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TNF Issues Motorized Travel Management Final EIS and Decision

Nevada City, CA (Oct 5, 2010) — Forest Supervisor Tom Quinn announced his decision for the Travel Management Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). "I have selected Alternative 6 with some modifications. I believe this alternative strikes a balance between providing motorized recreation access and protecting critical natural and cultural resources. This decision recognizes the extensive network of roads and motorized trails that currently exist on the Tahoe National Forest (TNF). Although the decision will reduce the amount of motorized opportunities as compared to the existing condition, approximately 83% of the Forest will be within ½ mile of an authorized road or motorized trail," stated Quinn.

The existing National Forest Transportation System of roads and motorized trails in the TNF is approximately 2400 miles and includes one open motorcycle area, Prosser Pits north of Truckee. With this new decision, the following will be added to the existing motorized system for public use:

Other attributes of the decision include:

"Over the course of this project, we have received substantial input from the public. Despite differences of opinion, these comments revealed a strong connection with public lands on the TNF and the importance of both motorized and non-motorized recreation. I greatly appreciate the time that the public has spent working with us, sharing their views and ideas and reviewing the documents. I hope that we will continue to have a good partnership as we move toward implementation of the decision and in future projects," stated Quinn.

History: From 1982 to 2000, the number of people driving off-highway motor vehicles more than doubled in the US with similar growth patterns in the TNF. The Forest Service initiated travel management planning in 2003 by mapping and inventorying roads, trails and routes. In addition to the 2400 miles of National Forest Transportation System roads and motorized trails, there are approximately 869 miles of unauthorized routes on the Forest, many of which have been used for a long time and some of which have been created more recently. In addition, the Forest has 830 miles of closed system roads, some of which are being used for unauthorized motorized vehicles.

The purposes of this process have been to determine 1) which of the unauthorized routes should be added to the Forest transportation system; 2) what measures should be taken to protect motorized routes during wet weather; 3) if there are safety concerns mixing non-highway vehicles (and young unlicensed drivers) with passenger vehicles on the same road; and 4) what open areas should be established. To assist with these questions, many public meetings, workshops, open houses have been held. A Draft EIS was issued in 2008 and a Supplemental Draft EIS was issued in the spring of 2010.

The Final EIS and Record of Decision are available on line at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/tahoe/projects_plans/ohv_inv/ . CD’s and a limited number of hard copy documents are available from the Forest Headquarters in Nevada City. For questions, contact the Tahoe National Forest Headquarters, 530-265-4531.