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Manti LaSal National Forest – Forest Plan Revision Comments

Manti LaSal National Forest
Att: Supervisor’s Office
599 West Price River Drive
Price UT 84501

January 25, 2021

RE: Forest Plan Revision

Dear Supervisor Nehl:

The Organizations (Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA), Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO), Colorado Snowmobile Association) are submitting these comments to the Manti La Sal in response to the recent pre-NEPA public review process that has been made available (“the Proposal”). The Organizations are seeking to provide general information on a wide range of issues we have encountered in planning efforts on other Forests throughout the Country and address some of our more specific concerns around the limited information provided to date on the Manti LaSal including:

  1. The desire for a simple forest plan;
  2. The need for a reasonably complete version of the RMP and supporting documents for public review before the NEPA process is started;
  3. Need for better public engagement in the planning effort moving forward;
  4. Major concerns around roadless area designations; and
  5. Extensive scientific information around the behavior of snow under a variety of conditions.

Prior to providing initial thoughts and concepts on the development of the RMP, we believe a brief summary of each Organization is needed. 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 ensure that the USFS and BLM allocate to trail riding a fair and equitable percentage of access to public lands. The Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (“COHVCO”) is a grassroots advocacy organization the 150,000 registered OHV users in Colorado 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. Colorado Snowmobile Association (“CSA”) was founded in 1970 to unite winter motorized recreationists across the state to enjoy their passion. CSA advocates for the 30,000 registered snowmobiles in the State of Colorado. 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 document CSA, COHVCO and TPA are identified as “the Organizations”.

The snow-based information has been developed as a result of our involvement in the development of numerous Resource Management Plans (“RMP”) throughout the western United States and our more than decade of involvement in the litigation and subsequent settlement efforts around the California OSV grooming program across 5 forests in Region 5. Our desire is to provide high quality information for decision making early in the process in the hope of avoiding many of the pitfalls we have encountered in the California winter travel planning efforts. This information is also provided as the Manti LaSal NF has provided exceptional winter recreational opportunities for the public for decades without a large amount of controversy. These opportunities have drawn users from Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and numerous other states and Canadian provinces.

The Organizations are submitting these comments to supplement the input of local clubs and to assist the planners in developing a high-quality science-based management plan that continues to provide recreational opportunities in a high-quality manner. The Organizations submit that these opportunities will only become more valuable with the passage of time given the growing population of communities in and around the Manti-LaSal NF.

To continue – please open the PDF to read the entire document.

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