July 10, 2007

 

Ms. Suzanne Rainville, Forest Supervisor

PO Box 1026

McCall, ID 83638

 

RE: Payette Travel Plan FEIS

 

Dear Ms. Rainville:

 

You asked that I mention in my opening paragraph that you are allowing comments until July 10th, 10 business days from June 25th. A business day is defined as Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM in the local time zone. A business day shall not include any Saturday or Sunday, nor shall a business day include any legal holiday recognized by the state of Idaho as found in Idaho Code 73-108. The first day shall be the day after the date of execution. Thank you for this concession. This did allow time for the Backcountry Recreation Club to meet and review the comments submitted at a scheduled meeting. Therefore, theses comments are being presented by the Backcounty Recreation Club and itsí 150 members.

 

We were very disappointed when we received our copies of the Payette Travel Plan FEIS. The maps for summer travel do not show enough detail and landmarks and roads are poorly identified. The numbering system used on the maps does not match the numbers on the roads or on the old travel maps. The Winter Travel maps in Chapter 2 are beyond inadequate and the maps that were made available on line after publication, if you knew when and where to look for them werenít a big improvement. The written document is not much help for a number of the areas. The document itself describes some of the winter boundaries as ďwill be difficult to find on the ground and are too large to sign effectively.Ē How will the FS enforce such a boundary? There must be clear boundaries and good signage that will be maintained by the Forest Service. I do appreciate the extension you granted us, but we do need more time to comment as so many of our scoping comments were ignored and this document is so poorly prepared. This plan is so poorly crafted that it should be completely scraped and started over again. There is plenty of time to do this process correctly. At a minimum all roads that have been asserted by the counties should be included in the map until the FS can document abandonment of those roads.

 

Table 2-29 page 2-59 describes boundaries under Alternative E as Poor- Moderate. ďThe multiple wildlife closure areas will be difficult to find on the ground and are too large to sign effectively.Ē This is legally non-defensible. How will people honestly trying to honor the boundaries have any change at knowing where they are in relation to the boundaries? Even people very experienced in map reading will have difficulty identifying boundaries using the maps provided. There need to be clearly defined boundaries that are adequately signed. Perhaps you should review the hunting area boundaries described by Idaho Department of Fish and Game. They name streams, etc. so they name streams, etc. so that an area is well described if you can find a map that is adequately detailed. What documentation does the Forest Service have that documents that motorized use in these areas constitutes a problem for the wildlife in the Payette National Forest. Are you just making inference from observational studies conducted in other areas of the country for wildlife that, in some cases, is not even present in the PNF? This is not adequate analysis to close off such large acreages to the public.

 

Some of my friends were send copies of the FEIS with no maps. It was several weeks before they received maps.

 

Trail loop alternative should continue to be addressed and improvements to the system should be considered especially where loops can be created. Alternative E seems to completely ignore the loop trail system suggested by Adams County. The Forest Service should work more closely with Adams County. Commissioner Mike Paradis has worked hard with a very impressive group of people to map, document and present a system of trails that would offer loop alternatives that is supported by the people who ride in Adams County.

 

There is no alternative that considers looking at increasing the number of road and trail miles open to the public although public use is increasing both in the summer and winter. Snowmobile registration fees are increasing $10 per registration this year. This will give us significantly more funds with which to groom trails in the area. An increase in groomed trails should be considered. The Backcounty Recreation Club would like to have a representative on the Winter Recreation Forum. At present we have no representation and they are making decisions about the area we know best. The FS should allow us to name a representative to the Forum.

 

There have been no visitor studies conducted in the preparation of this Travel Plan. The Forest Service must conduct visitor studies before implementing the Travel Plan. We have asked repeatedly for traffic counters on Warren Wagon Road to help document snowmobile use at that trailhead. We have asked for counters at Burgdorf Junction. We were assured in public meetings by Randy Swick several times that this would be done. It hasnít happened yet.

 

The cooperating agencies working with the Forest Service were not in agreement with Alternative E as presented in the FEIS.

 

Most of the IRAís recommended as wilderness have many historic uses that diminish their value as wilderness and make them inappropriate for wilderness designation. Snowmobiles do not diminish any wilderness values. The historic uses in this area are well documented and the Forest Services must consider all the information currently available.

 

The Valley County study regarding the economic impact of winter sports was ignored in the preparation of the Travel Plan. This was a study prepared by the University of Idaho and should be considered by the Forest Service prior to implementing the FEIS.

 

The Forest Plan needs to be amended to show the changes in mileages and maps. The mileages and maps are incorrect in the current Forest Plan.

 

Exclusive use areas for skiers are increased in Alternative E. Snowmobile use is well documented as increasing with your parking lot counts. They are not getting a corresponding increase in areas open for their use. With two thirds of the Payette National Forest closed to all motorized use there is ample acreage already open to skiers that excludes snowmobiles. Opening more areas to snowmobiles will actually allow skiers to follow our tracks or to use snowmobiles to get to areas farther away from crowds. Snowmobilers are the only group losing acreage in Alternative E. This needs to be changed.

 

The Forest Service needs to define ďcollision.Ē Is collision being used to describe accidents such as the two incidents that occurred within the boundaries of Brundage Ski Resort, an area closed to snowmobiles or skiers running across snowmobile tracks? I believe the two accidents at the ski area occurred between ski area employees. Is running through snowmobile tracks being described as a ďcollisionĒ?

 

The Forest Service must identify all historic roads. This is a part of the National Directive. The Forest Service should have to demonstrate proof that any of the roads that may fall under county jurisdiction under RS-2477 have been abandoned before declaring them closed.

 

Native American trails identified in the PNF fit the definition of ďroadĒ under RS-2477. They should be labeled as such and considered under county jurisdiction. None should be closed unless the county abandons their right-of-way.

 

The Northern Rockies Lynx Management Direction FEIS states the following: Nationally, snowmobile use grew 34 percent from 1988 to 1995. The data indicates an upward trend in all states of the planning area (pg 281). This policy directs the FS to maintain a safe, environmentally sound road network that responds to the public needs. In December 2000, the FS proposed designating most of its arterial and collector roads as public roads, which would be open and available to the public on a regular and consistent basis, as defined in 23 U.S. C. 101 (USDA FS 2000b) (page 297). Lynx may tolerate some level of human disturbance. Toad density does not appear to affect lynx habitat selection (LCAS, p.12) (page 297). Many FS roads have heavy public use, and meet the use-and-needs criteria for county or state jurisdiction (page 298). As the population grows and more people look to the outdoors for recreation, traffic may well increase even if roads are not improved, which could increase the potential for accidents (pate 299). The FS may not deny proposed operations or make them impossible by imposing unreasonably restrictive management requirements or conditions (page 305). These reserved and outstanding rights represent the property interests in the land. Although the federal government owns and administers the surface, the mineral owner has certain rights as well. The most important of these is the right to access and develop the minerals. Other rights may be spelled out in individual deeds. The FS must consider these property interests during planning and implementation (page 312). Some private tracts are inholdings, privately owned lands surrounded by federal lands. Inholdings are guaranteed access under ANILCA which says landowners shall be authorized access ďadequate to secure them the reasonable use and enjoyment of their landĒ (26-CFR 251.110(c)) (page 316). By 2015, the population of Idaho is expected to increase 25 percent (page 324). During the next 25 years the West is expected to grow at nearly twice the national average rate. The second trend, common to all states, is the aging of the population. The percent of people under 20 years of age would decrease, and the percent over 65 would increase during the next 30 years. The third trend is the increasing level of participation in outdoor recreation, and the tendency for each succeeding generation during the last century to increase its level of participation (page 325). Areas at this time unoccupied; therefore on these units may consider the management direction but would not have to apply it. The management direction would not have to be applied in these areas until lynx occupy the site (page 348). Small, rural communityís economies depend heavily on natural resources from public lands. Those communities are the places most likely to experience social and economic cumulative effects, such as continued job loss, less labor income, and social well-being (page 344). Forests in Condition Class 2 and 3 are not lynx habitat (page 215). It was also mentioned in this plan that exclusive use areas tend to force the displaced users to seek other areas to recreate and results in the increase in areas where snow is compacted in the National Forest. These statistics and findings must be considered by the FS in the preparation of the Payette Travel Plan.

