NC Forest Service Open Houses on Forest Plan Revision

Discussion in 'Southeast, The Lair of the Dragon - The Blue Ridge' started by Baggi'tard, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

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    IF YOU WANT YOUR MOTORCYCLE RIDING PRIVILEGES SUSTAINED OR IMPROVED, CONSIDER ATTENDING ONE OF THESE PUBLIC MEETINGS. YOU KNOW NC WILL BE FULL OF ANTI-MOTOR VEHICLE USE PEOPLE.

    The U.S. Forest Service will hold open houses across the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests from late June to early August to provide the public with opportunities to talk with Forest Service staff about local issues, district projects, and the Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Plan revision.

    "Public attendance at meetings like these helps us to understand your needs, concerns, and values and helps you understand Forest Service programs and activities," explains Allen Nicholas, Forest Supervisor for National Forests in North Carolina.

    The open houses allow the public to talk directly with Forest Service staff one-on-one. Each District Open House will highlight the areas within that district. District rangers and members of the Forest Plan revision team will be available to discuss the materials each of the following days and locations:

    • June 29, 6-8 p.m.: Grandfather Ranger District at Foothills Conference Center, 2128 S. Sterling St., Morganton.
    • July 11, 6-8 p.m.: Nantahala Ranger District at Tartan Hall, 26 Church St., Franklin
    • July 13, 6-8 p.m.: Pisgah Ranger District Office, 1600 Pisgah Hwy, Brevard
    • July 25, 3-6 p.m.: Appalachian Ranger District at Appalachian District Office, 632 Manor Road, Mars Hill
    • July 25, 3-6 p.m.: Cheoah Ranger District at Cheoah District Office, 1070 Massey Branch Road, Robbinsville
    • August 8, 3-6 p.m., Tusquitee Ranger District, Brasstown Community Center, 255 Settawig Rd, Brasstown
    The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests have been revising their Forest Plan, a required document that provides a general framework to guide management of the Forests. As part of the process, 30 public meetings have been held in communities throughout western North Carolina.

    Over the past year, the Forest Service has been releasing pre-draft plan materials on the National Forests in North Carolina website - www.fs.usda.gov/goto/nfsnc/nprevision. Additional materials are posted to the site's Plan Revision Under Construction page as they become available.

    "This material is not a preferred alternative or even a draft plan. It represents our latest thinking which has been shaped by public input," said Michelle Aldridge, planning team lead. "In particular, we heard a lot from the public about how places matter to them, so we created a new chapter on Geographic Areas to reflect that."

    By separating the Forests into 12 distinct landscapes, Geographic Areas highlight opportunities for restoration and sustainable recreation; connections to nearby communities; and partnerships with the public, other organizations, and governments in different parts of the Forests. Each geographic area also has goals identified that will serve as emphases for management during plan implementation.

    Management Area plan components outline how the general forest areas of Interface, Matrix, and Backcountry will be managed. A set of pre-draft maps shows these places on the forest landscape, and adjacent lands not managed by the U.S. Forest Service are included for context. Results from the required Wild and Scenic River Evaluation and information on possible Special Interest Areas are also currently posted on the website.

    By fall 2017, the public will have had an opportunity for early review and input on nearly all aspects of the developing plan. When the Forest Plan draft is finalized, the public will again have an opportunity to review the plan during the formal comment period after the complete draft plan and alternative analysis are released in spring 2018.

    While there is no formal NEPA or legal comment period at this time, the Forest Service is accepting input at NCplanrevision@fs.fed.us with the subject line "Spring 2017 material Plan Building Blocks" or by mail at this address: Attn: Plan Revision, National Forests in North Carolina, 160A Zillicoa St, Asheville, NC 28801. Comments will be most useful when received by August 31.
    #1
  2. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

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    This is an interesting part of the preliminary trail plan. Notice that motorized trails for some reason "require" outside funding to maintain, but the other types don't. That seems like an easy way to claim they need to be closed. Yes I'm always going to read these plans with an eye toward anti-motorcycle and anti-motor vehicle use.

