Oregon Dunes Designated Routes Management Area 10C Project

It’s time to comment on the preferred alternatives

September 2014 Powersport News, Travel

With regards to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area Designated Routes Project, the governing agencies have considered public comment and have prepared a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and a Draft Record of Decision (ROD). Both are posted on the Siuslaw National Forest website at http://www.fs.fed.us/. The documents can be found under “ Projects” in the Land & Resources Management section of the website.

If you need a copy of the FEIS and Draft ROD in another format, let the agency know they will provide it.

A hard copy of the FEIS, Draft ROD and supporting documents are available for review during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) at the Central Coast Ranger District-Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area offices in Reedsport and Waldport, OR, along with the Siuslaw National Forest headquarters in Corvallis. Printed copies of the DEIS will also be available for viewing at the Siuslaw headquarters in Corvallis and at several public libraries including Eugene, Springfield, Roseburg, Waldport, Reedsport and Coos Bay.  

In response to comments received throughout our planning process, four action alternatives were developed in addition to the agency’s original proposed action. The Draft ROD identifies Modified Alternative 4 as our preferred alternative. Modified Alternative 4 would:

  • Designate an additional 2.3 miles of trails. This is the same as Alternative 4 in the FEIS.
  • Reallocate 518 acres of Management Area 10 (C) to Management Area 10 (B), opening these lands to cross-country OHV use.

Reallocated acres have been modified from the original Alternative 4. The modifications are described below.

The areas reallocated to open riding contain 46 miles of user-developed routes. This is a modification of Alternative 4 in the FEIS because the reallocations of areas A3 and A16 have been changed, and an additional area has been added, A17. In the North Riding Area, reallocation A3 has been increased from 6 acres to 28 acres, containing 1.2 miles user-developed routes. Also, in the north, A17 adds 64 acres. In the Middle Riding Area, reallocation A16 has been reduced from 132 acres to 109 acres, containing 6.3 miles of user-developed routes.

The Draft Record of Decision is subject to an objection process pursuant to Forest Service regulations at 36 CFR 218. This process replaces the post-decisional appeal process (36 CFR 215) used since 1993. When the draft EIS was released, the associated documentation indicated that the upcoming decision would be subject to an administrative appeal process according to the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR 215); this process allows people who submitted comments during the comment period on the draft EIS an opportunity to appeal the final decision after it is signed. However, on March 27, 2013, new regulations were released that apply to this project.

The new regulations, found at 36 CFR 218, provide an opportunity for individuals, organizations and tribal entities to file an objection to a project before the final decision is signed. This allows interested individuals, organizations and tribal entities to advise the Deciding Official about concerns regarding the final decision before the decision is made.

Objections will only be accepted from those who have previously submitted specific written comments regarding the proposed project during scoping or other designated opportunity for public comment in accordance with §218.5(a). Issues raised in objections must be based on previously submitted timely, specific written comments regarding the proposed project unless based on new information arising after the designated comment opportunities.

Objections, including attachments, must be filed via mail, fax, e-mail, hand-delivery, express delivery, or messenger service (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays). Objections may be mailed to: Regional Forester, Objection Reviewing Officer, Pacific Northwest Region, USDA Forest Service, Attn. 1570 Appeals and Objections, 1220 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, Oregon 97204. For e-mailed objections, please e-mail to: objections-pnw-regional-office@fs.fed.us. Please put OBJECTION and the project name in the subject line. Electronic objections must be submitted as part of an actual e-mail message, or as an attachment in Microsoft Word (.doc), rich text format (.rtf), or portable document format (.pdf) only.

For electronically mailed objections, the sender should normally receive an automated electronic acknowledgement from the agency as confirmation of receipt. If the sender does not receive an automated acknowledgement of the receipt of the objection, it is the sender’s responsibility to ensure timely receipt by other means. Objections may also be hand delivered to the Pacific Northwest Regional Office, 1220 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, Oregon 97204 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday except legal holidays. Objections may also be faxed to: Regional Forester, Attn: 1570 Objections at (503)-808-2339.

Objections must be postmarked or received by the Reviewing Officer, Regional Forester, within 45 days from the date of publication of notice of the objection in Corvallis Gazette-Times, Corvallis, OR. The publication date is the exclusive means for calculating the time to file an objection. Those wishing to file an objection should not rely upon dates or timeframe information provided by any other source. The regulations prohibit extending the time to file an objection.

Specific directions on how to file an objection are provided in 36 CFR 218.8. (A printed copy is available upon request.) The regulations can be found at http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx under “Predecisional Administrative Review Process.”

The objection must contain the minimum content requirements specified in §218.8(d) and incorporation of documents by reference is permitted only as provided in §218.8(b). It is the objector’s responsibility to ensure timely filing of a written objection with the reviewing officer pursuant to §218.9. All objections are available for public inspection during and after the objection process.

At a minimum an objection must include the following (36 CFR 218.8(d)):

- The objector’s name and address, with a telephone number, if available;

- A signature or other verification of authorship upon request (a scanned signature for e-mail may be filed with the objection);

- When multiple names are listed on an objection, identification of the lead objector (verification of the identity of the lead objector shall be provided upon request);

- The name of the proposed project, the name and title of the Responsible Official, and the name(s) of the National Forest(s) and/or Ranger District(s) on which the proposed project will be implemented;

- A description of those aspects of the proposed project addressed by the objection, including specific issues related to the proposed project if applicable, how the objector believes the environmental analysis or draft decision specifically violates law, regulation, or policy; suggested remedies that would resolve the objection; supporting reasons for the reviewing officer to consider; and

- A statement that demonstrates connection between prior specific written comments on the particular proposed project or activity and the content of the objection.

Objections will be subject to review by a “reviewing officer;” because the Responsible Official for the Designated Routes project is the Siuslaw National Forest Supervisor, the reviewing officer will be the Regional Forester.

The objection process may include an opportunity for the objector to meet with the reviewing officer and the responsible official, with the objective of resolving the concerns expressed in the objection.

The responsible official cannot sign the final decision until the reviewing officer has responded in writing to all pending objections, and the decision must be consistent with any instructions issued by the reviewing officer. After the objection process concludes there will be no additional opportunity for administrative review or appeal. The final decision will be the Final administrative decision by the agency.

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