 

It is interesting to note that the Outdoor Industry Foundation announced that backpacking decreased 23 percent between 1998 and 2005. National Parks, which do not allow motorized recreation, have also seen decreases in visitors. Visitation at Carlsbad Caverns National Park was down 45 percent from 20 years ago. Between 2002 and 2005, Olympic National Park reported a 16 percent decline. Yellowstone use fell 8 percent between 1995 and 2005. The Pacific West Region recorded the steepest drop in visitors with 1.3 million fewer visitors between 2005 and 2006. The Intermountain Region tallied declines in 11 of the past 13 years. Gains in motorized recreation are well documented with the number of snowmobile and ATV riders increasing every year.

 

We have tried repeatedly to work with the Payette National Forestís Adopt a Trail Program. Twice we have invited your representative, Al Becker, to our meetings to speak and explain to us how we can work together and what we can do to adopt trails, maintain, improve and keep them open. Twice he has accepted our request to attend our meeting to start working with us, and twice he has failed to appear. Other times our requests go completely unanswered with no response to phone calls or emails. Is there a written procedure for how we should go about scheduling Mr. Becker? Does he have a preference for non-motorized recreation? Is that why he doesnít attend our meetings? This was brought up in my scoping comments too.

 

Winter Travel

 

The Winter Recreation Committee is a closed (possibly illegal) committee that includes no representative from the Idaho County area covered by this Travel Plan. We are not informed of the time and place of the meetings although we have asked to be included. We have been denied a seat at the table even though we have asked repeatedly to be represented. My name has been suggested as a representative by Pat Holmberg when she was an Idaho County Commissioner in writing several times. Her requests were ignored by Randy Swick and to this day we have no representation. Some of the people I represent as the President of the Backcounty Recreation Club live year around in the Secesh and Warren areas and are dependent on motorized transportation to travel from those areas to McCall.

 

For those users, myself included, who desire a more solitary experience, the changes lessen the quality of our recreational experience. Increasing numbers of people will be using a decreasing area and number of miles of groomed trail. Increased use safety issues associated with using the same trail and areas will arise with the current plan. This should be addressed.

 

The comment was made in the FEIS that no additional snowmobile parking areas are needed. I donít know what this years counts on Francis Wallace Snowmobile Parking Lot indicate, but I know it is at least full most days of the week and vehicles line the road for several miles on most weekends. There were over 400 people in Warren the first Saturday in March. The parking lot was and Warren Wagon Road were past capacity as it is every year at this time. The number of riders going to Warren for the Annual Crab Feed has been growing each year. Although they increased the amount of food they have available this year, they served significantly more people and ran out of crabs. We do not have adequate snowmobile parking areas. The trailhead at Tamarack Falls is also past capacity most weekends.

 

Page 2-4. You are closing all groomed snowmobile routes to standard wheel vehicles designed for snow-free- travel-ways. Warren Wagon Road is a groomed snowmobile route but it is under Valley and Idaho County jurisdictions. While I personally agree that most standard wheel vehicles should not be allowed on groomed snowmobile routes, Valley County will not close routes to those vehicles. It has been their clearly stated position that all people have access to the public rights-of-ways. Pickups and SUVís do create a safety concern when they travel on groomed snowmobile routes. They are much larger than the snowmobiles and they have less than optimal control of the vehicles when they are traveling in deep snow. I have been very concerned when there were regularly used on Warren Wagon Road during the winter. It is not uncommon to see ATVís on the trail especially in the spring. Warren Wagon Road is not plowed until Valley County is able to bring in equipment to remove the last of the snow at Secesh Summit. There are a number of ATVís on the trail before the road is plowed. There are long stretches of bare pavement that will damage snowmobiles. I do not think the USFS has jurisdiction over travel on Warren Wagon Road. The EIS implies that they do and can restrict travel on all groomed snowmobile trails, even those that do not lie on the Payette National Forest. The Travel Plan should indicate which roads are under County jurisdiction and open to all forms of travel.

 

If road are being used as boundaries those roads should be clearly indicated on the map. There should be a written description of the closed area similar to the descriptions used by Idaho Department of Fish and Game when they are describing hunting units. It is not adequate to describe an area as difficult to identify on the ground. Snow covered streams can be difficult to identify in the winter. The FS must improve the maps it will make available to the public. They were certainly no adequate during the comment period. I consider my self an above average map reader. Both winter boundaries were impossible to identify with the maps provided.

 

Alternative C is not the Alternative proposed by the ISSA. The PNF made a number of changes to what was proposed by the ISSA without consulting with them. It is misrepresenting this Alternative to the public.

 

The Forest Service continues to grant permits for yurts in areas that are closed to most snowmobilers but allow the permit holders to supply and access their yurts by snowmobiles. Snowmobile tracks leading into an area lead others to believe the area is open to snowmobiles (especially with the poor quality of the maps regarding closures). The areas should either be open to all motorized use or be entirely closed to motorized use of any kind including snow cats.

 

The definition you are using for over-snow vehicle includes snowcats as well as snowmobiles. Snowcats are as dangerous to snowmobiles are vehicles are on the trails. They are larger than pickups but do have more control of their movements most of the time. All snowcats should be required to have flashing lights, etc. to warn others on the trail of their approach. I belonged to a ski club that had their own snowcat. It is not unthinkable that a club or individual could bring snowcats into this area. This safety concern needs to be addressed. Snowmobile trail grooming occurs mainly at night. The groomers are much more visible at night with their flashing lights. They light up the snow so you are able to tell that something big is coming even around corners. The Brundage cats are not as easy to spot during the day. They are also causing damage and unsafe conditions on the groomed snowmobile trails when they come on and off the trail system. They should be required to have the same flashing lights and should be assessed a fine when they damage to trail to compensate the grooming program for the extra times they have to groom to keep the trails safe. Idaho Statute allows for compensation for damage caused to the groomed snowmobile trail system. The USFS is well aware of the problems caused by the Brundage snowcats to the snowmobile trail system. This has been an ongoing problem and doesnít seem to show any improvement.

