Archive | April, 2014
Basalt to Gypsum Motorized Singletrack
April 16, 2014 in News
Protest/Appeal of Colorado River Valley BLM FRMP and FEIS
April 3, 2014 in News
Roaring Fork Stream Restoration Project
April 1, 2014 in News
April 22, 2014
|Bureau Of Land Management Director (21 0)
ATT: Protest Coordinator
20M Street SE, RM 2134LM
Washington DC 20003
Protest/Appeal of Kremmling BLM FRMP & FEIS
Prior to addressing the specific appeal points, 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.
Colorado Snowmobile Association (“CSA”) was founded in 1970 to unite winter motorized recreationists across the state to enjoy their passion. CSA currently has 2,500 members. CSA has become the voice of organized snowmobiling seeking to advance, promote and preserve the sport of snowmobiling by working with Federal and state land management agencies and local, state and federal legislators. For purposes of this appeal, Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition, the Trail Preservation Alliance and Colorado Snowmobile Association will be referred to as “the Organizations” in this appeal.
The Organizations are vigorously opposed to the arbitrary and capricious manner that all economic analysis of recreational usage has been undertaken in the RMP and FEIS, despite recreational usage of the planning area being repeatedly and consistently identified in the RMP and FEIS as the primary usage of the planning area. The Organizations are deeply concerned with the accurate analysis of recreational spending in the planning process, as this is the primary method of recognizing recreational activity on public lands. This faulty analysis has led to daily spending profiles, total jobs estimates and total recreational spending amounts that are so low as to lack any basis in law or fact and directly conflict with BLM species specific analysis of the KFO planning area, USFS conclusions and process that have allegedly been relied on and analysis from a variety of other sources.
The Organizations vigorously assert that the KFO conclusions are arbitrary and capricious as a matter of law as the KFO repeatedly asserts application of USFS NVUM process in the KFO economic analysis but comes to conclusions that represent less than 20% of the average daily recreational spending found in the NVUM process. KFO conclusions on average daily recreational spending simply are insufficient to allow visitors to buy fuel and return home from a visit to the KFO planning area.
The arbitrary and capricious nature of KFO conclusions on recreational spending is further evidenced by comparisons of the KFO economic analysis of recreational spending per day, which provides conclusions of $16.21 per day to that have been reached in the BLM Greater Sage Grouse analysis, which finds average recreational usage to be valued at $121.96 per day. The Organizations vigorously assert this is prima facie evidence of the arbitrary and capricious nature of the economic analysis on the KFO as these analysis have occurred at basically the same time, using the same analysis methods and almost all the KFO planning areas are identified as GRSG habitat. The KFO allocation of resources in the RMP is the direct result of a failure to meaningfully incorporate meaningful analysis of economics into the planning for and balancing of uses on the FO moving forward.
Throughout this appeal, the Organizations are forced to guess at numerous critical factors for economic analysis of recreation. The Organizations vigorously assert that these forced guesses at factors is direct evidence of a failure to comply with NEPA requirements of a detailed statement of high quality information and a hard look regarding the decision making process. Not only are these guesses direct evidence of a failure of NEPA, these failures have directly impaired the Organizations ability to create meaningful appeal points and discussions, which has further prejudiced the Organizations.
The arbitrary and capricious manner that economic analysis has been handled is further evidenced as conclusions simply have not been integrated in any manner into the KFO planning process, which appears to have merely filled in boxes on a form rather than integrate conclusions and analysis together. This position is directly supported by the changes between draft and final versions of these documents that doubled recreational visitation and spending but cut the number of jobs that result in local economies from this activity almost in half. This simply lacks any basis in law or fact.
The lack of integration of economics in the planning process is further evidenced by the fact that visitation between the draft and final versions of the plan has doubled but the amount of recreational opportunity has been reduced even further from the preferred alternative in the draft, without explanation. The Organizations vigorously assert that serving twice as many people with more than 50% less resources is a management position that warrants discussion. The Organizations would be very concerned regarding the factual and legal basis of this discussion if it were to be presented.
It is the Organizations position that the FEIS and RMP must be remanded to the Field Office for further analysis of the issues more specifically addressed in this appeal. The analysis of these issues and associated balance of uses that will result from meaningful analysis and a hard look at accurate information must then be provided to the public for an additional comment period.
It is the Organizations position that an RMP for this area that is based on accurate economic information and accurate application of management standards will look significantly different that the current management standards sought to be applied.
Note: This is only the first four pages of this document, to read it in its entirety please download the PDF (top of page). If you would like to see any of the attachments please contact us.