    The following attributes are used as indicators of trails that are of higher priority to operate and maintain:
    o Day use hiking opportunities, particularly those associated with high visitation such as scenic overlooks and waterfalls.
    o Nationally recognized hiking trails, such as the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, National Recreation Trails and National Historic Trails.
    o The existing network of designated motorized trails to the extent they are sustainable using fees and grant funding (this does not include 4-wheel use of low maintenance roads).
    o Mountain bike, equestrian, and backcountry hiking trails as further prioritized by collaborative trail planning.
    #2
  3. Okeedokee

    Okeedokee Cranky Bastard

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    As a user of the Francis Marion National Forest Wambaw Cycle Trail system, and a co-founder of a volunteer riders' group (the Coastal Off-Road Riders Association) who helps maintain these trails, I can attest to how important this is.
    We have just been exposed to this same process which was recently done at this forest. In short, you guys who use these trails need to pay close attention to this notice.
    You need to not only show up and make your thoughts heard, you need to show up in full-force. The FS needs to see a group size that clearly represents to them the level of interest y'all have up there. Two or three guys attending will not do this. In other words, a lot of you guys need to go, and be heard.
    The FS not only looks at comments made at these meetings, but they pay close attention to the number of folks who represent the various user and special interest groups. This is very important.
    Present at these meetings will be hikers, bikers, bird watchers, horse back riders, hunters, fishermen, plant lovers, bear watchers, star gazers, floks who live in or around the forests and anyone else you could imagine. If off-road riding folks are not there, or are represented by a smaller-size group than these others, what does that show?
    While we have some other folks and user groups down here who oppose anything with a motor on it, you guys have those PLUS the folks who have already successfully opposed and CLOSED many trails in your area. You also have the added problem (that we don't have very much) of erosion-caused damage to the trails. These people are organized and very determined to stop what they consider noisy and destructive dirt bikes and atvs.
    And, they have the ear of the FS staff.
    And when you consider that a good many of the FS staffers are "tree-hugger" or environmentalist types themselves, it shouldn't be hard to image that y'all have your work cut out for you.
    Another important fact that the OP points out is the current lack of funding in the FS budget for maintenance. They have none, or so they claim. As y'all probably already know, these trail systems all over the country depend heavily on volunteer user groups to help (or completely) take care of the maintenance.
    Since we started in 2011, we have: learned how to groom trails, gotten pretty good at it, built a beginners' loop and a warm-up loop, built a concrete off-loading ramp, helped layout and improve the camping area, fixed flood damage several times, put-up signs and mile markers, created a trail map, developed an emergency responder map, cut-up many blow-down trees, and offered advice on just about everything else that needs to be done by contractors.
    So, my advice is this: If you use it, you need to be willing to support it. If you love it, you need to be willing to defend it. And if you don't want to lose it, you need to be prepared to fight to keep it.
    Good luck!
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  4. XDragRacer

    XDragRacer Long timer Supporter

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    If the George Washington National Forest Master Plan public meetings are any indicator, the audience will be populated by many "conservationists," "environmentalists," "preservationists," etc., called, "Bird and Bunny People," by some.

    These groups appear well-organized, and well-funded. Some abhor ALL motorized recreation on public lands; more-or-less seeking WILDERNESS STATUS for all National Forest acreage.

    Overheard: "Cutting down a tree is MURDER!"

    Not to deny these citizens their right to their opinions and the opportunity to express them, only . . . those who favor responsible motorized recreational access to public lands must express their opinions and preferences also, to influence the policies of the USDA Forest Service.

    My club builds and maintains multi-use trails in George Washington National Forest; our organization remains in good favor with front-line hands-on Forest Service personnel. However, these hard workers must submit to the POLICIES articulated from higher up in the Forest Service, and from Washington. Example: Clinton's "Roadless Initiative" of some years ago, closing miles of previously-available trail access. An initiative informally known as, "Wilderness Lite," by some affected.

    By the way, at a public hearing on George Washington National Forest's Master Plan, "Bird Man," an advocate of preservationist stripe, used the distant Tellico trails closure (allegedly from erosion) to justify closing George Washington National Forest to motorized recreational access--a totally irrelevant and separate issue. Non-sensical, but . . . he was HEARD.

    Results of off-road motorized users' attendance and articulation at George Washington National Forest Master Plan public meetings? Existing access essentially maintained, including Dunkle Hollow Road, critical to off-road riding events.

    As Baggi'tard suggests: ATTEND the public meetings; make sure the voice of motorcyclist users of National Forest lands (chartered to be used for "many purposes") is heard.
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  5. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

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    As both have stated above, it goes beyond your local meeting and local district too. Everybody's voice gets heard, and those get heard higher up in the chain too (not that it doesn't fall on deaf ears sometimes). I was quite amazed that the town hall meeting I went to in GA last year was attended by two state congressman (the meeting was actually for them, kind of a meet and greet and hear the voice of the people event). It was their belief they needed to push the FS to work with all forest users.
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  6. dualindalton

    dualindalton Been here awhile

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    Based on my previous experience with the USFS, ( I spent almost 2 years trying to disrupt and hopefully stopping closures in the Chattahoochee NF) I don't anticipate that their revision plan will be favorable to the dual sporting community. Okeedokee and XDragRacers comments are spot on in regards to what it will take to protect and preserve the future of motorized use in our national forest. Organization and numbers, numbers, numbers and more numbers, as in showing up to be a voice for our rights, is what the USFS understands. When we don't participate in the process we become irrelevant in their decision making.


