Travel Analysis Report (Travel Management – Subpart A)
Over-Snow Vehicle Use & Groomed Winter Trails (Travel Management - Subpart C)
The Plumas National Forest is beginning to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the designation of over-snow vehicle (OSV) use, in order to comply with Subpart C (use by over-snow vehicles) of the Forest Service’s Travel Management Rule & a settlement agreement with Snowlands Network et al..
The intent of this effort is to designate National Forest System roads, trails, and areas that are open to OSV use, as well as identify snow trails available for grooming.
Five Forests are currently undergoing a similar analysis including the Lassen, Tahoe, Eldorado, Stanislaus, and Plumas. All five forests will be completing environmental impact statements with decisions due in the next two years. The Plumas is fifth in the line of decisions.
More information on Subpart C and the 2005 Travel Management Rule
Please visit the Project Webpage to submit comments online, view the Proposed Action and other related documents, use the interactive mapping feature, and learn more about this project.
Public scoping meetings were held:
- Thursday, October 8, 2015 – Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds – Mineral Building, 204 Fairground Road, Quincy, CA, 5pm – 7pm.
- Wednesday, October 14, 2015 – Chalet View Lodge Conference Room, 72056 Hwy 70, Portola/Graeagle, CA, 5pm – 7pm.
- Thursday, October 15, 2015 – Feather River Ranger District Office, 875 Mitchell Avenue, Oroville, CA, 5pm-7pm.
- Tuesday, October 27, 2015 – Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds – Mineral Building, 204 Fairground Road, Quincy, CA, 6pm – 8pm
- Thursday, November 5, 2015 - Sierra City Community Hall, 14 Castagna Alley (off Hwy 49), Sierra City, CA, 6:00 – 8:00 pm.
Commonly Asked Questions
Scoping Meeting Maps:
A public pre-NEPA meeting was held on November 6, 2014 at the Plumas-Sierra County Fair Mineral Building. A summary report of that and other national forest pre-scoping meetings is available.
Your input on this project is encouraged. To assure your comments are fully considered during the scoping phase of this project, please submit them by November 30, 2015. This date reflects a second extension of the comment period. Additional comments are welcome throughout the planning process.
We encourage you to submit written comments electronically using the “Comment on Project” option on the project webpage.
You may also send written comments to:
Plumas National Forest
Attention: David C. Wood
159 Lawrence Street
Quincy, CA 95971
Individuals who use telecommunications devices for the deaf (TTY) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at (800) 877-8339 TTY, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Motorized (OHV) Travel Management (Travel Management – Subpart B)
The Plumas National Forest (PNF) has completed the first phase of its travel management planning effort (36 CFR 212, Travel Management Regulations- Subpart B) establishing a baseline forest transportation system for motorized vehicles. The decision designates roads and trails as open to motor vehicle use and prohibits cross-country travel. The effort generally focuses on the proliferation of unauthorized motorized travel routes and makes the decision which, if any, of those routes should be added to the PNF National Forest Transportation System (NFTS). The decision culminates 6 years of planning with more than 20 community meetings, workshops and open houses.
Forest Supervisor Alice Carlton signed the Record of Decision on August 30, 2010.
Existing NFTS Prior to Decision
The existing NFTS on the PNF available for public use is approximately 4,137 miles of roads and 130 miles of motorized trails plus one open area. The Forest also has about 214 miles of closed system roads; roads which may be needed for future forest management but are currently closed to reduce impacts.
Decision Building Process: Prior to the start of the environmental analysis, about 1107 miles of unauthorized routes on the forest were inventoried; some old, some newly created. The inventory included routes identified by the Forest Service and routes submitted over several seasons by interested members of the community. The routes were filtered to remove short dead end spurs (largely temporary timber sale skid trails), routes without legal Right of Way across private property, routes causing extreme resource damage, and other resource problems. Care was taken to provide access to as many key recreation destinations as possible and to provide linkages or loop opportunities between routes. Resource specialists then surveyed about 410 miles for potential inclusion in the NFTS.
Selected Alternative & Decision
Alternative 5 was selected, with the exception of one 600’ trail segment (end of Trail 8M11 off Schneider Rock Road 24N29) showing positive test results for asbestos. This decision strikes a balance between providing motorized recreation access and protecting critical natural and cultural resources on the PNF.