April 16, 2014
|Scott Fitzwilliams, WRFNF Supervisor
Att: John Thompson, Nat Resource Specialist
620 Main Street
Carbondale, CO 81623-0309
RE: Basalt to Gypsum Motorized Singletrack
Dear Mr Thompson;
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. For purposes of these comments, COHVCO and TPA will be referred to as “the Organizations”.
The Organizations vigorously support the above proposal, as the construction and adoption of these single track routes will help address a critical shortage of motorized single track trails in the White River National Forest. The benefits to the motorized community are expanded beyond the scope of the current proposal, as the proposal ties two existing trail networks
The Organizations are very aware that there is considerable opposition to the project despite the significant benefits to all users and mitigation of existing resource issues in the area. This opposition manifested itself in the grant application process with the Colorado State Parks and Wildlife OHV Grant proposal. While the Organizations did not participate in the on-site visits discussed below, the Organizations were involved in resolving concerns surrounding the grant as the process by which the Basalt to Gypsum trail grant was removed from the other motorized grants of that year was very concerning for the Organizations. The Organizations vigorously assert that opposition to the Proposal had more to do with an ideological opposition to the construction of motorized trails in the area rather than specific concerns about the proposal.
The ideological opposition to the grant proposal resulted in an on-site inspection of the proposal area by CPW recreation staff, USFS representatives, USFWS biologists, and CPW biologists and wildlife managers. After the on-site review of the grant proposal, managers and experts all agreed that there were significant benefits to all usages and improvements to wildlife habitats and other resource issues from the project. These determinations were based on the managers expert opinions and application of best available science for management of species and other issues. The Organizations believe that best available science must again be relied on in addressing these alleged issues as part of the NEPA process and the previous determinations of the resource managers with regard to the grant application must be given heavy weight in the NEPA process.
The Organizations concerns regarding incorporation of previous analysis of the grant proposal are based on the failure of the scoping notice to provide meaningful discussion of these meetings and that the scoping notice now specifically identifies many of the same resource issues as part of the “Effects and Issues to Consider” portions of the scoping notice as were addressed in the grant proposal meetings. While the Organizations understand that NEPA must be an impartial process, the Organizations believe a full representation of the history of the project should be addressed in the scoping and is highly relevant to the NEPA process. The Organizations believe a full representation of the project history would have resulted in issues and possible impacts being addressed in a more balanced manner, especially when considering the motorized community is partnering to resolve impacts from multiple usage of the area previously. The Organizations are concerned that highlighting all the potential impacts of the project without also identifying benefits to the community and resources that will clearly result may expand opposition to the project based on issues and concerns that have truly already been addressed and resolved in the grant process. Creating opposition to the project based on issues that have already been resolved should be avoided.
The Organizations are also concerned that the Proposal is the result of the partnership of Ranger District staff and local user groups. These partnerships are highly valued by the user groups that have participated in the planning process, but many recreational users are opposed to these type of collaborations for a variety of reasons, mainly based on a distrust of land managers and the position that user groups should fight with land managers rather than partner with them. While overly resource protective provisions in the scoping notice may appease those opposed to the proposal, these same provisions are also relied on by those that oppose collaborative partnerships as proof that the agency is not truly partnering with the user groups. While the Organizations do not share these users perspectives, fueling these beliefs does not work towards addressing these erroneous concerns moving forward.
The Organizations vigorously support the Proposal, as the proposal will address a critical shortage of recreational opportunities that currently exists on the White River National Forest and mitigates many existing issues regarding resources in the proposal area. If you have questions please feel free to contact Scott Jones at 508 Ashford Drive, Longmont, CO 80504. His phone is (518)281-5810.
D.E. Riggle, Director of Operations
April 3, 2014
|The Colorado River Valley BLM FRMP & FEIS closes about 50% of routes (1000) in the area and fails to analyze most impacts to recreational usage like off trail snowmobile usage at all.
This is another plan that tragically undervalues recreational usage and anytime other uses are balanced with recreational usage, recreational usage loses. Examples would be endangered species and cultural sites. They apply the most restrictive standards possible for ESA and anything they think could be a cultural site now or in the future is subject to a mandatory closure.
Bureau Of Land Management Director (21 0)
Protest/Appeal of Colorado River Valley BLM FRMP & FEIS
To continue reading, please download the attached PDF.
|Roaring Fork Stream Renovation Project
c/o Barry Wiley
Rio Grande National Forest
1803 W Highway 160
Monte Vista, CO 81144
Re: Roaring Fork Stream Restoration Project
Dear Mr. Wiley;
To continue reading, please download the attached PDF.
PO Box 38093
Colorado Springs, CO 80937