada grant is the same as proposed in this grant. We respectfully request that partnerships and use of volunteers are in uniform, have this grant in hand, and authorization from the USFS. Friends of the Inyo have deviated from the method of closures described in grants in the past. Please prevent this in the future by requiring the Inyo N.F. to use another organization. Thank you for considering these comments. DJ's Snowmobile Adventures, Inc. - 4/5/15


  DJ’s Snowmobile Adventures, Inc., Mammoth Lakes, CA is in favor of this grant. We respectfully submit the following comments…. Comment 1. Page 1 – A. “The project area is east of Hwy. 395 from the Town of Mammoth Lakes to Mono Lake and others.” A map was not available with the grant proposal reflecting specific roads. The closures include 131 routes and 50 miles of trail. This area is almost our entire area of operations in winter for 34 years. Therein is our concern. To the best of our knowledge of the project area, while maps for OHV use are available, the routes noted on the maps are not marked in the field. Hence, there are no OHV routes marked in the project area other than road closure signage. However, in the Repairs and Maintenance Ground Operations Grant request 2014-2015 this issue is addressed. In the past for OSV recreation the trail markers were purchased and stockpiled. They were never installed in the field over a 15-year period. Will OHV trails be marked or signage stockpiled? The types of closures proposed in the past (rocks, spikes and log barricades) will affect winter recreation. Therefore we recommend the use of carsonite signs. This method of closure will suffice and not affect winter recreation. All other methods may lead to personal injury for winter users. Summer users are affected as well that do not use an OHV. We believe the spikes inserted as a road closure were not authorized; however, the USFS did not deny using this type of closure, nor were the spikes removed. Comment 2. Page 1 A “Hand crews work would be completed by ACE under the direction and supervision of Forest Service personnel. “ Suggest the persons or organizations doing the work whether paid or volunteer should have a copy of this grant in hand, their names as designated workers, some type of uniform, their name on that uniform that gives those persons the right to close a trail/road, and how that specific trail/road is to be closed. There are numerous over-zealous individuals without authorization closing roads. This has been documented and reported by our company, DJ’s Snowmobile Adventures, and by Golden State Cycle Off-Road Adventures. Comment 3. Page 2 – B (Last Paragraph). “…..illegal incursions into closed areas such as designated wilderness….” There is no designated wilderness in the project area specified in the grant east of Hwy. 395 from Mammoth Lakes to Mono Lake. Comment 4. Page 17, Item 7. “Public Input”. When any group or individual attends a meeting, a sign-in sheet is passed around. As such, the USFS lists that sheet with the organization or individual as part of the grant. The fact is that individual may, or may not, represent the organization listed. Those persons who attend these meetings rarely receive or review information on the actual grant request. More often than not, what is discussed at the meeting is not at all what is in the grant proposal. The point is a sign-in sheet is not enough to list people or organizations as volunteers or partners. If an organization, agency, etc., is in favor or against a proposal, the grant applicant should have a signed statement on letterhead to submit with the grant proposal. Public comments should be in writing. We really do not know if the individual was authorized by an organization to represent that organization for or against the proposal. The fact that an individual attended a meeting does not necessarily mean they are for or against the grant proposal. Comment 5. Page 17, Item 8. “Friends of the Inyo. The Forest will work with Friends of the Inyo for volunteer days to plant native vegetation…..” Again, see comment 2 regarding uniforms and authorization. This non-profit was the target of over-zealous volunteers closing roads as reported to S. Fernandez, California Parks and Recreation with photographs by the Off-Road Adventure organization in Bishop. In addition, Off-Road Adventures stated the organization violated their grant with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy by not completing the work within budget. When the $600K funding ran out, the members walked away from the project. As such, Friends of the Inyo (FOI) should be removed from volunteer or paid work on all California-Parks and Recreation grants submitted by the USFS. Thank you for addressing these comments. DJ's Snowmobile Adventures, Inc. - 4/5/15


  See attached letterSteve Toomey - 4/5/15