 

The snowcats traveling on Warren Wagon Road helped maintain the trail when the County grooming program wasnít doing an adequate job. They were also traveling the section of Warren Wagon Road that was easily wide enough to accommodate the snowcats in a safe manner along with the snowmobile traffic.

 

If the snowcat skiing areas are closed to motorized travel, it should be closed to all motorized travel including snowcats.

 

Table 2-29 page 2-58 is very misleading. You are stating in Alternative C that 27% of the area open to snowmobilers is open to non-motorized over snow use. Areas open to snowmobiles are not closed to non-motorized over snow users. Those areas are open to all users, motorized and non-motorized. 100% of the Payette National Forest is open to non-motorized over snow users when there is snow on the ground. Not all of the areas open for motorized over snow use is suitable for snowmobiling. Two thirds of the Payette National Forest is closed to motorized use. Your numbers are misleading. Some areas are difficult to access on snowmobiles. Some of your closures make it difficult, if not impossible for snowmobilers to access areas that are open to them. Your comments seem to indicate a bias against motorized users of the forest.

 

The Forest Service has been asked to document the collisions they reference in the Travel plan between motorized and non-motorized over snow users of the forest. Please do so in an appendix. This should be easy to accomplish as any collision should be reported to the Sheriffís Department in the area of the collision by law.

 

According to table 2-33 page 2-63 Alternative C poses no measurable effect to potential wilderness. Open the areas currently closed to snowmobilers that the ISSA suggested be open in the Secesh and Needles IRAís.

 

The Winter Travel maps must be at least as detailed as the Summer Travel maps. It is impossible to identify the closure boundaries on the maps. If roads or trails are a part of the boundaries, those roads need to be clearly marked on the map. Most of us try to follow the rules whether or not we agree with them. The Forest Service needs to make it possible for people to identify the boundaries of a closed area. There is no adequate written description of the boundaries of the closed areas to assist people who are trying to determine the boundaries. The Forest Service should include clear written descriptions of any closed areas with easily identifiable boundaries.

 

Snowmobilers enjoy untracked powder snow and the feeling of solitude every bit as much as cross county skiers. Having been a registered downhill ski instructor and a cross county ski instructor I feel I am not overstating that snowmobilers as well as ATV and 2-wheel riders are all looking for that feeling of solitude and being able to enjoy nature away from other people. Our experience is deteriorating as more and more people take up snowmobiling and ATV riding and the number of acres and miles of trails available to us is decreasing. You are citing one personís observations (page S-9) to justify that there is no need in the foreseeable future for additional motorized over-snow areas above and beyond those proposed in the five alternatives. Alternative C includes additional acres not included in Alternative E. The Forest Service should open the areas suggested by ISSA in Alternative C. You analysis shows that there will be no reduction of potential wilderness value in any of the areas that may be considered for their wilderness potential at some time in the future. There is no reason not to open those areas to motorized over-snow travel. I think snowmobilers need more open space that we can ride in so that we can get away from other people. In general these areas are far away from skiers. Many skiers use our tracks to get into an area. Opening more areas to snowmobilers actually increases the accessibility to skiers.

 

Cross country skiers who ski on groomed snowmobile trails are condemning themselves to frustration if they want an experience away from snowmobiles. They need to work to build and maintain their own parking areas in areas separate from the snowmobilers. CIRCís contention that there wasnít a ridge around McCall that you could go to without snowmobilers made sense after they admitted that they were skiing out of snowmobile parking lots. We snowmobilers are more than happy to share. We donít have a conflict with most cross country skiers. We do have a problem with the ones who throw ski poles at us and yell threats and insults while we travel the trails we paid to have groomed from parking lots we rent and maintain. Legislation has finally been passed to raise snowmobile registration fees $10 per snowmobile. We are more than happy to pay our way and to share what we have paid for with civil skiers, snowshoers and dog sledders who pay no fees of any kind to enjoy the same recreational areas. We share the parking lots we pay to plow and the restrooms we maintain in addition to the trails we pay to have groomed. Part of our registration fees go toward funding search and rescue operations throughout the state.

 

If the conflict with some of the cross country skiers continues and/or escalates, the USFS may want to consider requiring cross country skiers to develop their own parking facilities and staying off of groomed snowmobile trails so they are not so emotionally conflicted. Perhaps they should be required to sign a release that acknowledges that they are using trails and parking areas that are maintained at the expense of the snowmobilers and that they shouldconsider themselves non-paying guests. Perhaps we should require everyone on the groomed trail system to have a registration sticker displayed.

 

The Winter Travel maps at the end of Chapter 2 do not show snowmobile grooming at all. There is no way to tell what is open or closed based on the maps and the information provided in the FEIS. The link on your web page from the Map Cover to detail versions of the map does not lead to any maps (as of 5/26/2006). ďPage not foundĒ comes up.

 

The Forest Plan needs to be amended to incorporate the more recent findings regarding potential lynx habitat. Other forests and BLM have updated their plans. It is ridiculous to continue with outdated information. The Travel Plan should be prepared with the best available science.

 

Summer

 

A number of the regulations are contradictory to the Travel Management, Proposed Forest Service Directive, Forest Service Manual 2350, 7700, and 7710 and Forest Service Handbook 7709.55 RIN 0596-AC39 including the change from the DEIS to limit game retrieval and other Forest uses to be achieved on foot only from a designated motorized route. The same limits to off road travel should apply for game retrieval as for dispersed camping. The PNF Travel Plan should be consistent with the National Directive.

 

While the National Directive prohibits indiscriminant off-road/trail travel, it does allow specific areas to be designated for off-road/trail travel. This plan fails to consider this possibility although I did make a suggestion during scoping to keep the area just north of the Secesh Meadows Subdivision #4 open so that kids could safely ride their motorcycles and ATVís off the roads. This should be considered by the Forest Service and not dismissed without comment. This area is away from the Secesh River and is already established. It is heavily used during the summer months. The residents of the subdivision have been supportive of keeping this area open. Keeping this area open was on our agenda for talking with Al Becker prior to scoping, but he didnít show up for our scheduled meeting. Other areas should also be considered for off-trail riding experiences.

 

The large population of wolves in the Payette National Forest makes it imperative that hunters be able to retrieve game as quickly as possible. Hunters in the Warren area have returned to retrieve portions of their elk and have had to chase off the wolves. Wolves have chased cow elk through hunting camps and hunters in the same area. The Forest Service should warn campers camping in the area because packs of wolves have circled and terrorized campers.

 

Not everyone can afford to or wants to keep a horse to retrieve downed game. Wolves and horses are natural enemies. When you walk or ride up to a dead elk with a horse and find wolves at the site, you will have a very spooked horse. This is a safety concern. Wolves have been documented to kill horses. Horses are livestock. Not allowing hunters to retrieve big game with ATVís may increase the number of wolves killed to protect livestock. It will definitely increase the number of hunters and horses injured while retrieving game.

