The Pike and San Isabel National Forests recently released the final environmental impact statement and draft record of decision for its motorized travel management analysis.
The pre-decisional objection period will end Dec. 21 while the amendment’s objection period will end Jan. 5.
The purpose of the analysis is to provide a system of roads, trails and areas for motor vehicle use defined by class of vehicle and time of year.
Out of five alternatives, the Forest Service selected alternative C as its preferred alternative, which “emphasizes safe, efficient and environmentally sound transportation,” according to the draft record of decision.
“That alternative is best at balancing the needs of different uses and seemed to accomplish goals that are consistent with the forest plan,” Crystal Young, U.S. Forest Service public information officer said.
The alternative will include five types of changes to Forest Service roads: changes in classifications, subtractions, additions, changes in mitigation and maintenance and also changes in seasonal use.
Log on to https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=48214 to view the complete draft record of decision.
The agency began working on the analysis in 2015. Through its 2016 public scoping efforts, it received 3,870 unique comments on the issue that it used in its decision making.
“It should improve motorized access by providing a more diverse trail network without reducing access to some favorite destinations,” Young said.
Alternative C will increase open trails by 22 percent while reducing roads by 11 percent, resulting in an overall reduction of roads and trails by 4 percent.
The amendment, meanwhile, deals with maps required by a 2015 settlement.
The analysis from the EIS and Draft ROD will serve as the basis for new motor vehicle maps.
One will be printed for each of the six ranger districts in the Pike San Isabel National Forests, which includes the Salida Ranger District.
After the objection periods end, the Forest Service will have a set amount of time to consider the objections. Then it will respond by either updating the plan or responding to people who objected and explaining to them why the decision was made.