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Motorized Travel Management Plan (Inyo National Forest)

The Forest Service has been inventorying and analyzing authorized and unauthorized motorized trails and motorized routes in all national forest with the intent of updating the system of authorized motorized routes which will be shown on new public maps and closing unauthorized routes. In our local Inyo National Forest this process began in 2002 with gathering of detailed information on what routes and trails presently exist. There are currently 1,341 miles of authorized roads and 1,699 miles of unauthorized routes of various kinds. A group of local citizens met to develop a proposed route system for the Inyo. A number of ROLG members participated in this process. Taking this input, the Forest Service produced a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in early 2009 that offered six alternative route proposals (the citizenís proposal plus five others ranging from no action  to maximum motorized access to a minimum impact on cultural and natural resources system). The public comment period for this DEIS closed on March 30, 2009. ROLG submitted comments urging adoption of alternative 6 (the citizensí proposal) both because of the substance of this proposal that best met the needs of the majority of interested parties and because of the collaborative process used to arrive at this alternative in which members of the group agreed on the status of about 95% of the routes. This alternative prohibits cross-country motorized travel off of designated roads and trails, adds 861 miles of unauthorized routes and 134 miles of unauthorized trails to the authorized system. It converts 161 miles of existing authorized roads to authorized trails.  A decision by Inyo National Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch is expected by summer, 2009. Implementation, including signage, maps, closing of authorized routes, restoration, and citizen education, will follow the decision.

This process does not address non-motorized trails. Hopefully, the outcome will result in better protection of the environment and decreased illegal driving activity off of designated routes and trails. It will also close many of the unauthorized and duplicate routes which presently crisscross some forest regions.

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Page Last Updated February 22, 2014