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Management rule announced November 2, 2005 - Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Program

sent by Julie Smithson

(Note: This should be read by everyone with any association whatsoever to National Forests, not just recreationists. Many people use roads through National Forests in rural areas where so many roads have been closed/obliterated that there is no other choice. Ranchers still have grazing permits on National Forest land and use National Forest roads regularly. The scope of this "Travel Management Rule" is broad and the language can certainly be expanded with ease to include ALL motorized vehicles. This incremental means of controlling travel and vehicles cannot be overstated; it is an agenda to remove people from vast reaches of America. That snowmobiles are not impacted at this particular time should not be of solace to snowmobilers. At any time, snowmobilers can be targeted, as they have in the past. "Travel Management" is an issue that everyone should get galvanized into action and fight. There are several hours' worth of additional researched information contained herein. All the pdf files lsted below add up to 364 pages of reading.)

November 2, 2005

On November 2, 2005, the Forest Service announced final travel management regulations governing OHVs and other motor vehicle use on national forests and grasslands.

News Release [see below this article to the additional researched, recommended reading] http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2005/releases/11/travel-management.shtml

We expect the final regulation to appear in the Federal Register  on or about November 4, 2005.  Once it is available, this page http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/ will provide a link to the Federal Register  site.   In the meantime, in order to ensure early public availability of the rule text, we are providing a preliminary copy of the rule as transmitted to the Federal Register.  The final published text may include slight differences related to technical formatting.

Final rule, as sent to Federal Register (pdf) http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/final.pdf (122 pages)

Background Information and Need for the New Rule

Over the past few decades, the availability and capability of OHVs has increased tremendously. That’s a good thing. More Americans are enjoying access and recreational opportunities on their national forests and grasslands, in keeping with the Forest Service’s multiple use mandate. However, the increase in OHV use also affects soil, water, wildlife habitat, and other recreational visitors. Today unmanaged recreation, including impacts from off-highway vehicles, represents one of four key threats http://www.fs.fed.us/projects/four-threats facing the nation’s forests and grasslands. [Note: The alleged "four key threats" are: fire and fuels, whose "Strategic Leaders" are Janet Anderson janderson03@fs.fed.us or 202-25-1489 or Mark Beighley mbeighley@fs.fed.us or 202-205-0888 -- keeping in mind that 2005 was the record year for acres burned on federal and state lands, with over 8.2 Million acres incinerated; "invasive species," whose "Strategic Leaders" are Janette Kaiser jkaiser@fs.fed.us or 202-205-1460 or Michael Ielmini mielmini@fs.fed.us or 202-205-1049 -- whatever that is said to mean, keeping in mind that "invasive species" is Language Deception]; "loss of open space," whose "Strategic Leaders" are Larry Payne lpayne@fs.fed.us or 202-205-1389 or Rick Cooksey rcooksey@fs.fed.us or 202-205-1469  -- with The Nature Conservancy scarfing up mega quantities of land,&nbs;either through outright purchase or some sort of restrictive easement, it's hard to fathom how such a vast land acquisition between "partners" could be construed as a "loss;" and "unmanaged recreation" -- which is more Language Deception, just like the other three "key threats." The "strategic leaders" for "unmanaged recreation are Dave Holland dholland@fs.fed.us or 202-205-0900 or Jerry Ingersoll jingersoll@fs.fed.us or 202-205-0931] 

On July 15, 2004, the Forest Service published proposed travel management regulations in the Federal Register
During the 60-day comment period, the agency received 81,563 responses representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and seven foreign countries. Most comments supported the broad concept of designating roads, trails, and areas for motor vehicle use. 
The final rule addresses these comments.  
The new rule provides a national framework for local units to use in designating a sustainable system of roads, trails, and areas for motor vehicle use.  The rule's goal is to secure a wide range of recreation opportunities while ensuring the best possible care of the land.  