 

Handicapped individuals are allowed to hunt from the road with special permits from Idaho Department of Fish and Game. They may need motorized access to retrieve their game. They are not supposed to shoot their game on the road but they can shoot from the road. The Forest Service should allow hunters motorized access to retrieve game as outlined in the National Travel Planning Directive. Special accommodations may need to be made for handicapped hunters. A growing number of our members fall into this category. This travel plan forces handicapped hunters, hunting with a valid permit that allows them to hunt from the road two alternatives: they can illegally shoot game in the road or they will not be able to retrieve game they have shot off the road. The FS must take this into consideration and should allow all hunters access to retrieve game with the necessary means. You are encouraging hunting near the road and the number of accidents will increase it more people are hunting in a more concentrated area. The FS should encourage more a more dispersed hunting experience which means the FS must consider keeping more roads open and allowing for motorized retrieval of game. Is there a directive on the use of motorized winches to retrieve game?

 

We would like to invite you to attend our meetings. You might be surprised at our membership. Many of us are over 50. We are not looking for ďextremeĒ riding experiences. We are looking for trails we can ride out ATVís on during the summer months, sometimes clearing them so we can come back and ride them on our snowmobiles in the winter. We have some members who are looking for more challenging rides, but at this time, they are looking for other areas that will offer them the type of riding experience that will no longer be available in the Payette National Forest with no provisions for areas to ride off trail and the closing of more and more trails.

 

The National Travel Planning Directive came out for comment with wording that indicated that retrieval of game and dispersed camping would be allowed 300 feet from roads and 100 feet from trails on FS system roads. What happens with the county roads within the PNF? Will they be treated differently? This needs to be addressed in the Travel Plan.

 

Roads and motorized trails that were not included in the DEIS that were proposed for consideration in this Travel Plan were not addressed. You did not address reevaluating 2-wheel trails for their suitability as ATV trails. Many of the existing trails were designated as 2-wheel motorized trails because, at the time of their designation, there were almost no ATVís being used for recreational purposes. Many of the 2-wheel trails are very suitable for ATV travel.

 

You have not adequately defined OHVís. There is a new class of OHV that is larger than an ATV and seats two passengers, side-by-side, but that is not as large as a jeep.

 

There are 360 miles of roads that have recently been transferred to Valley County by FERTA easements. Indicate those roads on the Travel Plan maps. There are additional miles of roads that have been transferred to Adams and Idaho Counties. All of those roads should also be open in the winter to over snow vehicles. The roads may not all be groomed as trails, but certainly they should be marked on the maps as routes open to travel even through areas that are closed. The Forest Service no longer has jurisdiction over travel over those roads.

 

There are now estimated to be 100,000 registered ATVís in Idaho compared to 10,000 a decade ago. This is no time to decrease available trail miles. You have basically eliminated all off road/trail travel except for dispersed camping. The National Directive allows for designation of areas for motorized off road/trail travel. You have not considered any areas at all in Alternative E. The FS should consider areas appropriate for motorized off road/trail travel. The Travel Plan will not be complete without such areas provided for the public.

 

The Forest Service needs to rethink its policy regarding handicapped access. Many of us are not so handicapped as to require wheel chairs at this time, but our ability to travel on foot has been decreasing as we age. Some of us, me included, have been told by our doctors that we will be restricted to a wheelchair at some time in the future because of chronic injuries. After spending most of my life hiking trails, skiing, backpacking and snowmobiling that is worse than a death sentence with the attitude of the Forest Service regarding motorized access.

 

No roads or trails should be reclaimed unless RS-2477 assertions have been resolved. The Sheep Creek Road reclamation project was an environmental disaster. No further reclamations should be started unless the USFS can prove that this wonít occur again.

 

Regarding RS-2477 county road assertions: The Payette National Forest is in possession of road record dating back to Idahoís receiving Territorial status. You have Forest Service maps from the early 1900ís that show roads that were not developed by the Forest Service but were in existence when you took over the land and the maps that predate the forest reservations. Do you have records of any of these rights-of-ways being abandoned? If not, you should recognize the roads as being under the jurisdiction of the counties. You have copies of the historic postal routes which the Office of the General Council has stated are public rights-of-ways.

 

The Backcountry Recreation Club would like to extend our offer to work with the Payette National Forest to open and maintain trails in the Burgdorf/Secesh/Warren area. Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation has assured us that there is money and equipment to help us maintain and establish trails. The summer population in our area is growing and some of the trails are becoming crowded at times. Many of the roads and trails in our area go to mines that have been in existences for over 100 years. They are well established routes and are very stable. We will work with you if changes need to be made to maintain a trail or road so that we can continue to travel in that area. Most of our members are over 50. We are very concerned about continued access in the area due to our age.

 

The FS should upgrade as many trails as is possible to ATV travel. We are an aging and growing population. While backpacker numbers have been going down, ATV riding has been increasing. This area is especially meaningful to many of us because of its historic value. We are not only able to enjoy riding in the forest but we are able to see sites that played a part in Idaho history. There are very few mining districts that carry the ďHistoricĒ designation. Warren in one of them. It is important to maintain access so that people can visit there historic sites. All of the roads asserted by Idaho, Valley and Adams Counties should be left open to travel. Many of the roads were in place even before Idaho became a Territory. You have copies of the Idaho Territorial Road records. It is well documented that there were many roads in place even before statehood. These roads have been in place and in use since that time. The FS should keep roads open, not work to close them. The FS must consider what the local community wants and needs.

 

The FS must reevaluate all 2-wheel motorized trails for their suitability for use by ATVís. If specific changes need to be made in specific sections of trails to accommodate this upgrade those should be documented and the local clubs should be approached to help prioritize and work together to improve those sections so that ATVís can ride on those trails. Our funds are limited as are yours, but we can obtain equipment and funds from Parks and Recreation and our members to make necessary improvements in cooperation with the Forest Service.

 

 

MA Ė 1-6

 

We support Adams Countyís proposals for roads, trails and winter recreation.

 

Keep the Rankin Mill road open as agreed to with and in cooperation with Adams County.

 

MA-3

 

We support the opening of the Old Hitt Mountain Ski Area to motorized use. This will also benefit non-motorized users of the area by making it more easily accessible.

 

The trail to Fall Creek Parking lot is a part of the groomed snowmobile trail route under MOU. It passes through an area that is labeled as closed to motorized over snow access. This trail should be clearly indicated on the Winter Travel Plan map and in the FEIS and open to motorized over snow travel. This route is under Adams County jurisdiction under a FERTA easement.

 

MA-6

 

IF we follow the logic in preparing this Travel Plan Brundage Resort and the Brundage Mountain Cat Skiing program should be shut down to avoid possible conflicts with wolverines. They are operating in the main corridor of wolverine travel and their snowcats are much larger and louder than the snowmobiles. They are less dispersed than snowmobilers and constitute a larger threat if there are indeed any dens in the area. It is my understanding that the most recent wolverine sighting in the Payette National Forest occurred in Brundage Ski Area. Perhaps people do not constitute a real problem to wolverines if they are being sighted in such high use areas. If areas are closed to snowmobilers they must also be closed to non-motorized over snow users of the area as they create no less a threat to wolverines according to the literature.

