USFS proposal

Nikson

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
what a bunch of shit... thats all I got to say...

its funny how most people who "wheel" dont even think about it, that by purchasing those permits, they are actually financing all those spendings on more regulations...

Why cant everyone just take some time "off" and let these agencies run out of funding, and eventually just close up...
 

nikos

Member
what a bunch of shit... thats all I got to say...

its funny how most people who "wheel" dont even think about it, that by purchasing those permits, they are actually financing all those spendings on more regulations...

Why cant everyone just take some time "off" and let these agencies run out of funding, and eventually just close up...


All these Register Notices, and the rules, are coming from people who are sitting in a closed office with the walls around them, and the only think they want to do, is to legislate, those who have managed so far (due to the chosen activities) to create the right Conditions, an environment where the freedom and the relaxation, and the time "off" close to the nature, may not be a luxury.

Regards Nikos
 

Doc

Administrator
Staff member
Cletis attached the doc, but for search engine hits I'm going to expand / post the doc right here for all to see.


U.S. FOREST SERVICE
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATION
OVER-SNOW VEHICLE USE

June 13, 2014

Topic: OVER-SNOW VEHICLE FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE

Issue: The U.S. Forest Service is seeking public comment on proposed revisions to a portion of the Travel Management Rule that would require designation of agency roads, trails and areas where over-snow vehicle use is allowed, restricted or prohibited. The proposed change would provide consistency in how over-snow vehicle use is managed across the agency.

Background: Between 1982 and 2009, the number of people in the U.S. who operate motor vehicles off road increased more than 153.5 percent. Other types of recreational use also increased. Providing for long-term sustainable use of national forests and grasslands is essential to creating the quality of the recreation experience expected by visitors. In 2005, the agency began working on a plan for more effective management of public motor vehicle use. One section of the Travel Management Rule requires the creation of a system of routes and areas where motor vehicles are allowed (36 CFR Part 212, Subpart B). Another subpart to the rule treats over-snow vehicle use differently, giving the responsible agency official the discretion to determine whether to establish similar rules to allow, restrict, or prohibit the use of such vehicles (36 CFR Part 212, Subpart C). In 2013 a federal court ruled that the agency violated Executive Order 11644, “Use of off-road vehicles on public lands,” by allowing such discretion. The court held that the Forest Service must regulate over-snow use, but does have the discretion to determine where and when over-snow vehicle use can occur on agency lands. The judge ordered the Forest Service to issue a new rule by Sept. 9, 2014.

Key Messages:
• The U.S. Forest Service strives to balance the demands of multiple uses on public lands and develop a Travel Management Plan to more effectively manage public motor vehicle use on public lands the agency manages.
• The proposed revision to the Travel Management Rule would provide sustainable access for all motor vehicles, including over-snow vehicles, on national forests and grasslands.
• The proposed changes to the Travel Management Rule will provide consistency in how over-snow vehicle use is managed on agency lands across the country.

Questions and Answers:

1. Will the proposed rule maintain over-snow vehicle access to the national forests and grasslands?
The Forest Service recognizes that in the right places and with careful management, over-snow vehicles are an appropriate use on lands managed by the agency. Consistent with other types of public motor vehicle use, the proposed rule revision maintains public access to national forests and grasslands for over-snow vehicle use but requires the designation of a system of roads, trails, and areas where over-snow vehicle use is allowed, restricted or prohibited. The proposed rule enhances opportunities for outdoor recreation for all forest and grassland visitors and ensures that the long-term health of the land is viable over the long term.

2. Why does the agency allow over-snow vehicle use on national forests and grasslands? Can over-snow vehicles cause damage to soil and vegetation?

Sufficient snow cover enables a new set of recreational opportunities such as skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Snowmobiles in particular are dependent on sufficient winter snow so that roads and trails and areas are covered to allow wintertime access to the forest.
National forests and grasslands are established for use by the public for multiple purposes, which include a wide variety of recreational opportunities. Recreation is the most notable use of over-snow vehicles. However, for many people the over-snow vehicles are part of their everyday work life. Gathering fire wood in roadless areas and subsistence hunting in Alaska are two examples of how a person may use these vehicles.
With sufficient snow and when properly operated and managed, over-snow vehicles do not make direct contact with soil, water and vegetation and generally permanent trails are not created. That means in the Midwest and Northeast, over-snow vehicle use is largely trail-based. In the larger, wide-open powder-filled bowls in the western mountains, cross-country over-snow vehicle use could be more common. However, in addition to adequate snow cover, the Forest Service must consider other factors including impacts to winter wildlife, the soundscape and air quality.

3. What types of vehicles are considered over-snow vehicles?

The current definition of over-snow vehicle will not change with the proposed rule revision. Over-snow vehicles are defined under the Travel Management Rule as “a motor vehicle that is designed for use over snow and that runs on a track and/or a ski or skis, while used over snow.”

4. Why is an “area” defined differently for over-snow vehicle use under the proposed rule?

In the current rule an area is defined as a discrete, small area, which is much smaller than a Ranger District. The definition in the proposed rule recognizes that over-snow vehicle use may occur across a broader landscape, not necessarily along a specific road or trail, but potentially cross-country within designated areas larger than those anticipated for other motor vehicle use.

