July 20, 2013
David Neely, EHC District Ranger
Att: Paula Peterson
PO Box 190
Minturn CO 81645
Re: Eagle Holy Cross 2013 MVUM update
Dear Mr. Neely:
Please accept this correspondence as the comments of the above Organizations vigorously in favor of the proposal. The Organizations believe the proposal will reduce confusion among all users regarding proper usage of routes on the Eagle/Holy Cross district, impacts will be exceptionally minimal, if there are any identifiable at all, and these changes are entirely consistent with both the 2011 White River Travel Management Plan and White River Resource Management Plan. Any possible concerns regarding the proposal should be further minimized as no new routes or roads are being created. The Organizations share the Districts optimism that the analysis of the entire project can be completed with the issuance of a FONSI.
Prior to addressing the merits of the Proposal, we believe a brief summary of each Organization is needed. The Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (“COHVCO”) is a grassroots advocacy organization of approximately 2,500 members seeking to represent, assist, educate, and empower all OHV recreationists in the protection and promotion of off-highway motorized recreation throughout Colorado. COHVCO is an environmental organization that advocates and promotes the responsible use and conservation of our public lands and natural resources to preserve their aesthetic and recreational qualities for future generations.
The Trail Preservation Alliance (“TPA”) is a 100 percent volunteer organization whose intention is to be a viable partner, working with the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to preserve the sport of trail riding. The TPA acts as an advocate of the sport and takes the necessary action to insure that the USFS and BLM allocate to trail riding a fair and equitable percentage of access to public lands.
As noted in the districts scoping letter, this proposal is also fully compliant with the WRF 2011 TMP which notes that management of routes should be on a hierarchical basis.1 The proposed changes are addressing existing routes in the WRNF, which will minimize concerns about possible resource impacts as there is no new routes being constructed and routes are already maintained at sufficient levels for the usages after any changes. Motorized usage of these areas is consistent with designations in place under the existing resource management plan. The Organizations believe these factors weigh heavily in favor of the proposal as both of these documents are newly released and up to date.
The Organizations are aware that several local motorized clubs are reviewing the existing MVUMs to determine if any additional roads currently limited to licensed vehicles should be amended to address connectivity of routes. It is the Organizations understanding that best efforts are being made to compile this information during the comment period but are unsure if this input will be finalized by the end of the comment period.
Director of Operations
Trails Preservation Alliance
John F. Lane
1 White River National Forest Travel Management Plan, FEIS, Chapter 2 Alternatives pg 34