 

There is no biological justification for closing Patrick Butte, Hazard Creek, Granite Mountain or Slab Butte to motorized over snow travel. The FS should keep these areas open. They are heavily used by snowmobilers and have been for many years. Snowmobile use in this area predates the Brundage Cat Skiing program by many years. They chose to operate in an area with regular snowmobile use. They shouldnít be trying to block the established users from this area. Creating exclusive use areas just leads to more snow compaction as excluded users have to travel farther to find snow to play in.

 

MA-6 and 7

 

Slab Butte/76 is immediately adjacent to the Brundage Ski area, one of the most heavily used areas within the Payette National Forest. Keep this area open. It is a relatively small area but is heavily used by snowmobilers and presents a unique riding opportunity relatively close to the trailhead. Riders in this area rarely include a ride to Warren in those daysí activities. It is hard to compare an area a few miles from a trail head to an area that is over 45 trail miles away from the nearest trailhead. Riding in the Warren area almost requires an overnight stay. It does require more than one tank of fuel. I maintain the only regularly updated web page snowmobile groomer report for snowmobilers in this area. I frequently receive emails and calls from skiers who want to ride the lifts from Brundage and ski over the hill using the groomed snowmobile trails for travel. They tell me that they like the experience of getting away from the ski area but are not experienced enough powder skiers to ski without the trails and tracks of snowmobiles. They like the snowmobilers and are frequently given rides to help them get to terrain they might not be able to access on their own power. Setting up more exclusive use areas for skiers will just force snowmobilers to travel farther. The number of snowmobilers using this area far outweighs the number of skiers. The parking area in Bear Basin should help them access an area that they have been accessing from the parking lots we maintain. They must travel across groomed snowmobile trails in order to access this area.

 

MA-7

 

The Crestline South closure is poorly defined on the maps. Are there roads that define some of the boundaries? If so, those should be clearly indicated on the maps. There is steady snowmobile activity in this area. This small closure will make it much more difficult for some riders to travel their customary routes to the lakes along the Crestline Trail and to get to the Yellow Pine area. This area should remain open to motorized over snow travel. This is an essential route to Box Lake and several other lakes in that area. There is one pilot who will attest to the fact that his life was saved by snowmobilers playing in the Box Lake area following his plane crash. This area is regularly used by snowmobilers. If safety is really a concern this should be taken into consideration.

 

Is this area being closed to accommodate a yurt skiing operation? Wonít this operation be using snowmobiles to maintain and supply their operation. Allowing them to establish snowmobile trails into an area will draw additional snowmobilers into the area. Most canít read maps well. It is more difficult to identify some landmarks and signs in the snow as they are covered over and make precise map reading more of a challenge.

 

Some of us purchased our homes in this area so that we could have access to snowmobiling areas without having to trailer our sleds to already overcrowded parking areas. This is not a small matter to us. You have no idea of how many people are looking for the snowmobiling experience that used to be available in Yellowstone. You could park your vehicle in West Yellowstone, unload your snowmobile, ride it to restaurants, museums and stores in town and ride to the trail heads from you motel without having to load back up and drive to a trail head. I get numerous requests each year asking where they can stay in this area for the same sort of experience. McCall has started to recognize the importance of snowmobilers on their economy and is becoming a more snowmobiler friendly town. Accommodation Services has rentals available that are snowmobiler friendly. The Forest Service must look at expanding trails and increasing the number of parking areas available. The Price Valley Parking Lot was a good example of how to drag out the process without trying to find compromises. The Adams County snowmobilers worked hard to establish that parking area and the FS worked hard to drag out the process as long as possible.

 

Take one look at the area above Upper Payette Lake during the winter and you will see that there is no spare powder snow in that area. You have to show up early following a storm in order to make ďfirst track.Ē Iíve skied with friends on the ski patrol in order to be first up the lifts and to get a chance at fresh powder snow. I canít ski any more following ankle surgery and nerve damage, but I can come close to that feeling on a snowmobile. Some days it breaks my heart to see all that untracked powder snow and not to be able to ski. It shouldnít be closed off to snowmobilers for the benefit of a handful of cross country skiers.

 

Squaw Point should be open to snowmobilers. I have yet to see a skier in that area although I have often seen snowmobiles crossing through the area, usually at night. Getting to that area generally involves using a snowmobile to get that far from the trailhead. Those individuals arenít that averse to the use of snowmobiles. It is difficult to maintain signs in that area. There are no signs from the back side of the area letting snowmobilers know that they area crossing into a closed area. I have not seen snowmobilers crossing into the area from the road, but snowmobilers coming through the area from the back. These small closures of especially desirable areas of powder snow create opportunities for conflicts. This area is ideally suited to off trail snowmobiling.

 

The FS should keep 7-5 and 7-6 open to ATV travel. The FS should also keep 11-22 open to ATV travel as it continues on from 7-6.

 

MA-8

 

The Jughandle closure area should be amended to allow access from Louie Lake along the road that continues up to Boulder Lake and trail 103 that follows Round Creek. This route is frequently used by snowmobilers. Most of the cross country skiers are access this closed area by following snowmobile tracks up to the area. The Forest Service should open this area including and north of the trail that passes by Louie Lake. You arenít able to enforce this now. Why not make a reasonable boundary that is identifiable and practical. Apparently this was supposed to be the boundary in earlier agreements but was incorrectly identified on the map.

 

MA-10

 

10-3

 

The Warren Highlands area should be open. It has great terrain for snowmobiling and offers great opportunities for getting away from the crowds. Since this area is over 40 trail miles away from the trailhead it is almost exclusively used by people who spend the night in Secesh or Warren. This does help the local economy. While Warren and Secesh area in Idaho County, the businesses purchase almost all their supplies from Valley and Adams Counties.

 

The Chimney Rock area north of Secesh Meadows Subdivision should remain open to snowmobile travel.

 

The Marshall Meadows area should not be closed to over snow travel. The FS should keep this area open. This closure was not included in the DEIS. The Marshal Meadows area is regularly used by snowmobilers. My friends and I travel frequently to War Eagle Lookout and California Lake on our snowmobiles. I have been doing this since the 1980ís. The elevation in this area is well above 6,000í. Most of it is above 7,000. There are always other snowmobilers and tracks in the area. Much of this area was deforested by the 2000 Burgdorf Burn. It is a great place to go to enjoy fresh powder, get away from the crowds and it provides a wide range of terrain from the existing road beds to slopes for the more adventurous riders. Do not close this area. Many of the roads in this area were asserted by Idaho County and are public rights-of-ways.

 

Access to the area around War Eagle Lookout can be critical during the winter months. It is one of the few areas where cell phones work. The land phone system in Secesh/Warren doesnít work many days at a time and it can be critical to be able to go to War Eagle to make phone calls.This is a public health/safety concern. The Burgdorf Fire of 2000 burned through this area. It will not be suitable lynx habitat for at least 20 years. The Forest Plan must be updated regarding potential lynx habitat. 30% of the Payette National Forest burned in the 1990ís. Most of this area will not be potential lynx habitat for many years especially since almost none of the area was replanted after the fires.

 

Where is your documentation regarding wolverine denning in the PNF? Page 3-234 ďThe Payette does not know of any actual wolverine denning sites, but if any were found they would be specifically protected.Ē People do not disrupt wolverine travel corridors.