    Here is a link to Sierra Access Coalition. Our brothers on the West Coast are on the right track. Besides their mission, look at their members and donors list. Pretty impressive. Fight fire with fire. That's how it's done!


    http://www.sierraaccess.com/index.html
    #6
  7. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

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    LATEST NEWS:

    The National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service, American Hiking Society, Back Country Horsemen of America, the International Mountain Biking Association, the BlueRibbon Coalition, and the American Motorcyclist Association, is pleased to announce project selections for the National Forest System Trail Stewardship Grants for National Forest trails for the 2017 Field season.

    Two groups were successful in Region 8: Partners of Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness and Wild South (wildsouth.org).

    And don't think either one of these groups is going to be motorized vehicle use friendly at all, zero, zip, zilch, nada. Check out their websites, the more "wilderness" the better. Their reaction to the FS possibly opening up areas for logging? Wild South proposes 88,000 acres for 12 MORE Wilderness areas. They don't want the Forest Service to "manage" the lands (isn't that why the federal government took them to begin with?), they want them "closed." I would argue Wilderness areas benefit very few, with no vehicle access, no habitat diversity (which is one thing logging and fires provide, read poor hunting).
    #7
  8. cherokee_chuck

    cherokee_chuck Adventurer

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    Two meetings coming up next week...........Franklin (11th) and Brevard (13th), both 6-8pm. I am planning on going to the Franklin meeting. Hope to see many of the DS/Adventure crowd there!
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  9. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

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    @cherokee_chuck, holy crap I didn't know you were still around! LOL We met years ago at #2 and #3 Tour de Tellico eventa (I was riding the MZ Baghira supermoto). Dunno if I can make the Franklin one, but am planning the one in Robbinsville too.
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  10. cherokee_chuck

    cherokee_chuck Adventurer

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    Of course I remember you. I tell folks about you and how you rode one of the coolest bikes ever! Loved the Baghira in both supermoto and dual sport modes! I feel I have gotten so far behind not knowing you owned the Farmhouse Inn! I hope all is well and look forward to see you at Robbinsville, if I can get a sitter for a couple of hours.
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  11. cherokee_chuck

    cherokee_chuck Adventurer

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    I stay busy on the KLR forums, still. You are always welcome to come ride or just hang out........we have ~10 scheduled rides a year.
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  12. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

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    :ricky I don't do to many "scheduled" rides, unless it's guys coming here, I just ride all the time. But hey just let me know what y'all are planning.
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  13. XDragRacer

    XDragRacer Long timer Supporter

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    Baggi'tard: Glad you're active in voicing the interests and concerns of the motorized recreation community at the Forest Service public meetings. I realize the policy affects your livelihood, and your guests' recreation opportunities.

    I WISH: OTHER motorcycling and off-road riding businessmen would take an active role influencing National Forest policy; how? By attending the meetings themselves, with common-sense ideas and initiatives consistent with the, "Many Uses," charter of the National Forests.

    I don't believe I ever saw even one representative of a motorcycle shop, dealership, or manufacturer at any of the Forest Service public meetings I attended.

    RECOMMENDATION: Lobby the shops and dealerships in your area to send representatives to the meetings, and to take active roles in contacting US congress members and senators, asking for their help in preserving and expanding off-road motorized recreation on public lands. The hotel/motel/b&b/campground industry's interests are affected by Forest Service policy also; your contacts in that industry could profit from a "heads-up" also, in my opinion.
    #13
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  14. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

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    Agreed.
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  15. cherokee_chuck

    cherokee_chuck Adventurer

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    The Franklin meeting went well last night. There were probably 40 folks there, plus many rangers and other workers from that district. I got to talk to 4 different rangers about several topics. I mostly talked about who Dual Sport/Adventure riders are (many didn't know), the opportunities of Share Trails (ex....Tr82/Unicoi) instead of cutting us out altogether, and asked about various closures, etc. They have been in this planning stage since when they began in 2013. These meeting are to share what they have so far and to hear from the people who use the NF. The literature and other information I got, is available on their website (they said) listed earlier in this thread. I hope I was able to help them understand the way we use the NF in terms of recreation. I believe I was the only one there representing us, as far as I could tell. I hope there is a good showing in Brevard tomorrow (7-13), and later on in the month in Robbinsville!
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  16. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

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    Thank you @cherokee_chuck ! Being one of 40 is not bad at all. And I know you showed a responsible, respectable face too. I hope somebody can post some info about Brevard. I'll be sure and represent at Robbinsville, another small town like Tellico that is reliant on tourism.
    #16