Ring The Peak Trail

DECISION MEMORANDUM

 

Perimeter Loop Trail, Ring the Peak Trail Connections

PIKES PEAK RANGER DISTRICT, PIKE NATIONAL FOREST

EL PASO/TELLER COUNTIES, COLORADO

 

Proposed Action and Decision

The Pikes Peak Ranger District will implement systemizing some existing roads and trails with limited new trail construction that would formalize sections of a new trail network, known as Ring the Peak.  This trail network tiers to and is defined in the Pikes Peak Multi-Use Plan that was completed in September of 1999. This action includes four trail projects known as:

Project #1: Pikes Peak West Summit Trail

Project #2: Mount Esther Relocation

Project #3: Putney Gulch Section

Project #4: Raspberry Mountain Section

This Decision Memorandum does not include Project #5, the proposed Limber Pine Trailhead. It is my decision that this will require a separate Environment Assessment as described by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Teller County Division of Parks will be the proponent and agency responsible for completion of this document with additional public involvement. The Forest Service will provide supervision and review the process to ensure that the requirements defined in NEPA are met.

This Decision Memorandum describes my intent to proceed with implementing Projects #1, #2, #3 and #4. Most of these sections have historical use patterns and this action would correct existing erosion problems and would have minimal environmental impacts. The benefit of this trail network to the quality of life and public would be everlasting.

Scoping and Public Involvement

Public scoping for this project included a direct mailing of over 500 adjacent landowners and individuals, agencies, and groups interested in the management of the Pike National Forest. This scoping document was 10 pages in length with project descriptions and a map.  Additionally, information was posted and will continue to be located on our Internet web site at www.fs.fed.us/r2/psicc/publications. A format for direct comments was utilized.  A newspaper article appeared on December 6, 2001, in The Gazette. The article described the various projects in detail and provided information on how and where to send comments.

A total of 41 responses were received, of those, 26 were specific to Project #5 with a fairly even spilt in favor or opposed. Project # 5 is withdrawn from this Decision Memorandum. A total of 15 responses were received specific to Projects #1, #2, #3, and #4. All 15 responses were in favor of those projects and none in opposition.

The concept of the Ring of Peak Trail was originally scoped and described in the Pikes Peak Multi-Use Plan (PPMUP) that was completed in September of 1999. This was a multi-agency plan that included extensive public involvement over a 2-year period. The PPMUP identified the Perimeter Loop Trail also known as Ring the Peak Trail as the first phase priority for implementation. 

Reasons for Categorically Excluding the Proposed Action

With the exception of Project #5, this action is categorically excluded from documentation in an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment as prescribed in the Forest Service NEPA procedures (Forest Service Handbook, 1909.15). This project fits within the category of actions as described in the Handbook at Section 31.2, Category 3b and 3h, of Forest Service Handbook 1909.15 - Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook. Based on an environmental analysis and past experience, the effects of implementing this action will be of limited context and intensity and will result in little or no environmental effects to either the physical or biological components of the environment.

Finding of No Extraordinary Circumstances

With the exception of Project #5, this action does not involve any adverse effect to extraordinary circumstances. Extraordinary circumstances include, but are not limited to, the presence of steep slopes or highly erosive soils; threatened and endangered species or their critical habitat, flood plains, wetlands, or municipal watersheds; Congressionally designated areas, such as wilderness, wilderness study areas, or National Recreation Areas; inventoried road-less areas; Research Natural Areas; and Native American religious or cultural sites, archaeological sites, historic properties or areas.

Findings Required By Other Laws

The Pike and San Isabel National Forests, Comanche and Cimarron National Grasslands Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan) has been reviewed and a determination made that this decision is consistent with the Forest Plan. The actions in this project comply fully with the goals of the Forest Plan, the Management Area Direction, including that contained under management prescription 2A and 4D, and the Forest -Wide standards and guidelines (See Chapter III) of the Forest Plan.

Floodplains, wetlands, prime lands, threatened and endangered species, minerals, and cultural resource management implications have been considered and these resources will not be adversely affected. 

Implementation Date

This decision is effective immediately. 

Administrative Review or Appeal Opportunities

This decision is not subject to appeal pursuant to 36 CFR Part 215.8(a)(4).

 

Contact Person

Frank M. Landis

Pike National Forest

Pikes Peak Ranger District

601 S. Weber

Colorado Springs, CO  80903

719-477-4203

Signature and Date

/s/William R. Nelson

February 19, 2002

WILLIAM R. NELSON

District Ranger

Date

 

 





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