Highlights of the Rule

  • The rule requires each national forest or ranger district to designate those roads, trails, and areas open to motor vehicles.
  • Designation will include class of vehicle and, if appropriate, time of year for motor vehicle use. A given route, for example, could be designated for use by motorcycles, ATVs, or street-legal vehicles.
  • Once designation is complete, the rule will prohibit motor vehicle use off the designated system or inconsistent with the designations.
  • Designation decisions will be made locally, with public input and in coordination with state, local, and tribal governments.

Next Steps

  • Proposed directives (Forest Service Manual and Handbook direction) will be published for public comment in 2006.

  • During the next few years, forest supervisors and district rangers will involve the public in designating roads, trails, and areas for motor vehicle use.
  • The agency expects national forests and grasslands to complete the designation process within four years.

Working Together

  • Effective partnerships with state and local government and user groups are already providing collaborative planning, maintenance, and shared resources to better manage OHV use.
  • Sustainable motorized recreation will require continuing partnerships to address road and trail maintenance, enforcement, and protection of natural resources

Photos of OHV use on national forests and grasslands from July 13, 2005 Congressional Hearing (high resolution - PowerPoint) http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/OHV_Pictures.ppt

Previously posted information

Latest figures on OHV use from the National Survey on Recreation and the Environment http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/OHV_final_report.pdf (90 pages)

Collaboration Summit

On April 12 and 13, 2005, representatives of state and federal agencies, OHV manufacturers and user groups, environmental groups, and others interested in travel management gathered to discuss the potential for collaboration in managing motorized recreation. This "OHV Collaboration Summit" was co-sponsored by the Forest Service, the State of California, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Association of Counties. Highlights of the proceedings included review of case studies in travel management, and open discussions of lessons in collaborative planning.

Proceedings of the summit:

National OHV Collaboration Summit Proceedings http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/summit_proceedings.pdf (40 pages)

Case Study Report - Off-Highway Vehicle Use and Collaboration: Lessons Learned From Project Implementation http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/CaseStudyReport.pdf (95 pages) [Prepared by the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, the Morris K. Udall Foundation]

[Excerpt from page 2]

Cases selected for analysis included:

1) Arizona OHV Inventory Partnership

2) California Off-Highway Vehicle Stakeholders Roundtable

3) Caribou-Targhee Travel Management Collaborative Learning Workshop

4) Cromer Ridge OHV Management: Daniel Boone National Forest

5) Hopkinton-Everett Reservoir Multiple-Use Trail System Trails

6) Lewis and Clark National Forest: Big Snowies Access/Travel Management Plan

7) Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota Interagency Working Group

8) OHV Use and Forest Plan Revision on the Ouachita National Forest

9) Perry Stream All-Terrain Vehicle Trails

10) Southeast Idaho Trail System

11) Wenatchee National Forest Off-Road Vehicle Trails


Handouts from Breakout Sessions

BLM Strategies and Guidance "Where Are We Going?" http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/blm_strategies.pdf (11 pages) [Pages 9 and 10: Comprehensive Travel Management: It address all resource use aspects and accompanying modes and conditions of travel on public lands; Not just motorized activities; Identifying acceptable modes of access and travel for management areas. "We are considering:" Consistency with all resource program goals and objectives; Primary travelers; Objectives for travel in the area; Setting characteristics; Primary means of travel to accomplish objectives and maintain setting characteristics.]
Case Clinic: A Collaborative Learning Workshop for the Caribou Travel Plan Revision, Caribou National Forest http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/caseclinic_caribou.pdf (15 pages) [See page 4, "Seeds of Collaboration" -- on page 10, one of the "Four areas of common agreement, after the facilitated process, was "the need for a complete inventory of roads and trails, including those not previously designated" On page 12, under "Conference Proceedings," IORT is mentioned, but not explained as being the Institute for Outdoor Recreation and Tourism at Utah State University Extension; it is stated that the proceedings will be published on the IORT website and that hard copies will be placed in "several public locations" for comment -- though those "publi locations" are never provided. http://extension.usu.edu/cooperative/iort/]
National OHV Collaboration Summit: "Collaboration 101" http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/collaboration.pdf (12 pages) [prepared by Lisa Beutler, Associate Director, The Center for Collaborative Policy, California State University at Sacramento lbeutler@ccp.csus.edu or 916-445-2079; two excerpts from page 5: U.S. EPA "Stakeholder Involvement Techniques, EPA Stakeholder Involvement Action Plan http://www.epa.gov/publicinvolvement/siap1298.htm; and "The Internal Association for Public Participation also has many helpful references and tools. See http://iap2.org/practitionertools/index.shtml]
Emerging Policies - Forest Service Recreation: Shared Resources, Managed Recreation http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/emerging_policies.pdf (18 pages)
ATVs and the NH [New Hampshire] Bureau of Trails - Then and Now http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/nh_bureau_trails.pdf (30 pages)
Forging a Sustainable System of Routes and Areas for Motorized Use - Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth Speech to Collaboration Summit http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/ohv_summit_chief_speech.pdf (6 pages)
Ouachita National Forest, Arkansas and Oklahoma http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/ouachita_nf.pdf (20 pages)


