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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

USDA Forest Service Launches Collaborative Process for New Planning Rule

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the USDA Forest Service is beginning an open, collaborative process to create and implement a modern planning rule to address current and future needs of the National Forest System, including restoring forests, protecting watersheds, addressing climate change, sustaining local economies, improving collaboration, and working across landscapes. The Forest Service will publish a notice of intent (NOI) in the Federal Register tomorrow, December 18, to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to develop a new planning rule that will provide a framework for management of national forests and grasslands.

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John Stewart

National Forest Surveys Coming Your Way

Beginning October 1st, you may see more Forest Service and contract employees working in developed and dispersed recreation sites and along Forest Service roads.  They will be wearing bright orange vests and be near a sign that says “Traffic Survey Ahead”.  Just like the postman, these folks may be out in all kinds of adverse weather conditions.  These folks are waiting to talk to you, so please pull over for an interview.  These well-trained interviewers want to know about your visit to the national forest.  All information you give is confidential and the survey is voluntary.

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John Stewart

Historic Munitions Located and Removed at Pole Mountain


It’s hard to imagine that the rolling hills of Pole Mountain once had 75-mm military guns lined up for as far as the eye could see.

From 1879 to 1961, the Pole Mountain Unit of the Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming was used as a target and maneuver area for military training. The Army and Air Force used the area to train soldiers and airmen in the use of weapons and munitions.

Today the Forest Service manages the 58,000-acre site for multiple-use. However, there remain unexploded munitions in the area. Every now and then, a citizen brings a military object to authorities for disposal.

The Army Corps of Engineers, with the Forest Service as a cooperating agency, is using satellite technology to detect and remove the munitions.

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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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