42 Routes Project Update
FEIS Release: A Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) for the affected 42 routes was completed, and a Record of Decision (ROD) was signed by the Forest Supervisor on June 13, 2013.
Appeal Phase: After the release of the FEIS, the public had 45 days to appeal the decision (ended July 29, 2013). If no appeals were filed within the 45-day time period, implementation of the decision could of occurred on but not before, 5 business days from the close of the appeal filing period. There were 11 appeals filed.
Appeal Disposition Phase: The eleven appellants withdrew their appeals and implementation began September 12.
2013 Motor Vehicle Use map completed.
Final Stage - The FSEIS is organized in two parts. Volume 1 contains the analysis and Volume 2 contains the maps for each alternative.
Additional Information -
Motor Vehicle Use Map - 2013.
The Motor Vehicle Use Maps are free maps available at any of the Eldorado National Forest offices or can be downloaded from the list below. These maps show the roads and trails on the Eldorado National Forest that are currently designated for motor vehicle use and which ones are restricted during the seasonal closure. There are four maps or one for each ranger district. Vehicle use on roads is allowed only on the routes that are shown on the Motor Vehicle Use Map.
May 26, 2011: U.S. District Court Senior Judge Lawrence Karlton found that the Forest Service failed to comply with the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) when it designated 42 existing wheeled motorized vehicle routes that cross portions of meadows with their 2008 Public Wheeled Motorized Travel Management Decision.
The order stated that the Forest Service failed to complete a required Riparian Conservation Objective analysis for standards and guidelines in its Land and Resource Management Plan pertaining to segments that cross meadows.
February 14, 2012: The court directed the Forest Service to submit a proposed order that will set aside the decision that designates the 42 routes to the degree they go through meadows, and not affecting the sections of those same roads that do not go through meadows, unless they cannot otherwise be reached. The court also directed that the current seasonal closure for those routes remain in effect until the court order is issued.
March 14, 2012: The Forest Service submitted the proposed order.
April 23, 2012: The Eldorado National Forest issued an interim forest order keeping the 42 routes closed to motorized vehicle access until a final court order was issued later. The court’s interim decision prohibited wheeled motor vehicle access to a total 135 miles of routes. The rest of the 1800 mile system is still open to wheeled motor vehicle travel.
April and May, 2012: Initial public notification and on-the-ground signing was completed. Public education is ongoing.
July 31, 2012: In settling a lawsuit filed in 2009 regarding the Eldorado National Forest’s Travel Management decision, Judge Karlton issued his final order on July 31, 2012. In May 2011, Judge Karlton had upheld the majority of the Forest’s 2008 Travel Management decision, although the Court did find that the Forest had erred in designating 42 roads or trails crossing meadows. This final Order identifies the remedies and corrective actions that the Forest Service is directed to follow:
The final court order prohibits or limits travel through meadows until a new environmental decision on these specific routes is made allowing public wheeled motorized travel.
The final court order changes the route closures from closing the entire route to just those portions of the routes that intersect with the meadows. See Table B in the final court order.
The final court order narrowly defines what is being reviewed in the supplemental environmental analysis. These areas are being analyzed for the effect of the routes on the hydrological function of the meadow. Does this route hinder the movement of water in the meadow? Habitat, species effect, etc. is not part of the order.
The Forest Service will revise its Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) to incorporate these changes. (Completed.)
Until the MVUM is finalized and available for public distribution an interim Forest Order will be issued. (Completed.)
All other portions of the 2008 Public Wheeled Motorized Travel Management Decision remain in effect. The Travel Management decision:
Allows highway legal and non-highway legal motor vehicle use by the public on 1,002 miles of ML-2 native surfaced roads (this total includes the addition of 17 miles of unauthorized roads to the NFTS).
Allows motorcycle, ATV, and high clearance vehicle use on 210 miles of trails
(this total includes the addition of 6 miles of unauthorized trails to the NFTS).
In addition, there are 635 miles of surfaced roads suitable for passenger cars that are not a part of this decision.
August 13, 2012: The interim Forest Order and revised maps are in place.
September 21, 2012: The revised Motor Vehicle Use Map is available.
October 9, 2012: Proposed Action Released.
October 22, 2012: Open House - Alpine County - Turtlerock Community Center, Markleeville, CA
October 24, 2012: Open House - El Dorado County - Placerville, CA
October 28, 2012: Open House - Amador County - Jackson, CA
November 7, 2012: End of this phase's comment period.
February 19, 2013: Draft SEIS released
February 26, 2013: Open House - El Dorado County - Placerville, CA
March 5, 2013: Open House - Alpine County - Turtlerock Community Center, Markleeville, CA
March 6, 2013: Open House - Amador County - Jackson, CA
June 13, 2013: Final SEIS released. Record of Decision signed.
June 14, 2013: Notice in Mountain Democrat which starts the 45 day appeal period.
July 29, 2013: End of appeal period.
August 8, 2013: Informal meeting between appellants and Forest Supervisor to resolve appeal issues.
September 12, 2013: End of 45 day period for Regional Forester to "dispose" of appeals. All eleven appeals were dropped and the routes that have been identified to re-open are open. 2013 MVUM maps have been distributed to Forest Service offices.
Meadow Surveys (all pdfs):