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Thread: Tongass National Forest ATM=ATV's are screwed.

  1. #1

    Default Tongass National Forest ATM=ATV's are screwed.

    Hey All, Just wondering if you all in other parts of the State are having any sort of a battle with the USFS over access. The Sitka Ranger District is working on this Access and Travel Management Plan that they claim is a National Directive for all Districts to comply with. I don't know what its costing the taxpayers, but they have about ten departments and untold numbers of people working on it, and it is going to severely limit our access here. We already face a number of challenges to go riding as it is, being a rain forest, we can't just bail off the road and go. All of our riding is out at old logging camps and those road systems are on other islands. I'm taking off tomorrow and my trip will involve two wheelers in a 28 foot boat and a two hour (50 plus miles one way) ride. Not complaining about it, love to do it. Our problem is the local USFS is working on this plan that will chop our accessable roads by about half, down from the original half of what was really ridable to start with. If you go to the Tongass District website there's a link to the Sitka ATM, you can check it out there. There's all sorts of "touchy-feely, don't leave a footprint in the woods stuff" and a bunch of colorful maps. The population of our town has changed over the years, I grew up here and I've watched it go way "green". I don't have a problem with people that have different beliefs, I do have a problem when they push them on me or worse, are using my tax dollars to push their own agenda. Both things are happening here. We have a large number of riders here, per capita (last count was some 1000-1500 ATV's out of a population of 8500) but our ATV Club is well beaten down. It's hard to fight a battle against the Sitka Conservation Society, Green Peace, the Seirra Club and the Federal Government. We've even taken it up the chain, so to speak and tried to go "outside" for answers but got no where. I wrote a letter to the Southeast Supervisor last week and told him you can only push people so far. I've been on our roads for over 30 years, and I'll be on them long after "they" have gone back to doing what-ever they were doing before they came here to protect us from ourselves. Protect your rights, and those of the future!!

  2. #2
    Member sayak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Central peninsula, between the K-rivers

    Default Sad to hear that

    When I lived in Sitka in the 70s the Forest Service was basically run by logging oriented foresters. Recreation was a third to road building. Clinton's administration turned that around, but the Forest service was going down hill even before that as the enviros and women began to really take over in the early 80s. Now it has become the handmaiden of the greenies rather than the timber industry.

    Way too bad. Sitka was a great place to live and people were allowed to do all kinds of things without much regulation. It was a sportsman's paradise.

    If I was you you I would band together all the old guard and have a big ride on the logging roads. Let them try to stop you! Civil disobedience is a great thing when a lifestyle is threatened by regulation. Someone has to demonstrate to the California ex-patriots that this is still Alaska and not their home turf or we will lose our way of life. Make a stand!

  3. #3

    Default Before they close em off...

    Get out there and GPS/document each open trail NOW. Present the area manager with documentation specifically notated as "some" of the present open trails suitable and used for OHVs. There is a document/plan by the USFS to include OHV trails in the plans but you have to show that they exist (or did exist). I'll post the URL for the USFS site with that plan when I get home.
    We are way behind the power curve on this for Chugach Nat Forest. We've been kicked out for so long no one knows where the trails were.
    Document your trails!
    Any trail you use across public owned land should be GPS'ed and described, then the documentation should go to the agency that manages that land.
    If it is the "secret" trail to your hunting spot and you keep it "real" secret - when management actions are taken with that parcel of land - "your" trail will be closed. Period Dot Closed
    There is a faster way off the mountain, might hurt a little though.

  4. #4
    Member mod elan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    Absolutely agree. The trails need to be documented and shown that they are used. Everytime I pass a sign-in stand I fill it out to prove that there is use. The seismo trails around us actually got surveyed a few years ago for various reasons. Please document trails, or risk losing them!

  5. #5


    Hey Guys, thanks for the input. Unfortunatly there are little or no trails around here, it's all USFS road systems of varying condition, width and ridability. Every one of them has a USFS designation number and is mapped. We have been battling with them road by road to keep them open. They try to close them for all sorts of reasons "crossing fish stream" or "deteriorated, unsafe bridge" or "wildlife concerns" its all crap and all of our objections fall on deaf ears. I learned this weekend that the Sitka Ranger District is farther into this project and many times more extreme than the other districts. An unconfirmed call to the Petersburg District (who have beautiful roads and are still spending money on them) was answered that they "would continue to manage their roads and trails the way they currently do, ATM is finished". If you go to the government contract website www.FEDBIZOPPS.GOV and check out the Tongass, you'll see that all the other districts are still spending money on their roads but nothing or little is being done here in Sitka. I guess its time to move or bring in outside help. Have tried to contact USFS Personell farther up the "food chain" but haven't had much luck. On the lighter side of life, had a great weekend, boat ride up wasn't to bad, only blowing SE 45 MPH or so and raining 2 -3 inches a day. Had a great ride, covered close to 200 miles in four days and only got stopped by the USFS Cops and State Troopers twice each! Thanks again for any input you have and be safe!!!


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