Executive Order

The  following website addresses will access Executive Order 11644 (as amended) - USE OF OFF-ROAD VEHICLES ON THE PUBLIC LANDS at the Government Printing Office website. This Executive Order provides direction in the management of off-highway vehicles on National Forest Systems lands.

http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/codification/executive-order/11644.html (pasted herein)


Executive Order 11644--Use of off-road vehicles on the public lands

Source: The provisions of Executive Order 11644 of February 8, 1972, appear at 37 FR 2877, 3 CFR, 1971-1975 Comp., p. 666, unless otherwise noted.

An estimated 5 million off-road recreational vehicles -- motorcycles, minibikes, trial bikes, snowmobiles, dune-buggies, all-terrain vehicles, and others -- are in use in the United States today, and their popularity continues to increase rapidly. The widespread use of such vehicles on the public lands -- often for legitimate purposes, but also in frequent conflict with wise land and resource management practices, environmental values, and other types of recreational activity -- has demonstrated the need for a unified Federal policy toward the use of such vehicles on the public lands.

NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me [Richard Millhouse Nixon] as President of the United States by the Constitution of the United States and in furtherance of the purpose and policy of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321), it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Purpose. It is the purpose of this order to establish policies and provide for procedures that will ensure that the use of off-road vehicles on public lands will be controlled and directed so as to protect the resources of those lands, to promote the safety of all users of those lands, and to minimize conflicts among the various uses of those lands.

Sec. 2. Definitions. As used in this order, the term:
(1) "public lands" means (A) all lands under the custody and control of the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture, except Indian lands, (B) lands under the custody and control of the Tennessee Valley Authority that are situated in western Kentucky and Tennessee and are designated as "Land Between the Lakes," and (C) lands under the custody and control of the Secretary of Defense;
(2) "respective agency head" means the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority [TVA], with respect to public lands under the custody and control of each;
(3) "off-road vehicle" means any motorized vehicle designed for or capable of cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water, sand, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other natural terrain; except that such term excluds (A) any registered motorboat, (B) any fire, military, emergency or law enforcement vehicle when used for emergency purposes, and any combat or combat support vehicle when used for national defense purposes, and (C) any vehicle whose use is expressly authorized by the respective agency head under a permit, lease, license, or contract; and
(4) "official use" means use by an employee, agent, or designated representative of the Federal Government or one of its contractors in the course of his employment, agency, or representation.

