Hoonah, AK (July 31, 2009) – Users of motorized vehicles on Forest Service roads on the Hoonah Ranger District, Tongass National Forest, will want to pick up a new Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) for the district when it becomes available in January 2010. The map will identify which roads and trails are open to motorized use, based on the just-released Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact (DN/FONSI) for the Hoonah Ranger District Access and Travel Management (ATM) project. Hoonah District Ranger Rich Jennings selected the Proposed Action with minor modifications, based on public comments and the analysis in the Environmental Assessment.
The original Proposed Action included 11 miles of trails that could be opened to future OHV use if funding were made available to make them accessible and/or to address resource concerns. The modification changes that to 5 miles for possible future OHV use, because analysis showed that 6 of the 11 miles of those additional trails were in Old Growth Habitat and designation as OHV trail would not meet Forest Plan Old Growth Habitat prescriptions. Provisions in the Selected Alternative also includes the following: * 141 miles of National Forest System (NFS) roads will remain open to highway vehicles; all or parts of these open roads may be open to both highway and off-highway vehicles (OHV) * 22 miles of existing NFS road will be designated exclusively for OHV use as OHV trails * 25 miles of open NFS road will be closed to highway vehicles, for a total of 122 miles closed to highway vehicles on the district * 95 miles of road on the Hoonah Ranger District will be closed to all motorized vehicle traffic Upon publication of the MVUM, all district areas not displayed as open roads or OHV trails on the map will be closed to all forms of motorized surface access including motorized subsistence access under ANILCA Section 811(b). Snow mobiles are not part of this decision and will be permitted off designated roads and trails when used over snow and in accordance with ANILCA section 1110 (a) and 811 (b). The map, which is expected to be available in January 2010, will be reviewed annually. Copies of the EA and Decision Notice are available on-line at http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/projects/projects.shtml under Hoonah Ranger District Access and Travel Management project.