 

According to Jeff Copeland at the Forest Service Experiment station in Missoula, ďNothing in the literature indicated snowmobiles are a barrier to wolverine movement. There is no correlation between snowmobiles and wolverine displacement.Ē

 

This area has been used by people since the 1860ís and there is much evidence of Native American use of the area prior to that. Idaho County has a FERTA easement on Grouse Creek Road. This road will be cut off by your closure as well as the road to the historic Humbolt Mine and the road into the Marshall Mining District. The boundaries are not well defined on your maps or in the FEIS. There are no clear geographical boundaries. Closure of this area will be impossible to enforce. Your description of the area states that it is difficult to identify on the ground. If the PNF is not able to write a clear description of the boundaries how are we expected to stay out of the area? It will be impossible for you to maintain signs in the area. The FSís experience in the Squaw Meadows closure should be adequate to document that.

 

33% of the potential wolverine denning habitat in the Payette National Forest is in the Wilderness area. The remaining potential denning habitat is very widespread. Wolverines are not an endangered species. It is unreasonable to discriminate against snowmobilers by locking them out of areas. Cross country skiers will still be able to snowmobile up to the closed areas and ski into them. Cross country skiers are as much a threat to wolverine denning as snowmobilers.

 

Leland and Betty Cavner, owners of the Backcounty Bed and Breakfast in Warren reports that almost all of their guests who stay more than one night ride their snowmobiles to War Eagle Lookout and California Lake. Closing this area will create an economic hardship for them. You have not documented the economic effect of this proposal. It will not be non-significant.

 

Trail grooming in the Warren area extends to Warren Summit. It needs to go to that point as there is a large landing at the summit that is used by the groomers to turn around. Warren Wagon Road is under Idaho County jurisdiction in this area. It should be shown on the maps and be included in the MOU. It has been groomed regularly for many years.

 

The FS should keep the road open to ATVís that leaves the road to California Lake in T23N R5E Sec 14 and travels north to Union Lake open so that people can continue to fish, pick berries and mushrooms, etc. in that area. Idaho County asserted this road under RS-2477.

 

Rachael Applegate, daughter of Reverend and Mrs. Samuel Applegate, was buried along the road above Warren Creek in 1863. Her family visits the grave site regularly. The road still exists that passes the grave site. I asked that this road be included during the scoping period.The Forest Service should keep this road open as it is used regularly and has been in existence since before 1863. It should be at least an ATV trail. The road begins at the Warren Transfer Station (which should also be included on the Travel Plan as it is used by motorized vehicles) and travels uphill past Theodoreís Tree. The grave site is below the trail and above Warren Creek. You will see a pile of rocks that have been spray painted orange on the other side of the creek that will help you line up with the grave site. The grave is well maintained and marked. This road continues past the grave and connects with the road that follows Houston Creek. The Forest Service must keep this road open as a public ROW. It was asserted by Idaho County. Closing it will deny the aging family members and the public access to this grave site. Please feel free to contact me if you need additional directions to this road.

 

The road through the dredge ponds NW of Warren that starts in T23N R6E should be shown on the map. It is a part of the public right of way that extends to the Salmon River. This route has been in use and is well documented from the 1860ís, there are cabins on the north end of this section and several patented mining claims. It is a long established public right-of-way and was asserted by Idaho County. It continues as a road north of the dredge ponds and should be open to 4 wheel drive travel.

 

The FS should leave the road open to vehicles that leaves Warren at the Put & Take building and travels north to Bemis Point, Brownís Mountain, where there is cell phone signal availability, and ties into Burgdorf Summit. There are a number of old mining cabins along this road, a pioneer womanís grave from the 1800ís, etc. in this area. This is an important route to the people who frequent this area. It has been important to access this area during several search and rescue operations. There are good lines of sight so that people can be spotter, radio and cell phone communication can be maintained. The presence of the grave is good documentation that this route has been in use prior to the FS reservation of the land. We love this area not just because of its natural beauty, but because of the history that is here. The FS should work to keep these historic sites available to the public, not close our roads.

 

When you put small backcounty businesses out of business with closures you are compromising public safety. We in Secesh feel the closure of the Stage Stop acutely. With no business open in the area people donít know where to go when there is a fire or an accident in the Secesh Meadow area. The Winter Inn and Backcounty Bed and Breakfast provide known places to go if a fire starts in Warren area or someone is injured or lost. Without these businesses you either have to know who is in the area at the time and might be able to provide help or go cabin to cabin until you are able to find someone who can help. The phone systems are unreliable in this area and not everyone has a phone. Cell phones do not work in most of the area beyond Secesh Summit.

 

10-10 This road was the route to the post office in the Marshall Mining area. It has not been abandoned by the County. It gives us access to the SalmonRiver and could prove to be an important egress in the event of a forest fire. The FS should leave this road open to 4 wheel drive traffic and improve it if there are problems.

 

The FS must put the road that begins in T22N R6E Sec 14 on the map and keep it open to the public. Iíve driven that road in a car. It goes past the Bear Track Mine and several other mining claims including Big Swede, Beaver Tail, Eager Beaver, Calumont, Little Sottie and the Golden Star. It was asserted by Idaho County, has been actively in use and leads to valid mining claims. It is used by campers seeking a dispersed camp site and hunters in addition to the people maintaining their mining claims in the area. The most northern section of this road was blocked off by the FS. This should be re-opened to ATVís which have always by-passed the barriers. This would improve safety. It allows and escape route from this area back to Warren Summit. The FS tore down the cabin that belonged to the Chinese overseer that was on the Eager Beaver Mine. Please stop destroying historic private property. You are worse than the vandals that come to Warren and steal souvenirs from private property. It is a part of the Historic Tailholt Trail.

 

The FS should keep the entire Historic Tailholt Trail open to motorized travel. This historic trail starts in Warren, passes through the old Unity Mill site with the new copper roof and on to the Pony Meadows road. It continues down the road to the Bear Track Mine and goes South to Pony Meadows at the mine and ties into the Steamboat Trail and Wangdoodle Trail on its way to Yellow Pine. The FS should keep this entire trail open to ATV travel from Warren to Yellow Pine. This is a very important route for fire suppression. Idaho and Valley County have asserted this route.

 

The FS should keep the Knot Hole road 50370 open to all motorized travel.

 

The FS should keep the White Monument Road open to all motorized travel. This road starts east of the Backcountry Bed and Breakfast in Warren and travels north. It ties into the road to Governor Wileyís cabin site which was asserted by Idaho County. This is an important firewood cutting area. The road is suitable for travel by pickup truck and some cars.

 

The FS should keep the road open to the Warren Transfer Site. It is not shown on the map. This oversight should not be used to close the garbage collection site.

 

The FS should keep the road that starts across from the Warren Transfer Site south to Charlie Bluntís old mine and ties into Warren Wagon Road 2 miles west in Sec 2 and 3 open to all motorized transportation.

 

The road that continues south from Pony Meadows Road FS 359 to Deer should be left open to ATV travel. It was upgraded to a vehicle road when it was used to fight a fire some years ago. The FS should restore this road to a trail and allow it to tie into the road that runs down the South Fork. One culvert needs to be replaced and some dirt work done to keep this road open.