In addition, there were some changes to Alternative 5 between the draft environmental impact statement and the final decision. Those changes were analyzed and documented in the FEIS. The changes affected 17 miles of trails and a 36 acre open area, based on the need to avoid critical aquatic refuge for the threatened CA red-legged frog.
This decision does:
- Provide critical recreation opportunities by adding 234 miles of trails to the existing authorized motorized system. Of these, 156 miles are suitable for all vehicles; 39 miles are suitable for vehicles up to 50” wide and 39 miles for motorcycles only. The decision will increase the Forest’s motorized trail network from 130 miles to 364 miles. Some routes will be available immediately (see Table 1 in the ROD) upon implementation of the decision while some routes must have maintenance work (see Table 2 in the ROD) completed before they can be legally used.
- Provide 4,482 total miles of road and trail access on the Plumas National Forest, of which, 4,118 are available for passenger car use; 4,383 are available for 4-Wheel Drive use; 3,802 are available for unlicensed ATV use; 3,855 are available for unlicensed motorcycle use; and, 4,482 are available for licensed motorcycle use. To summarize, 627 miles are paved or smoothly graded roads, 3,491 miles are roughly graded roads, 265 miles are 4WD trails suitable for all vehicles, 46 miles are All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) trails suitable for vehicles less than 50”, and 53 miles are motorcycle trails. Volunteers, funding and a prioritization plan will be necessary to accomplish this maintenance.
- Protect natural resources by prohibiting motorized travel off national forest system roads or motorized trails on approximately 1.2 million acres of the Plumas National Forest
- Decrease the average density of roads, trails and unauthorized trails from 2.44 miles per square mile to 2.09 miles per square mile
- Not affect hiking or horse , bicycle or snowmobile use across the forest
Other Attributes of the Decision
Seasonal Restrictions: Seasons of allowed use have been placed on a small number of routes (53 miles) to protect nesting bald eagles, spotted owls and goshawks along with CA red-legged and mountain yellow-legged frog movement during wet periods. Protection is also important for some highly erodible soils during wet periods. Because these routes have very high recreation value, seasons of allowed use allow recreation users some access.
Motorized Mixed Use: Mixing both highway legal and non-highway legal vehicles will be limited to 4.1 miles on Slate Creek Road (Rd. 24N28) to provide important ATV access between trails.
Dispersed Recreation Spurs: Ninety nine short unauthorized road segments (1/2 mile or less) were added to provide dispersed recreation opportunities. Sites along roads and trails are considered part of the transportation system and are also available for parking allowing access to these dispersed recreational sites. A designation of a road or trail includes all terminal facilities, trailheads, parking lots, and turnouts associated with the road or trail.
Protection of Inventoried Roadless and Wilderness Areas: This decision does not add any motorized trails to Wilderness or Inventoried Roadless Areas.
Access to private land: This decision does not designate motorized trails to or through private land where the Forest Service does not have right of way nor does the decision change existing right of way access for adjacent private landowners.
Decommissioning unauthorized routes: This decision, by itself, does not authorize any route decommissioning. Decommissioning would need to be identified in a future project, analyzed with opportunities for public involvement, and approved, or not.
New Construction: This decision does not authorize any new construction or reconstruction activities. As with decommissioning, these activities would need to be approved in a project specific analysis with public involvement.
Fuel-wood gathering, hunting or big game retrieval: Vehicles will not be allowed to leave the designed transportation system to travel cross country for these purposes with the exception of picking up cut firewood within 100’ of a national forest system road.
Parking off road or trail: Vehicles may park one vehicle length off the road or trail. Hardened pullouts and wide areas that are contiguous to the road or trail are considered part of same.
Actions outside of this Decision but related to motorized travel on the PNF:
One hundred and fifty miles of roads previously available only for highway legal vehicles are now available to all vehicles as road maintenance levels were downgraded to reflect their existing rougher conditions.
For more information on this and other recreation topics, including special needs, please contact any of the following Plumas National Forest Recreation personnel:
- Mary Sullivan, Feather River Ranger District, Oroville, (530) 534-6500
- Erika Brenzovich, Mt. Hough Ranger District, Quincy, (530) 283-0555
- Debbie Fryberger-Eby, Beckwourth Ranger District, Blairsden, (530) 836-2575