Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The long road of contention: Forest Service gets an earful from county residents over Travel Management Plan

After hearing from a number of people who were concerned the U.S. Forest Service proposed Travel Management Plan would cut off access to their favorite camping and hunting sites, the agency agreed to facilitate meetings of people familiar with specific areas of the forest to make sure all known roads and trails are marked on maps. When all are marked, the committees would help decide which should remain open, which redundant roads should be closed and which are effectively closed already because they are impassable...An attendee challenged the Forest Service’s ability to work with private land owners, saying it was outside the scope of the project. Monnig disagreed with that assessment, but said he would have agency lawyers review applicable rules. In addition to answering questions, the Forest Service heard criticism from a number of people who questioned the way the process has been handled. Grant Gerber spoke against what he called a “policy of deception that seems unacceptable.” He said the Forest Service intentionally misled people about their plans to close roads, citing Elko Daily Free Press articles and meetings held with county officials. Jarbidge District Ranger Gar Abbas attributed it to miscommunication, which Gerber challenged...Elko Daily Press

I posted an AP story on this issue yesterday.

The Elko Daily Press has done an excellent job in covering this controversy. In addition to the story above, see their:

Forest Service plan calls for some closures in area

County pulls out of road plan: Commissioners won’t work with Forest Service officials on closures

USFS officials: Misconceptions abound

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