 

The road that goes north from Warren Wagon Road in T22N R7E Sec 20 should remain open to the public. It was asserted by Idaho County and leads to the site of Governor Wileyís cabin and mining claims. The FS tore down the cabin several years ago, but this is still an important historic site frequently visited by those of us who are interested in the history of the area and have a fondness for these historic sites. Please do not tear down any more of the historic cabins in the area.

 

The road that leaves FS30 in T22N R 6E Sec 9 should remain open to ATVís it is an access road to the Luck Ben Mine and also accesses another currently active mine at the head of Halls Gulch and another mine in Section 15. The road could be continued up Smith Creek from Warren by cutting downfall trees on Smiths Creek. This would make a nice loop from Warren to Steamboat Creek through the heart of the Warren Historic Mining District.

 

The road that leaves FS355 in T22N R7E Sec4 and travels to the west should remain open. I believe Idaho County meant to assert this road but it may have been poorly marked on the map they submitted. It leads to active mining claims and creates a loop with the road that follows Slaughter Creek.

 

The trail that leaves Warren Wagon Road in T22N R6E Sec 11 and goes through the Little Giant Mine is part of the historic Tailholt Trail. It is suitable for ATV travel. That road was asserted by Idaho County and ties in with several other trails, also asserted by Idaho County. It ties into the road to Pony Meadows FS359 and provides a loop trail experience. It ties several active and historic mining claims together. It has been in use since the 1860ís.

 

The FS should leave all the roads open in the Historic Mining District. These routes are a part of our history and the FS should not close or destroy these roads.

 

The FS should keep the road open that runs from the road that starts in the dredge ponds NW of Warren. This road starts at the first dredge pond and travels SW to the head of Stratton Creek. It is suitable for some cars. It runs roughly from T22N R6E Sec 3 to T23 N R6E Sec 28.

 

The road that leaves Warren Wagon Road in T22N R6E Sec 11 and follows Smith Creekinto Sec 15 should be left open. It was asserted by Idaho County and leads to some of the oldest mines in the Historic Warren Mining District. There is a fine example of Chinese mining methods and tailings near the end of the road. The historic Goodenough mine is also accessible from this route. Please leave these roads open and on the maps so that we can continue to enjoy our history at the ground level. To many of us being able to ride to these areas is the only way we can travel and it means more to us than just a ride down the trail. We look on in awe at what was done with so little in the 1800ís and marvel at the lives the people who came before us must have led.

 

10-2 Steamboat Ridge Ė Idaho County Asserted the northern portion of this road, Valley County the southern. This road should remain open to ATV travel.

 

10-3 This road was asserted by Idaho County and should remain open to ATV travel. The FS relocated portions of this road during the Burgdorf Fire. This road should be relocated around wet areas more closely aligning it with it original route and remain open to ATV travel.

 

10-4 This road provides access to Republican Flats. It was asserted by Idaho County and should remain open to ATV travel.

 

The FS should keep 130 open to ATV travel.

 

The road to the historic Humbolt mine should be included on the map and open to the public as a public right-of-way. That road can be driven in a vehicle.

 

 

MA-11

 

11-1 In the Burgdorf Road Management and Abandoned Mine Reclamation Environmental Assessment this trail was slated for conversion to an ATV trail. This trail should remain open to ATV travel.

 

11-2 This road should remain open to ATV travel. There is heavy motorized recreational use thoughout MA 11. The FS should work to keep all roads in this MA open and improve roads where necessary.

 

11-3 This road should remain open to ATVís. It provides a potential dispersed campsite or picnic spot.

 

11-4 This road should be open to all vehicles. It provides access to dispersed camping and picnic areas as well as a loop trail.

 

11-5 This road should be open to all vehicles. It provides access to dispersed camping and picnic areas as well as a loop trail.

 

11-6 This road should be open to all vehicles. It provides access to dispersed camping and picnic areas as well as a loop trail.

 

11-7 This road should be open to all vehicles. It provides access to the Ruby Meadows trail head and provides parking area for vehicles unloading bicycles, ATVís, etc.

 

11-8a and b These roads should remain open to ATV travel. It provides a year around trail and allows for side trips on off the trail to Loon Lake. This is an area with a great deal of Chinese mining history.

 

11-10a and b These are a heavily used trails. Relocate the wet sections but keep the trail open to ATVís. This is an area with a great deal of Chinese mining history and is valuable to rockhounds. Itís a great area to bring kids to as it is easy to find semi precious stones on the surface or with little disturbance of the soil in the old mined areas.

 

11-11 Keep this road open to ATVís. Reroute it around the wet area.

 

11-18 Keep this stub open to all vehicles. It allows access to a dispersed campsite and picnic area.

 

11-19 Keep this stub open to all vehicles. It allows access to a dispersed campsite and picnic area.

 

11-20 Keep this stub open to all vehicles. It allows access to a dispersed campsite and picnic area.

 

11-23 Keep this stub open to all vehicles. It allows access to a dispersed campsite and picnic area.

 

Bear Pete should not be closed to snowmobiles. There is a lookout in that area that is frequently visited by snowmobilers. This area is used by a few snowmobilers on a regular basis. It is an area that is far from the crowds and is a nice place to go when you are looking for a more solitary experience. There are a number of trails that can be followed to pass through the area. Leaving this area open will allow a better experience for the snowmobilers that do ride in the area. It will not see a lot of use. It will be almost impossible to patrol, identify or enforce closure of this area. Do not close this area. There are no wolverine dens or lynx in this area. There is a radio repeater up there that may need to be accessed.

 

Keep the Flat Creek Road open to all motorized travel. It leaves FS325 in T22N R 5E Sec 3 and continues out to several mining claims in Sec 5. I have talked with a FS Fisheries Biologist who has said that stream bed could be hardened to accommodate travel. It is a great area to cut fire wood off the main roads, mushroom hunt in the spring and could be important for fire suppression again. There is a great site for picnicking at the mining claims. The creek runs through at the bottom and the water collected in the mine exploration area provides water for birds and wildlife. It is a great setting for a family picnic. This area provides solitude, wildlife, beautiful scenery and a bit of shade. Please keep this road open. There are many people who access this area frequently with their ATVís. It is suitable for access by pickup for firewood cutting. It is very important to members of the Backcounty Recreation Club. There are many mining claims in this area.

 

The FS should keep the road that leaves Grouse Creek Road (FS325) in T3N R5E in Sec 34 or 33 and travels west into Sec 33. It leads to an old mine site. It provides easy access to some firewood cutting not on the main road.

 

The FS should keep the road that leaves Grouse Creek Road in T23N R5E Sec 27 and travels north to an old mine site in Sec 22. This provides easy access to this historic site and to easy firewood cutting.

 

The FS should keep the road that leaves the road to California Lake in T23N R 5E Sec 22 and travels south between two pond and on into an old miners cabin and claim open to ATV travel. This road provides several great dispersed campsites, berry and mushroom picking areas and an opportunity to see a cabin that was used by miners. You should replace the roof that you removed in order to preserve the cabin for as long as possible. Sand Creek is on the far side of the ridge from the road and cabin.

