Monday, January 10, 2011

New plan out for Gila motorized travel

The Gila National Forest responded to sportsmen's comments and concerns voiced last fall and has developed a new preferred alternative for its motorized travel plan. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement released recently lays out six alternatives, ranging from the status quo to substantial changes in where motorized vehicles can be used. The Forest Service's preferred option — Alternative G — falls near the middle. It would reduce redundant routes and the total mileage of open roads in the forest to about 3,300 miles, but allows the network of ATV-width trails to expand. The preferred option also shows the Forest Service has listened to hunters on the issue of off-road motorized game retrieval, according to the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. Alternative G would not allow unlimited motorized retrieval, but would instead permit game retrieval up to 300 feet on either side of the road in areas where motorized dispersed camping or woodcutting is allowed. This follows the recommendation of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and a majority of sportsmen's comments. There will be open house meetings to learn more about the alternatives. Forest Service personnel will be on hand to answer questions. The following are the dates for the open house events: * Thursday, Jan. 13, Sierra County Fair Building in Truth or Consequences, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. * Saturday, Jan. 15, Grant Count Convention Center, Silver City, from 10a.m. to 4 p.m. * Thursday, Jan. 20, Catron County Fairgrounds, Reserve, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. * Saturday, Jan. 29, Hotel Encanto, Las Cruces, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m...more

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