Carson National Forest Releases Camino Real Ranger District Travel Management EA For Public Comment

January 2013 Powersport News


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.

The Carson 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 prohibited.

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 ( or Kathryn Furr ( at the Forest Supervisor's office. The office phone number is (575) 758-6200.

Read the Forest Service documents here: Draft Environmental Assessment and Maps .

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