5. Why is over-snow vehicles managed differently than other motor vehicles under the proposed rule?

Over the snow use for transportation or for recreation is when snow is on the ground at an adequate depth to not create damage. In contrast, users of other motor vehicles are generally not limited to a season. Other types of motor vehicles operating over snow are regulated under subpart B of the Travel Management Rule.
There is a key difference between over-snow vehicle use and other types of motor vehicles use. Most other types of motor vehicles operate directly on the ground and can have a direct effect on soil and ground vegetation. When properly operated and managed, over-snow vehicles do not make direct contact with soil, water and vegetation. However, in addition to adequate snow cover, the Forest Service must consider other factors including impacts to winter wildlife, the soundscape and air quality.
The public’s over-snow vehicle preferences and practices on lands managed by the Forest Service vary nationwide due to differences in terrain, snowfall, snowpack, recreational activities, and transportation needs.
Recreational preferences are another factor accounting for the difference in management of other types of motor vehicle use and over-snow vehicle use. The public’s desire for recreational opportunities is different in the summer and the winter. National Visitor Use Monitoring data from 2008 to 2012 show that most public use of National Forest System lands (79.5 percent) occurs during non-snow seasons. Per this data, most snow season use on National Forest System lands (69 percent) occurs at alpine ski areas and generally does not involve over-snow vehicle use, back-country skiing, snowshoeing, or any other snow-based activity.
The potential damage to the environment is different by over-snow vehicles versus other motor vehicles and should be managed in a way that sustains the public’s natural resources.

6. Will all Forest Service units be required to designate over-snow vehicle use?

No. Because of snow patterns, national forests and grasslands vary significantly in their need to address over-snow vehicle use. Many do not experience enough snowfall to warrant use of these vehicles. Approximately 30 percent of National Forest System lands do not offer sufficient over-snow vehicle recreation opportunities to justify or require regulation of over-snow vehicle use.

7. How is the designation of over-snow vehicle use defined in the proposed rule?

The proposed rule defines the designation of over-snow vehicle use as “designation of a national forest system road, national forest system trail, or area on National Forest System lands where over-snow vehicle use is allowed, restricted, or prohibited pursuant to §212.81 on an over-snow vehicle use map.”

8. Does the proposed rule, if finalized, affect decisions made under the current rule?

Those decisions will not be affected. The proposed rule would maintain existing over-snow vehicle decisions made under other authorities.

9. Does the rule take away valid existing rights held by federally recognized tribal governments, counties, or private individuals, including treaty rights, other statutory rights, or private rights-of-way?

No. Responsible officials will recognize valid existing rights in making designations at the local level.

10.How will the public know where they can use over-snow vehicles?

The proposed rule would give agency units direction on areas where over-snow vehicle use is allowed, restricted, or prohibited on National Forest System lands on an over-snow vehicle use map. A separate use map for over-snow vehicles would eliminate confusion that could occur if over-snow vehicle use information was included on a motor vehicle use map. An over-snow use map provides a simple source of information for the public and the Forest Service official to use. Local Forest Service officials would retain the discretion to manage over-snow vehicle use to address local conditions and to establish restrictions, as appropriate, based on the season of use and other local factors.

11. In the proposed rule are over-snow vehicle use designations made at the same time as other motor vehicle use designations?

In the proposed rule over-snow vehicle use designation-decisions are not required to be made at the same time as other motor vehicle use designations. However, decisions for over-snow use can be made independently or in conjunction with other motor vehicle use decisions.

12.How will the Forest Service pay for over-snow travel planning?

The Forest Service expects to complete route and area designations on all national forests and grasslands through using available funds. A designated system of over-snow vehicle use routes and areas will benefit multiple agency programs, and funding sources will depend on the specific local circumstances. Over-snow travel planning is ongoing today on many national forests. The proposed rule provides a consistent national framework for these efforts. Addressing urgent needs in unmanaged recreation will sometimes delay other agency work, but this will be a local situation. Failure to complete over-snow travel planning would be even more costly in terms of agency expenditures, interruption to recreation by users and damage to the environment.

13.Why does the proposed rule not require an enforceable deadline for route and area designations for over-snow vehicle use?

An enforceable regulatory deadline would subject the Forest Service to legal challenge if, despite its best efforts, the agency is unable to meet the deadline. Cooperative work by responsible officials with state, tribal, county, and municipal governments, user groups, and other interested parties offers the best hope for long-term resolution of issues involving recreational use, including use of over-snow vehicles. An inflexible deadline can make collaborative solutions more difficult. However, the Forest Service shares a strong interest in completing route and area designation.

Contacts:
• Kathryn Sosbe,
public affairs specialist, Office of Communication; 202-205-1778; kgsosbe@fs.fed.us



 

EastTexFrank

Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
I didn't read the whole document but I read enough of it to recognize what it is. Every time that you have weak leadership at the top, those below start to carve out their own empires and increase their spheres of influence. They always have a semi-plausible reason for doing it. When I was working safety and compliance was the big one. Environmental consciousness and the "best use of resources" seems to be the big ones that have been added to the list.

What it really is, is a power grab. A means to increase the workload and thus the size of your department and therefore it's budget. It's really all about power, money and influence.
 

Cidertom

Chionophile
GOLD Site Supporter
I'm taking a different approach to this pending rulemaking.

1; Notice that this was NOT driven by the USFS, it was the result of court action against them.

2; One item I've run into, is according to region 6 USFS, I need to check with EACH ranger district prior to using the cat in their area. This rule will provide a more uniform rule and will allow/ mandate public input into the districts plan, which is not there currently. Currently, use is up the the district ranger and his enforcement personnel.

3; Our lack of participating in the process will only allow the "no use at all" group(s) to have a greater say. We need to be heard, our say needs to be thought out, and we need to be prepared with cooperative ideas and solutions.

I'm not "pro-goverment" but I've learned that working within the system frequently has better long term results than ignoring or even worse, trying to make 'them' the bad guy from the start.

CT
 
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