[Sec. 2 amended by Executive Order 11989 of May 24, 1977, 42 FR 26959, 3 CFR, 1977 Comp., p. 120]

Sec. 3. Zones of Use. (a) Each respective agency head shall develop and issue regulations and administrative instructions, within six months of the date of this order, to provide for administrative designation of the specific areas and trails on public lands on which the use of off-road vehicles may be permitted, and areas in which the use of off-road vehicles may not be permitted, and set a date by which such designation of all public lands shall be completed. Those regulations shall direct that the designation of such areas and trails will be based upon the protection of the resources of the public lands, promotion of the safety of all users of those lands, and minimization of conflicts among the various uses of those lands. The regulations shall further require that the designation of such areas and trails shall be in accordance with the following--
(1) Areas and trails shall be located to minimize damage to soil, watershed, vegetation, or other resources of the public lands.
(2) Areas and trails shall be located to minimize harassment of wildlife or significant disruption of wildlife habitats.
(3) Areas and trails shall be located to minimize conflicts between off-road vehicle use and other existing or proposed recreational uses of the same or neighboring public lands, and to ensure the compatibility of such uses with existing conditions in populated areas, taking into account noise and other factors.
(4) Areas and trails shall not be located in officially designated Wilderness Areas or Primitive Areas. Areas and trails shall be located in areas of the National Park system, Natural Areas, or National Wildlife Refuges and Game Ranges only if the respective agency head determines that off-road vehicle use in such locations will not adversely affect their natural, aesthetic, or scenic values.
(b) The respective agency head shall ensure adequate opportunity for public participation in the promulgation of such regulations and in the designation of areas and trails under this section.
(c) The limitations on off-road vehicle use imposed under this section shall not apply to official use.

Sec. 4. Operating Conditions. Each respective agency head shall develop and publish, within one year of the date of this order, regulations prescribing operating conditions for off-road vehicles on the public lands. These regulations shall be directed at protecting resource values, preserving public health, safety, and welfare, and minimizing use conflicts.

Sec. 5. Public Information. The respective agency head shall ensure that areas and trails where off-road vehicle use is permitted are well marked and shall provide for the publication and distribution of information, including maps, describing such areas and trails and explaining the conditions on vehicle use. He shall seek cooperation of relevant State agencies in the dissemination of this information.

Sec. 6. Enforcement. The respective agency head shall, where authorized by law, prescribe appropriate penalties for violation of regulations adopted pursuant to this order, and shall establish procedures for the enforcement of those regulations. To the extent permitted by law, he may enter into agreements with State or local governmental agencies for cooperative enforcement of laws and regulations relating to off-road vehicle use.

Sec. 7. Consultation. Before issuing the regulations or administrative instructions required by this order or designating areas or trails as required by this order and those regulations and administrative instructions, the Secretary of the Interior shall, as appropriate, consult with the Secretary of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

[Sec. 7 amended by Executive Order 12608 of Sept. 9, 1987, 52 FR 34617, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 245]

Sec. 8. Monitoring of Effects and Review. (a) The respective agency head shall monitor the effects of the use of off-road vehicles on lands under their jurisdictions. On the basis of the information gathered, they shall from time to time amend or rescind designations of areas or other actions taken pursuant to this order as necessary to further the policy of this order.
(b) The Council on Environmental Quality shall maintain a continuing review of the implementation of this order.

Sec. 9. Special Protection of the Public Lands. (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 3 of this Order, the respective agency head shall, whenever he determines that the use of off-road vehicles will cause or is causing considerable adverse effects on the soil, vegetation, wildlife, wildlife habitat or cultural or historic resources of particular areas or trails of the public lands, immediately close such areas or trails to the type of off-road vehicle causing such effects, until such time as he determines that such adverse effects have been eliminated and that measures have been implemented to prevent future recurrence.
(b) Each respective agency head is authorized to adopt the policy that portions of the public lands within his jurisdiction shall be closed to use by off-road vehicles except those areas or trails which are suitable and specifically designated as open to such use pursuant to Section 3 of this Order.

[Sec. 9 added by Executive Order 11989 of May 24, 1977, 42 FR 26959, 3 CFR, 1977 Comp., p. 120]


Additional, related, highly recommended reading:
USDA Forest Service Releases Final Rule for Motorized Recreation in National Forests & Grasslands - New Rule will Balance Best Possible Care of Land with Public's Enjoyment of Recreational Vehicles through Local Collaboration
November 2, 2005
News Release No. FS-0605
Contact: Press Office 202-205-1134
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service today announced a new regulation for recreational motor vehicle use in national forests and grasslands which will forge a sustainable system of routes and areas designated for motorized use in the future.