 

The FS should upgrade the road from Chinook Campground to Loon Lake to an ATV trail. This route was asserted by Idaho County and continues into Valley County to Lick Creek Road. The entire trail should accommodate ATVís.

 

The FS should upgrade the trail from Ruby Meadows Trailhead to Loon Lake to accommodate ATVís for its entire length. This is a historic mining area. It offers great rock hounding opportunities for children of all ages as well as a loop riding opportunity.

 

The FS should keep all roads and trails in this historic mining area open. Riders are increasing in this area every year and it is getting harder to find areas to ride where you donít see other people all the time. The FS must take into consideration that use is increasing and the least expensive way to accommodate the users is by keeping existing roads and trails open while working to find other suitable routes that can also be added to the existing road and trail system. Overuse will increase the amount of maintenance on existing roads and trails. Spend more money on road and trail maintenance and none on road and trail obliteration.

 

MA-12

 

While not all of the acreage in Alternative C is usable to snowmobilers, the amount that is usable is substantial. Snowmobilers are allowed road access on Lick Creek Road but Alternative E closes everything off the road to snowmobiles. The Forest Service should open the area off the road to snowmobilers. It is easily accessible from McCall. Closure of the Lick Creek Summit area is unnecessary. The only skiers that will access this area will be traveling on snowmobiles. If anything, this might serve to increase the amount of snowmobile traffic I this area. Your closures in this area make it impossible to access the Crestline area from Lick Creek Road. This, in effect, closes all of the Lick Creek drainage to snowmobiles. Some snowmobilers, myself included purchased property in the area on the east side of Payette Lake specifically because it allows us access to that area without having to trailer on some days. Part of Lick Creek Road was groomed in the 1980ís. East Lake Road was frequently used by snowmobilers. Today there are more homes and more traffic on the roads in that area. This makes it all the more important to keep the routes off the roads open to snowmobilers.

 

The FS should repair and update the display at Hayes Station. This is a popular area for people to ride to and hike around through the terraced areas and visit the ďhouseĒ dug in the ground.

 

12-2 This road has been in place since the 1860ís. It is a part of the route used in 1879 during the Sheepeater Campaign. The property owner is willing to work with you to improve/repair the road where necessary. Work with him. Donít create more barriers to someone who wants to work to keep the road open. Valley County has asserted this ROW. You are hindering travel to private property on a historical route.

 

12-3 This route ties into a trail system in a popular riding area. The FS should keep this trail open to ATV travel. There are clubs in the area that would work with the FS to improve this trail.

 

12-4 The FS should keep this trail open to ATV travel. It does see frequent use.

 

12-5 The FS should keep this trail open to ATV travel. It does see frequent use. The trails in this area offer great riding opportunities with loop potential and should be improved to provide loop riding opportunities and access to Blackmare Lake. There are a number of lakes in the area that offer solitude to the ATV rider and fisherman.

 

12-6 The FS should keep this trail open to ATV use.

 

The FS should improve the trail to Blackmare Lake to allow ATV travel.

 

There are many contradictions in this EIS. Page 2-45, the written portion states that Proposal 12-7, Alternative E will, ďretain this trail as a two-wheel motorized trail,Ē as do Proposals 12-8 and 12-12. The grid shows that all three of these will be non-motorized.

We are assuming that the written portion is correct and it was put into the grid incorrectly. The FS should keep trails addressed in Proposals 12-7, 12-8 and 12-12 open to 2-wheel motorized travel at a minimum along with trails 12-9, 12-10, 12-11 and 12-21. There was good rational presented in the FEIS to support keeping these trails open to motorized travel.

 

12-13, 12-15, 12-16, and 12-22 The FS should keep this group of trails open to ATV travel. These are popular routes.

 

12-17a and b should remain open to all vehicles. You map does not indicate which section is a or b. This road is a part of the historic route through the area.

 

See Comments in MA 10 regarding the historic Tailholt Trail from Warren to Yellow Pine.

 

The Forest Service should review all of the trails to determine their suitability as ATV trails. Road 50673 should remain open as a road.

 

You really ought to reevaluate the road that leads to Smith Knob. It is great for ATV travel, can accommodate a full sized pickup or car, but it is not suitable for 4 horse trailers. The FS should develop a category that suggests some roads are not suitable for travel with trailers. Perhaps at least some people will scout the road before they bring a large trailer in and have problems.

 

This area is no more suitable for Wilderness designation than the Chamberlain Mining Basin was. There is a long history of mining, ranching, farming, and travel throughout this area that dates back to the 1800ís. This was a very active area economically prior to the FS reservation of the remaining land. Closing roads and mines is adversely affecting the economy of the area and the ability of the people to use the land that belongs to us.

 

MA-13

 

Do not increase the closures in the Big Creek area. This will be devastating to the local economy and economic impact must be taken into consideration. The Counties agreed to the option in Alternative C. If you increase the closure area you must complete an economic analysis of the impact before you can consider the closure in Alternative E. This is not closing 1% more in this area. This is closing 99% more. Closing the Big Creek area will also have a serious economic impact on Yellow Pine. This area must remain open. It is not always possible to stay within a road bed in the winter. Snow slides from above and is blown by the wind and it becomes difficult to determine exactly where the road bed is.Sometimes the road bed is less safe to travel than other routes across snow.

 

Sincerely,

Becky Johnstone

President

Backcounty Recreation Club

 

 

CC:

 

Idaho State Snowmobile Association (SAWS member)
Sandra Mitchell
Email: smitchel@alscott.com
Phone: 1.888.342.6976 or 424.3870
http://www.idahosnowbiz.com/
 

Idaho State Parks and Recreation (Also on ID team)

Contact: Todd Wernex

Email: twernex@idpr.state.id.us

Phone: 208-514-2413

 

Adams County Idaho

Contact: Commissioner Mike Paradis

Email: mjpara@ctcweb.net

 

Valley County Idaho

Contact: Gordon Cruickshank

Email: glc55@cwomc.com

Phone: 208-634-2490

 

Senator Lee Heinrich

Idaho State Senate

Legislative District 8(District includes Valley & Idaho County, which are affected Plan)  

Contact: Lee Heinrich

Email: brelee@frontiernet.net

Phone: 208-382-3244 or 208-271-6243

 

Blue Ribbon Coalition
http://www.sharetrails.org/

 

Senator Larry Craig, dustin_miller@craig.senate.gov

Senator Mike Crapo, Layne_Bangerter@crapo.senate.gov

Congressman Bill Sali, lisa.tanner@mail.house.gov  & Vince.Moreno@mail.house.gov

Governor Butch Otter, jmalmen@gov.idaho.gov

Valley County Board of County Commissioners, abanbury@co.valley.id.us,

Adams County Board of County Commissioners, sward@co.adams.id.us,

Washington County Board of County Commissioners, rlmink@ruralnetwork.net

Idaho County Board of County Commissioners, rgehring@idahocounty.org

SBA/Office of Advocacy - advocacy@sba.gov  

CEQ/NEPA - Horst_Greczmiel@ceq.eop.gov 

Mountain States Legal, Steve Lechner, lechner@mountainstateslegal.com†††