TMR Proposed Action
Note: This page contains historical information regarding the Coconino National Forest Travel Management Rule Proposed Action. For current information and documents, see the Travel Management Environmental Impact Statement.
Open Houses and Public Participation
In fall of 2006, we hosted several open houses across northern Arizona, and our staff attended additional meetings since then in order to gather ideas regarding motorized forest travel from everyone concerned: neighbors and visitors, state, county, local and tribal governments, and other Federal agencies. The public's interest and time spent so far in participating in our project planning has been much appreciated. During this process, it was obvious that many different people recreate or use the Coconino National Forest in many different ways. Sometimes, these differences lead to conflict. But the common theme among the public was that they enjoy their National Forests.
The Proposed Action focused on changes to the forest’s existing transportation system; we are not proposing any change to existing authorized motorized trails or the Cinder Hills OHV area or areas currently closed or restricting motor vehicles.
The Proposed Action includes amending the Forest Plan to prohibit “off-road” driving across the entire forest. However, we still plan to allow motor vehicles limited access off designated routes for the purpose of dispersed camping. We propose to close numerous roads that are unnecessary or redundant, or that cannot be adequately maintained, or that compromise the integrity of sensitive resources.
However, we also proposed to add some currently unauthorized or “user-created” routes to the forest transportation system in order to provide access to points of interest and maintain some longer distance loop-riding opportunities.
While the Proposed Action will reduce miles of National Forest System roads, we intend to maintain adequate motorized access to the forest. In conjunction with existing motorized trails and the Cinder Hills OHV area, the Proposed Action would result in approximately 3,950 miles of designated roads and trails and one 13,711-acre area open to motor vehicles on the forest.
Unfortunately, the Proposed Action will not meet everyone’s specific need or desire. For instance, several groups have expressed concern about the lack of motorized trails currently on the forest and they feel that opportunities for trail riding will be even less after off-road driving is prohibited. These groups suggested potential new motorized trails during the travel analysis process. Our preliminary effects analysis found resource concerns with some of these specific trail proposals; other suggestions were more general in nature and we did not have sufficient staffing or time to analyze these conceptual ideas. For these reasons, we did not include additional motorized trails in the Proposed Action.
Scoping and the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
Scoping is an ongoing procedure that was used to identify important issues and determine the extent of analysis necessary for an informed decision on a Proposed Action. The forest prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze the impacts of this Proposed Action and any alternatives that were considered. Publication of a Notice of Intent (NOI) in the Federal Register initiated the scoping process under provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act. During the scoping period, the Forest Service sought comments on the merits of the Proposed Action, as well as comments that addressed errors or information that was omitted, or possible alternatives to be considered in our environmental analysis. Those comments were considered, and alternatives were developed, in preparation of the next stage--the Draft EIS.
The Notice of Intent for this project was published on July 25, 2007. Comments were accepted until close-of-business September 10, 2007.
The Draft EIS
The Draft EIS is scheduled to be released in the March 2010. Another 45-day comment period on the Draft EIS will begin once the Draft EIS is released. Comments on the Draft EIS will be considered and used to update and further refine the Travel Management Rule. After the 45-day Draft EIS comment period, comments will be analyzed and considered before releasing the Final EIS. The Final EIS is scheduled to be released in August 2010, and the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) should be available late in 2010.
Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record on this project and will be available for public inspection. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, those who submit anonymous comments will not have standing to appeal the subsequent decision under 36 CFR 215, if the NEPA documentation results in an appeasable decision.
Additionally, pursuant to 7 CFR 1.27(d), any persons can request the agency to withhold a submission from the public record by showing how the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) permits such confidentiality. Persons requesting such confidentiality should be aware that, under the FOIA, confidentiality may be granted in only limited circumstances, such as to protect trade secrets. The Forest Service will inform the requester of the agency’s decision regarding the request for confidentiality, and where the request is denied; the agency will return the submission and notify the requester that the comments may be resubmitted with or without name and address within seven days.
Proposed NFS roads, trails and areas open to motorized travel on the Coconino National Forest (12 tiled maps of the forest). These maps will open in a new window in your browser. Click the tiles below for that section.
Map displaying distance to nearest proposed open road on non-wilderness Coconino National Forest land. This map will open in a new window in your browser.