St. Joe Ranger District Travel Management Plan

 

Project Timeline for the St. Joe District Management Plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under the 2005 Travel Management Rule each National Forest is to designate roads, trails, and areas that will be open to the public, identify the type of wheeled motorized vehicles that are allowed to use these routes, and publish this information on a Motorized Vehicle Use Map (MVUM). Once the map is published cross-country wheeled motorized vehicle use will be prohibited.
 

Click here for maps and NEPA-related documents
 

Greetings from Matt Davis, District Ranger of the St. Joe Ranger District:

The St. Joe Travel Management Environmental Assessment (EA) has been updated and is available for your review and comment. I want to express my gratitude for the time and effort that many of you have spent over the years to help us develop the proposed action and alternatives. Several items of legislation, policy, and direction have changed since the EA was released in 2009, so I’d like to give you an update, explain the delay, and describe the next steps in the process.

After the EA was released in 2009 the former District Ranger and the district’s interdisciplinary team reviewed public comments and developed Alternative C-Modified in response. We revised the EA to update information, make corrections, respond to comments, provide clarification, include project file document numbers, and include Alternative C-Modified -- later renamed "Alternative D".

 


 

 

We worked with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as required by the Endangered Species Act, to obtain their concurrence with our findings for Alternative C-Modified. That process took two years, and we received a letter from U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service late in 2011 concurring with our findings.

During that time, the St. Joe RD and the Forest had multiple process changes (e.g., the new Forest Plan and the objection process) and were accomplishing several landscape-scale vegetation projects.

Two dirt bikers riding a trail

 

A group of ATV and dirt bike riders As our schedules allowed, we updated the Travel Plan EA to reflect new information, policy, and planning processes. In late 2014 the new Forest Plan for The Idaho Panhandle National Forest was nearing completion, so we began incorporating that information into the analysis and documentation.

 

The new Forest Plan was approved in January 2015; based on that, a forest order which prohibits motorized use in recommended wilderness areas was signed in April 2015. This changed the existing condition for travel management on the St. Joe Ranger District in recommended wilderness. Some trails that were undesignated, but had been available for motorized use in the past, are now closed to motorized use. The 2015 St. Joe Travel Management EA, now available for your review online, incorporates all these updates and includes Alternative C-Modified as “Alternative D”.

SUV and Trailer


Although it is not technically required, I felt it important to give the public another chance to review and comment on the EA before I issue a draft decision notice because of the time that has elapsed, the changes that have occurred, our new objection process, and our new forest plan.

The St. Joe Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) is available. The MVUM displays those roads and trails designated for public motorized use, specifying vehicle class and time of year, on the St. Joe Ranger District. Cross-country motorized use is prohibited off designated motorized routes, except in limited areas for dispersed camping. The MVUM is free to the public and is the principal education and law enforcement tool for travel management. It is the responsibility of forest users to get Motor Vehicle Use Maps from Forest Service offices or websites, and to ensure they are only using motorized vehicles on routes designated for their particular motorized vehicle.

Maps for the Project

We will not be sending the 24 maps that support the EA due to printing expenses. These maps are available online or printed on 11" X 17" sheets of paper. Copies of the larger maps are available for review at:

  • St. Joe Ranger District in St. Maries, Idaho
     
  • St. Joe Ranger District near Avery, Idaho
     
  • IPNF Supervisor’s Office , Coeur d’Alene, Idaho


Your Comments and the Objection Process


Your comments will be used to help us refine our analysis and formulate a draft decision (DN) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI). This additional legal comment period ends September 8, 2015. In submitting comments, please provide specific facts along with supporting reasons that you believe I should consider in reaching a decision. Comments may be submitted to our office, by email, in person, or by phone.


Written comments may be submitted to:
Matthew Davis
St. Joe Travel Management
222 South 7th Street Suite 1
St. Maries, ID 83861
 

 

Send emails with comments to: comments-northern-idahopanhandle-stjoe@fs.fed.us. The subject line must contain the name of the project for which you are submitting comments, in this case: St. Joe Travel Management. Oral comments must be provided at my office during normal business hours via telephone or in person or, if during non-business hours, must be at an official agency function designed to elicit public comment. For More Information

 

My staff and I will review comments and, if necessary, update the project based on comments. I will then issue the draft decision notice to begin the objection period. We will circulate a draft DN to those who commented anytime during this process (including the earlier steps in 2009 and before) to provide an opportunity to object to the decision before it is signed. I anticipate the draft DN and FONSI to be completed later this fall. Once we are through the entire process, I will sign a decision and we will begin implementing the plan with the publication of a motor vehicle use map.
A group going over the travel planning Thank you for your contributions!
I want to thank all of you who took the time and made the effort to help us develop the alternatives considered in the EA. The contributions of the St. Joe Focus Group and the greater public were invaluable for developing the alternatives for the travel management plan.
 

 Matthew Davis
District Ranger
St. Joe Ranger District
Idaho Panhandle National Forest