The draft Travel Management Environmental Assessment (EA)
for the Camino Real Ranger District of the Carson National Forest is available now
on the Carson National Forest's NEPA page. The official release of this
document happened way back on Dec. 13 and started the public's official 30-day
comment period. Yes, that only leaves until Jan 12.
National Forest pulled a fast
one on us and slipped this important draft EA out without notifying NMOHVA. We
had even been watching for it but we missed it in the flurry of activity with
the recent filing of our lawsuit against the Santa Fe National Forest.
The Camino Real is the last of the four EAs that the Carson NF
is releasing. The Camino Real District covers the areas south of Taos and Angel Fire, NM.
The EA includes three alternatives:
Alternative 1 - This is a slightly modified version of the
original proposed action. It closes/eliminates public access to 32 miles
of existing FS systems roads, removes dispersed camping from 16 miles of
existing road corridors and limits motorized big game retrieval to less than
10,000 acres. It also imposes a seasonal motorized restriction on ALL
roads and trails from Jan. 1 through April 30.
Alternative 2 - This is the "we hate motors" alternative. It
eliminates public motorized travel on 144 miles of existing FS system roads,
removes ALL dispersed vehicle camping along roads and trails and completely
eliminates motorized big game retrieval on the entire District. Alternative 2
again imposes a seasonal motorized restriction on ALL roads and trails from Jan.
1 through April 30.
Alternative 3 - This alternative leaves motorized public
access on all existing FS system roads and preserves dispersed vehicle camping
and motorized big game retrieval on 156 miles of existing road
corridors. It makes no changes to the existing seasonal restrictions.
On the surface, both Alternative 1 and Alternative 3 might
not look too bad. However, careful reading uncovers hidden but horrifying
changes to the current Forest
use. All of the alternatives limit motorized trail use to only 67.5 miles
of previously designated trails. If the trail isn't already officially
"designated" for motorized use, the Forest Service is going to
eliminate it without analysis and without any consideration that the trails are
already being used (legally) by OHVs.
The Forest Service also completely refuses to even consider
designating any existing non-system routes (the agency calls them
"unauthorized"). So how many miles of existing motorized routes
are we losing? The Forest Service refuses to even tell us. NMOHVA is
hard at work trying to determine exactly what is being proposed for the
chopping block and making our voices heard.
The public only has until Jan. 12 to comment on the
draft document by submitting letters or e-mails. And only those who provide
comments during this comment period (Dec. 13, 2012 through Jan. 12, 2013) will
be eligible to appeal the final decision. The final decision will result
in the publication of a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM). After the MVUM has been
released, ALL motorized travel off the designated system will be
The full text of the document and maps of the travel routes
for the alternatives is available here. The maps on the individual links are much higher
quality than the maps included in the EA document itself.
Comments on the draft EA can be submitted by postal mail, e-mail
and fax. Detailed instructions and contact information is included in the cover
letter that is posted here.
For further information, please contact the Jack Carpenter (firstname.lastname@example.org)
or Kathryn Furr (email@example.com)
at the Forest Supervisor's office. The office phone number is (575)
Read the Forest Service documents here: Draft Environmental Assessment and Maps .