from my email box.... passing it on.AOC EMAIL ALERT
Member #: 392 Expiration Date 4/20/2011
National Park Service (NPS) has released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
Where you won't be able to use your ATV/ORV anymore.
What could you say in your comments to convince the feds that segregating out two classes of ORV user on National Preserve lands isn't a good idea nor is it the law?
Based on past experience in the federal lands regulatory process I'd say restricting comments on this DRAFT EIS to the NPS preferred alternative, number five, will give you your only chance of affecting the ORV Management Plan at this point. Alternative 5 when adopted will be a loss of opportunity for ORV riders on public lands that won't be recovered.
Federally qualified subsistence users of the Wrangell- St. Ellias National Preserve, around 6,000 Alaskans, will not need permits or pay a user fee. Nor will they be kicked off the trails if trails fall below the NPS design-sustainable or maintainable condition standard. Subsistence ORV use that results in "resource impacts" would be monitored and possible restrictions imposed by NPS. Subsistence ORV users would be restricted to established trail use only in wilderness areas. If adopted this management plan would start the unraveling of the ANILCA Section 811 protections of traditional subsistence uses, that was supposed to save some traditional hunting and access on federal lands in Alaska for local residents at least.
The bottom-line for non-local ORV riders and hunter in the Preserve is "if you can pay and NPS can come up with the money to repair over half of the current trail miles you can continue to ride. If the trails don't get fixed and the 6,000 Alaskan residents who don't need permits continue to use the trails the chances are all non-local "recreational ORV" use will be stopped.
Why not just fix all the current ORV trails and treat everyone equally? No new eligible for wilderness lands need be added. And the 77 miles of non-motorized routes or trails described under Alternative 5 don't need added. Build non-motorized routes in the hard Park, away from ORV use areas. All ORV trails are open to anyone walking, skiing, running, snowshoeing, or hopping.
The whole DRAFT Nabesna ORV Management Plan is slanted toward an unnecessary loss of outdoor opportunity. But who are you going to tell that to? Kim Elton?
Everyone should read through Alternative 5 and send in their comments before November 10th.
NABESNA ORV EIS
1. The National Park Service (NPS) has released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) considering impacts and management of Off- Road Vehicles (ORVs) in the Nabesna District of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve (WRST). This is in response to a lawsuit and settlement that occurred in 2006 and 2007.
2. The Draft EIS was released for a 90-day public review and comment period on August 8. The last day to submit comments is November 10, 2010. Five public meetings were held for informational purposes and to solicit public comments. These meetings were held in Anchorage (September 20), Glennallen and Slana (September 21), Tok (September 22) and Fairbanks (September 23).
3. NPS developed a range of management alternatives that are analyzed in the Draft EIS. Here is a quick summary of the alternatives:
4. The National Park Service (NPS) has identified Alternative 5 as its preferred alternative. Alternative 5provides access for sport hunting in the preserve, backcountry recreational activities, and subsistence activities on good trails. The range of alternatives considers trail reconstruction or re-routing to fix or replace most degraded, very degraded, or severely degraded trail segments and associated resource impacts. This will cost money and take time.
- Alternative 1: No Action; recreational ORV use not permitted on Suslota, Tanada Lake, or Copper Lake trails; no change to subsistence ORV use; no trail improvements.
- Alternative 2: Recreational ORV use permitted on all nine trails; no change to subsistence ORV use; no trail improvements.
- Alternative 3: Recreational ORV use would not be permitted on any of the nine trails, few trail improvements would be done; subsistence ORV use would continue to occur but resource impacts would be monitored (trail width, average depth, vegetation cover, stream crossings). If monitoring shows over time that resource impacts are increasing, management action would be taken.
- Alternative 4: All nine trails (except Suslota) would be improved to at least a maintainable condition through trail hardening, tread improvement, or constructed re-routes. After improvements are done, recreational ORV use would be permitted on trails in the preserve (Caribou Creek, Lost Creek, Trail Creek, Soda Lake, Reeve’s Field), not in the park (Tanada Lake, Copper Lake, Boomerang). Until improvements are done, subsistence ORV use on unimproved trails would be subject to monitoring as described under alternative 3.
- Alternative 5: All trails (except Suslota) improved to at least a maintainable condition. After improvements are done, recreational ORV use would be permitted on all trails. Until improvements are done, recreational ORV use would not be permitted on trails with the most resource degradation (Tanada Lake, Suslota, and Copper Lake, Soda Lake, Reeve Field); subsistence ORV use would be permitted subject to monitoring as described in Alternative 3. Subsistence ORV users in wilderness must use designated trails.
5. In the meantime, some alternatives consider not permitting recreational ORV use on degraded trails where resource impacts are occurring. And, some alternatives would monitor resource impacts on unimproved trails. If, over time, monitoring shows that resource impacts are increasing on these trails or trail segments where only subsistence ORV use is occurring, management action would be considered. Management actions could include trail maintenance targeted at a particular resource problem (for example, hardening a stream crossing); reducing the use on degraded trails; or trail closure under 36 CFR 13.46. Alternative 5 also includes monitoring standards for off-trail use by subsistence ORV users and designation of trails in the wilderness. Outside of the designated wilderness, subsistence ORV use off existing trails would still be permitted as long as the use does not cause resource damage (for example trail braiding through wetlands, impassable mud/muck holes in wetlands, or erosion).
6. You can get a hard copy or CD of the Draft EIS by calling (907)-822-7276 and requesting one. Or, you can see an electronic version of the Draft EIS at the following sites:
7. You can make a comment in one of several ways:
· Write a letter to: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, ATTN: Bruce Rogers, P.O. Box 439, Copper Center, Alaska, 99573
· E-mail to: Bruce_Rogers@nps.gov
· By going to http://parkplanning.nps.gov/wrst and finding the document and submitting comments electronically
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