Travel Management

Tonto National Forest Preparing to Release Notice of Availability for Draft Environmental Impact Statement to comply with the Travel Management Rule

The Tonto National Forest is releasing the draft environmental impact statement as part of compliance with the Travel Management Rule, which requires that all National Forest System lands designate roads, trails, and areas for motor vehicle travel.

PROJECT UPDATE: In response to several requests, Neil Bosworth, Supervisor of the Tonto National Forest, has decided to extend the 45 day comment period by an additional 30 calendar days.

The deadline for submitting comments on the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) has been extended to September 17, 2014.

As a reminder, this project is an activity implementing a land management plan and subject to the objection process described in 36 CFR 218 Subparts A and B. It is the responsibility of persons providing comments to submit them by the close of the comment period. Only those who submit timely and specific written comments will have eligibility to file and objection under §218.8. Individuals and originations wishing to be eligible to object must meet the information requirements in §218.25(a)(3). Names and contact information submitted with comments will become part of the public record and may be released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The DEIS provides the public an opportunity to learn about and participate in the federal decision-making process. In asking for your input, please consider the following questions:

  • Are there effects to resources or the environment that should be analyzed?
  • Are there different alternatives to those analyzed that should be considered?
  • Is there any relevant information or data we should know about that could cause changes or revisions to one or more of the alternatives analyzed?
  • Are the methodologies for or assumptions used adequate or is there additional information we should consider?

How to access the DEIS

What You Can Do

Comments on the draft EIS need to be received by from when the Notice of Availability is published in the Federal Register—check back here for a date one it has been published. When submitting comments, please keep them specific to this project only. Comments which are not specific to the project and project area will be deemed outside the scope of the analysis and will not be considered. If you provide recommendations for changes to routes or areas, please include route numbers or location descriptions, as well as the reasons for your recommendations. If you are including references, citations, or additional information to be considered for this project, please specify exactly how the material relates to the project. Also, indicate exactly what part of the material you would like us to consider (such as page or figure number). 

Send written comments to:

Neil Bosworth, Forest Supervisor
ATTN: Travel Management
2324 E. McDowell Rd
Phoenix, AZ, 85006

Comments may also be sent via e-mail to comments-southwestern-TMRTonto@fs.fed.us, or via facsimile (602) 225-5302.

For further information, contact Anne Thomas, Tonto National Forest NEPA Coordinator, 2324 E. McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ, 85006, (602) 225-5213.

Additional Information about Travel Management

Tonto National Forest OHV Use and Management

Arizona OHV Laws and Places to Ride (pdf)

The Travel Management Rule

In 2005, the Forest Service published a new rule for providing motor vehicle access to national forests and grasslands after receiving more than 81,000 comments on a draft rule published in July 2004. Many user groups, environmental groups, and state and local governments endorsed the concept of a designated system of roads, trails, and areas for motor vehicle use.

The final rule requires each national forest and grassland to designate those roads, trails, and areas open to motor vehicle use. Designated routes and areas will be identified on a motor vehicle use map. Motor vehicle use outside of designated routes and areas will be provided for fire, military, emergency, and law enforcement purposes and for use under Forest Service permit. Valid existing rights are honored. The rule also maintains the status quo for snowmobile use, as determined in individual forest plans. The rule itself does not designate roads or areas for motor vehicles but provides a framework for making those decisions at the local level. 

What will change?

Criteria

Now

Change

Off-highway use of motorized vehicles

Cross country travel permitted unless posted closed

Cross country travel only in designated areas* or with written permission

Roads open for public motorized use

All existing roads open unless posted closed or restricted

Only designated roads* open

Trails open for public motorized use

All existing trails open unless posted closed or restricted

Only designated trails* open

Areas open for public motorized use

None

Only designated areas* open

*Designated open roads, trails and areas as depicted on the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM)

Designating Motorized Routes

  • Travel Management Rule sets nationwide, consistent guidelines for the process
  • Regional forester provides region-wide guidelines for the forests
  • Forest supervisor provides forest-wide consistency in process
  •  District rangers are currently in the process of developing a proposal for designated system of roads, trails and areas

The Tonto National Forest, in coordination with the public and interested groups, state, county, and local governments, will designate the roads, trails, and areas for motor vehicle use. This is a public process, and you are encouraged to participate. If you are interested in which routes or areas should be open or closed to motor vehicles, please contact your local ranger district and get involved.

Designations will include class of vehicle and, if appropriate, time of year. Some single-track trails may be designated for motorcycle use only. Other trails will accommodate a wider range of vehicles. Some trails will be managed for nonmotorized use. The key to making these decisions, and ensuring they are sustainable over the long term, will be working together at the local level.

The national forests and grasslands are shared resources held by all Americans. Recreational visitors experience them in many different ways. Across the country, some of our most effective examples of OHV management involve state and local governments, motorized and nonmotorized users, and other affected citizens working together. Partnerships extend the agency's limited resources to accomplish trail maintenance, restore damage, educate users, and promote a spirit of cooperation among national forest visitors.

For further information please contact individual ranger districts,
or contact our Forest NEPA Coordinator
Anne Thomas
phone: 602-225-5213
email: mariannethomas@fs.fed.us