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News and information about environmental and land management action involving U.S. Forest Service

John Stewart

USDA Forest Service Continues Discounts at Campgrounds

The Forest Service had proposed changes to discounts provided to holders of Golden Age and Golden Access Passports and Senior and Access Passes.  Under the proposal, discounts at concession-operated campgrounds would have changed from the current 50 percent to 10 percent. After considering many public comments, the Chief determined the proposed changes are not the best way to address growing challenges regarding services provided by private businesses at Forest Service recreation facilities.

"Each year more than 175 million people enjoy recreational opportunities on National Forests and Grasslands, and that includes more than 15 million visits to our campgrounds," said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.  "Particularly in these difficult economic times, it is very important to maintain affordable access to our National Forests and Grasslands, giving people easy ways to recreate and find respite in the great outdoors."  

The Chief's decision leaves in place a 50 percent discount at campgrounds run by private concessions for holders of Golden Age and Golden Access Passports and Interagency Senior and Access Passes. Concessioners are not required to accept passes at day use sites.  Seniors age 62 and older pay a one-time $10 fee for the Senior Pass. Lifetime Access Passes for people with disabilities are free.  

The Forest Service conducted a 60-day public notice and comment period on the proposed changes. More than 4,000 comments were received.

The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.  The agency manages 193 million acres of National Forest System land, provides stewardship assistance to non-federal forest landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.  For more information, visit: www.fs.fed.us

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John Stewart

Inyo NF Travel Management Plan Released

“From the start, this project has been about balancing the various needs for motorized recreation opportunities with the need to protect natural and cultural resources,” said Upchurch.  “I believe my decision strikes the best balance in providing motorized access with the protection of these critical resources.”

As described in the Record of Decision the Selected Alternative will restrict public motorized use to designated National Forest Transportation System (NFTS) roads, trails, and areas.  It will add to the system:

•    850 miles of high-clearance native surface roads as high-clearance roads open to all vehicles,
•    122 miles of motorized trails open to all trail vehicles,
•    20 miles of ATV trails,
•    15 miles of motorcycle trails.

The Selected Alternative includes limited changes to existing NFTS roads, including changes in vehicle class, and identifies mitigation efforts that must be completed prior to designating certain routes for motor vehicle use.

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John Stewart

Interim directive for inventoried roadless areas issued

The U.S. Forest Service, with jurisdiction over the National Forests and Grasslands, makes decisions about what projects can take place on those lands. In simultaneously upholding and overturning the 2001 Clinton roadless rule, the courts have created confusion and made it difficult for the U.S. Forest Service to do its job. The directive will ensure that USDA can carefully consider activities in these inventoried roadless areas while long term roadless policy is developed and relevant court cases move forward.

This interim directive changes procedural requirements for Forest Service projects in inventoried roadless areas. It does not prevent the Secretary from either approving projects that he believes are in the interest of forest stewardship or prohibiting projects he believes are not. The Secretary will work closely with the US Forest Service to implement this interim directive.

This interim directive does not affect roadless areas on National Forest System lands in Idaho - Idaho is exempt from this interim directive. Idaho developed its own roadless rule through the Administrative Procedures Act. That rule already prescribes how decisions with respect to forest management and road building in roadless areas in Idaho are to be made.

This interim directive will last for one year and can be renewed for an additional year.

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John Stewart

Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan Released

Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan promotes protection and Ecological Restoration through science and collaboration

Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan

PORTERVILLE, Calif.—Today, Forest Supervisor, Kevin B. Elliott, released a new Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan (Monument Plan) for one of this Nation’s national treasures.  The Monument Plan guides restoration efforts for giant sequoia ecosystems, watersheds, habitat for old-forest dependent wildlife, and the protection of mountain communities.

Regional Forester, Randy Moore, selected Alternative B and one element of Alternative E (Moses Wilderness recommendation) as the basis for the Monument Plan.

Two years of public collaboration provided the sidebars for a strategic vision for the Giant Sequoia National Monument (Monument). “The public’s tirele

ss efforts have resulted in a framework to restore and manage 33 giant sequoia groves, provide healthy watersheds, homes for unique wildlife, as well as provide spectacular recreation adventures to the American people”, stated Elliott, Forest Supervisor. “Throughout this Monument Plan there is a theme of ecological restoration based on a foundation of science and a set of strong protocols.”

Today’s action culminates years of collaborative efforts with multiple agencies, the scientific community, and an engaged public to develop management direction based on public collaboration and current science.

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John Stewart

Williams Ranger District To Implement Travel Management June 15

WILLIAMS, Ariz. – The Williams Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest will implement the Travel Management Rule tomorrow – Wednesday, June 15.  The Travel Management Rule requires all national forests and grasslands to designate a system of roads for motorized use, and to prohibit all motor vehicle use off the designated system.

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