I get emails from a lovely organization called Bark:
Make sure you let the Forest Service know by Thursday, November 1st that you value quiet recreation opportunities, improved salmon and wildlife habitat, and clean drinking watersheds.The Forest Service's current approach to travel planning is ignoring these larger issues and only focusing on creating six new areas for ATVers, motorbikers and off-road vehicle users totaling 50,000 acres or 4.5% of the forest!
For the past few months, Bark has worked with a coalition and diverse group of concerned citizens to start creating a vision that will lead to a future for Mt. Hood National Forest that balances long-term ecosystem health with diverse opportunities for world-class recreation. The best way to achieve this vision is for the Forest Service to include an alternative proposal that simultaneously addresses the impacts of off-highway vehicle (OHV) use AND the crumbling road system on ecosystem health and all recreation access.
Send a letter to the Forest Service and let them know that you care about the future of the forest go to Bark's travel plan campaign page.
The 2005 Travel Planning Rule requires each national forest to go through a process of designating areas for motor vehicle use. Mt. Hood National Forest has taken a narrow approach and decided to look at just a small population of motor vehicle use -- off-highway vehicles (OHV). Without looking at the larger road system, the Forest Service is missing the opportunity to improve overall ecosystem health and quiet recreational opportunities.
Currently, there is approximately 4,000 miles of roads in the forest with the potential to threaten salmon habitat, drinking watersheds, and wildlife corridors if there is no maintenance. In 1999 the Forest Service determined that 49% of Mt. Hood?s roads are unnecessary (USFS 1999 Mt. Hood ATM), yet less than 10% of the roads have been removed. The remaining 39% is continuing to deteriorate and could collapse at any time. By doing an analysis of the entire forest road system, necessary maintenance issues can be addressed and budgeted in an appropriate manner. Without this necessary data to inform management decisions, the aging road system will continue to cause access and environmental problems.
If you would like to submit more detailed comments to the Forest Service, send them to Jennie O' Connor; Off-Highway Vehicle Managment Team Leader; Mt. Hood National Forest, 6780 HWY 35, Parkdale, OR 97041 or Commentsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Comments are due to the Forest Service by November 1, 2007. Thanks,
Alex P. Brown
P.S. If you'd like more information about our Travel Plan Campaign, please contact our Campaign Coordinator, Deb Wechselblatt, at email@example.com or 503-331-0374.
I know this is Oregon and not quite a national issue, but it is the Forest Service and they are beholden to all of us. Besides, if you've ever seen Mt. Hood, you'd know instantly why it's so amazingly special. There's just something about that mountain!
Please help spread the word!