Travel Management Draft Record of Decision Released

Release Date: 

Contacts:

  • Virginia Gibbons, Public Affairs Officer, (541) 618-2113
  • David Krantz, Forest Planner, (541) 618-2126

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Supervisor Rob MacWhorter announced today that a Final Supplemental Environment Impact Statement (FSEIS) and a draft Record of Decision (dROD) has been issued for Travel Management-Subpart B Motorized Vehicle Use on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. 

“After careful consideration of the five alternatives, along with the comments and concerns brought forward through our government to government relationship with the local tribes and county governments, citizen and stakeholder groups, I have made a selection that balances meeting the resource protection objectives of the Travel Management Plan-Subpart B, while maintaining adequate access to motorized use,” said  MacWhorter.

By selecting a Modified Alternative 5 the forest will:

  • Designate approximately 4,479* miles of road as open to the public, with 1,355 miles of road that will be open to highway legal vehicles only and the remaining 3,141 miles of road where mixed use will be allowed.  Mixed use is defined as designation of a National Forest System (NFS) road for use by both highway-legal and non-highway-legal motor vehicles.
  • Convert approximately 2 miles of NFS roads to motorized trails.
  • Prohibit public motorized use on approximately 17 miles of roads and 53 miles of trail currently open to motorized use in order to minimize or reduce resource damage.
  • Designate approximately 15 acres as the Woodruff play area where motorized cross-country travel will be allowed (existing Prospect OHV system). 
  • Prohibit all other cross-country motorized travel.
  • Prohibit motorized use on 774 miles of maintenance level 1 roads that are currently administratively closed and not intended for wheeled motorized use.
  • The McGrew Trail will be administratively closed but recreational motorized use will be allowed under a special use permitting system. The area will remain subject to seasonal closures to reduce the risk of the spread of Port-Orford-cedar root disease.

*Miles of road/trail are approximate and may vary slightly due to complex and overlapping data sets

These modifications reduce many potential impacts to natural resources, such as botanical, hydrology, fisheries, soils, terrestrial wildlife, and forest vegetation.

After the decision is finalized, a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) will be published reflecting the routes where public motorized use is allowed.  Some routes may not be initially shown on this map if they are in an unsafe state or the road’s condition is causing resource damage.  Annual updates to the MVUM will reflect changes to authorized routes that are managed to Forest Service road and trail standards.

This document replaces the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Motorized Vehicle Use on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest that was completed in 2009.  After the 2009 EIS was withdrawn in 2010, a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) was prepared to add clarification and analysis.

Public comments were considered from the DSEIS and numerous field trips were made by the Forest Supervisor to many of the most contentious routes with interdisciplinary team members, forest leadership and members of the public. Public comments generally identified issues with these routes that included damage to botanical, wildlife, cultural, wilderness, or other Forest resources.

Modifications that were made specific to concerns brought forth by public comments:

  1. Prohibit motorized use on trail spurs off the McGrew Trail. 
  2. Do not authorize Maintenance Level 1 Roads (roads that are not maintained) conversions to motorized trails in the Signal Buttes and Fairview Mountain vicinity.
  3. Allow motorized class III (motorcycle) use on the Illinois River Trail to the old Fantz Ranch location seasonally to coincide with the Oregon State hunting seasons for deer, elk and bear. 
  4. Prohibit motorized use on the impassable portion of the Silver Peak-Hobson Horn Trails.
  5. Prohibit motorized use on a portion of the Boundary Trail.
  6. Prohibit motorized use on riparian dispersed camps along the Elk River.
  7. Prohibit motorized use on Game Lake and Lawson Creek Trails until they are maintained to standard for motorized trails.
  8. Prohibit motorized use on Nancy Creek Trail
  9. Defer authorization and construction of the 1.2 miles of the Penn Sled proposed re-route east of Applegate Lake

Individuals or organizations that submitted specific written comments during any designated opportunity for public participation may object.  Objections must be postmarked or received by the Reviewing Officer, Regional Forester, within 45 days from the date of publication in the Medford Mail Tribune, or September 18, 2015.  The 45-day objection period ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on November 2, 2015. A 45-day resolution period will follow, with an optional 30-day extension.  The final Record of Decision and release of a Motor Vehicle Use Map is scheduled for the spring of 2016.

To view a copy of the dROD, FSEIS and additional information, visit our forest website at www.fs.fed.us/nepa/fs-usda-pop.php?project=33404.