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Old 10-24-2013, 07:05 PM   #1
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Arlington, Virginia
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Thumb Access / Road Closure Thread - USFS GW & Jefferson National Forests - Virginia


New gate in the Jefferson National Forest

Motorized Access in the George Washington and Jefferson Forest is Diminishing


Motorized access in the GW & J National Forest is contracting year over year. With a new forest plan on the horizon (set to be released this fall), diminishing budgets and increasing concentration of use in smaller areas - the future of our dual sporting ways is in question.

I have been actively involved in the planning process in the GW and closely monitor the ongoing decision making that dictates what roads are opened and during what seasons. It is a subject that is near and dear to my heart - and also tremendously influences projects like The Blue Ridge Trail and events like the Shenandoah 500.

The reality is that roads are not closing due to resource protection, legitimate user conflict, erosion or environmental concerns - but rather lack of budget, user solidarity and communication with the USFS.

Here are a few of my observations over the past few years:

  • The general consensus at the USFS is that the current road system is financially unsustainable - and they are looking for road segments to decommission and reclaim
  • The open dates of seasonally opened roads are contracting. Roads that were once open from 4/1 - 12/31 are getting pushed back to 8/1 - 12/31 - greatly impacting our access during good weather.
  • Roads that were open year round are becoming seasonal hunter access roads.
  • The USFS is very open minded - given a cohesive, unified voice from user groups - including the motorized segment.

I have been on the phone with both the Lee Ranger and Glenwood Pedlar district rangers the past few weeks - and you cannot find a nicer, sharper group of civil servants. They are hamstrung by budgets more than anything else - and need user input on decision making.

This goal of this thread to highlight ongoings in the forest that may impact our access - and steps we can take to positively influence our relationship with the USFS.
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error cooled screwed with this post 10-24-2013 at 08:55 PM
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