"OHV and other motorized vehicles are fun and exciting ways to experience national forests and we’ve seen dramatic increases in their popularity in the last decade," said Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth. "Land managers will use the new rule to continue to work with motorized sports enthusiasts, conservationists, state and local officials and others to provide responsible motorized recreational experiences in national forests and grasslands for the long run."

The new travel management policy requires each national forest and grassland to identify and designate those roads, trails and areas that are open to motor vehicle use. Local units will seek public input and coordinate with federal, state, county and other local governmental entities as well as tribal governments before any decision is made on a particular road, trail or area. Unplanned, user-created routes will be considered at the local level during the designation process.

The agency expects that it will take up to four years to complete the designation process for all 155 national forests and 20 grasslands. Each unit will also publish a motor vehicle use map. The final rule addresses the more than 80,000 comments received on last year’s proposed rule. Most comments strongly supported the concept of designating routes and areas for motor vehicle use.

Once the designation process is complete, motor vehicle use off these routes and outside those areas (cross-country travel) will be prohibited. This prohibition will not affect over-snow vehicles (OSVs), such as snowmobiles.

The rule will impact motor vehicle use on roads, trails and areas under Forest Service management. State, county or other public roads within national forest and grassland boundaries will not be included in the designation process.

Some national forests and grasslands already have established systems of roads, trails and areas designed and managed for motorized use. This rule does not require those units to change existing plans.

In 2002, the Forest Service had more than 214 million visits, with about the same number driving through just to enjoy the scenery. More than 200,000 miles of forest roads are currently open to off-highway vehicle (OHV) use as well as more than 36,000 miles of trails. In addition, national forest recreation has become the biggest contributor to many local economies, including rural communities.

Recreational motor vehicles include OHVs, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway motorcycles (OHMs) and off-road vehicles (ORVs), such as 4-by-4 trucks or Jeeps.

A copy of the new rule can be found at http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/final.pdf (122 pages)

USSA Opposes Blanket Policy against ORV Use on Federal Lands
(Note: The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service has announced a new regulation that will severely limit access to hundreds of thousands of acres of public land.)
November 4, 2005
No author provided at originating website address/URL.
The Federal Report is brought to you by the Washington D.C. Office of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance. News affecting Sportsmen from a National Level is reported here.
U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance (Formerly WLFA)
801 Kingsmill Parkway
Columbus, OH 43229
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service has announced a new regulation that will severely limit access to hundreds of thousands of acres of public land.
Thousands of sportsmen take advantage of outstanding hunting, fishing and trapping opportunities available to them on federal land each year.  Whether by 4x4, airboat or floatplane, many sportsmen are dependent upon off-road vehicles (ORV) to afford access to these opportunities.
The rule, which was announced on November 2, will change the Forest Service’s policy on ORV use from an “open until closed” policy to one of “closed until open” for all National Forest land until compatibility studies can be performed.
“Access to some prime public hunting grounds will be impossible now that this one-size-fits-all policy has been implemented,” said Rick Story, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance senior vice president.
“Motorized access is an important means of getting on the land for hunters, trappers and anglers and means of access are as different as the land is across North America.”
The USSA opposes this blanket policy that closes public lands to sportsmen.
The proposal denies sportsmen’s access via floatplane in Alaska, airboat in south Florida, four-wheel drive SUVs and all terrain vehicles (ATVs), all of which enable hunters, trappers and anglers to get beyond the roads to pursue their sports.
This property rights information sent by Julie Kay Smithson of http://www.PropertyRightsResearch.org Have you contributed lately to keep these efforts strong? Not supported by foundations or grants, but by people that recognize how vital this effort is -- your help keeps it strong! http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org/2005/support_this_effort.htm To unsubscribe, simply put "Please Unsubscribe" in the Subject Line of an email and your name, city and state in the body of the email.



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