UPDATED - Environmental Assessment for Motorized Travel Management Available For Review and Comment

July 3, 2016 -- The Travel Management project page and comment site is experiencing technical difficulties, so we have posted all of the documents and maps HERE. If you’re having trouble getting to the project site or logging in to submit comments, please note—you have other options for submitting comment letters;  you can email a comment into the project inbox at link below, or by postal mail (must be submitted or postmarked by July 8), or come back to project page and try again later.  

Alternative Website for Draft Environmental Assessment for Travel Management

Send comments via email:

okawen-travel-management@fs.fed.us

Mail comments:

Methow Valley Ranger District
Attn: Jennifer Zbyszewski
24 West Chewuch Road
Winthrop, WA 98862


Wenatchee, WA — The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is announcing release of the Draft Environmental Assessment (Draft EA) for Motorized Travel Management. The Draft EA will be available to the public for review and comment for 30 days starting on June 8.

ATV on forest roadThe 2005 Travel Management Rule requires each National Forest to designate roads, trails and areas open to motor vehicle use by vehicle class and time of year and close the forest to cross-country use. Travel management planning is necessary because of growing recreation use and changes in the types of motorized recreation on the Forest. Districts have noticed an increase over the past several years in the numbers of user-built trails occurring in places where they cause resource damage, either because they are on slopes or soils that cannot support that use or they impact threatened and endangered species habitat, like riparian vegetation or fish-bearing streams. The Preferred Alternative in the Draft EA strikes a balance that continues to provide motorized access to National Forest System roads and trails while sustaining the health of National Forest lands and resources including soil, water quality and wildlife habitat.

“Motorized recreation and access is important. The Preferred Alternative continues to provide access to motorized users on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest,” said Mike Williams, Forest Supervisor. “The Preferred Alternative “B” in the Draft EA looks specifically at adopting our existing system of motorized roads and trails. It provides for 1,640 miles of corridors where motorized access to dispersed camping would be allowed while closing the forest to cross-country travel to prevent resource damage.”

The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, stakeholders and the public have been involved in the travel management process for nearly ten years.

Motorcycle rider on trail“We appreciate all of the effort by stakeholders and the public in the process so far,” stated Mike Williams. “That input helped us understand the complexity and scope of this project. While the current EA is narrower in scope than what was initiated ten years ago, the input received throughout the last ten years will not be lost. That input will be used on a project-by-project basis and any decisions regarding future changes will be made on a local level, separate from this process.”

The following Open Houses are planned to answer questions about the Draft Environmental Assessment and the process for commenting.  Each open house will last 1.5 hours beginning at 5:00 p.m. and ending at 6:30 p.m.

  • Yakima Valley Museum in Yakima, WA on June 20
  • Mercer Island Community Center  Mercer Island, WA on June 21
  • Kittitas County Event Center in Ellensburg, WA on June 22
  • Apple Annies in Cashmere, WA on June 23
  • Okanogan PUD, in Okanogan, WA on June 24

Forest Supervisor Mike Williams is seeking comments on the alternatives and associated effects analysis.  The Draft Environmental Assessment describing the environmental effects of the alternatives can be found online at fs.usda.gov/project/?project=46467

To be most helpful, direct comments specifically to concerns or issues with the proposed action and alternatives. Comments will be accepted for 30 days from the day following publication of the legal notice of availability of the Draft document in the Wenatchee World.  Comments submitted, including the names and addresses of those who comment will then be considered part of the public record for the project.  Written comments can be submitted online at fs.usda.gov/project/?project=46467 (link to comment is on the right side of page) and via postal mail or hand delivery to the attention of the Forest Supervisor of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, 215 Melody Lane, Wenatchee Washington 98801.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Zbyszewski, Project Team Leader at 509-996-4021.





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/okawen/home/?cid=fseprd504482