SELC Files Notice of Intent - Tellico OHV Area at Risk - Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum
 
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Old 06-28-2007, 04:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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SELC Files Notice of Intent - Tellico OHV Area at Risk

This is a repost from the land use section on PBB



SELC joins sportsmen, other conservationists in protecting native trout streams in Nantahala National Forest


Severe erosion of ORV trails in the Tellico Area of the Nantahala National Forest channels muddy water to nearby streams, threatening some of the last brook trout populations in the Southern Appalachians.

For generations of Southerners, the brook trout is a symbol of the region's natural bounty and plentiful outdoors recreation opportunities. The native species, which survives only in the cleanest, coldest water, is also a symbol of water quality in our mountains.

Decades of intensive logging, sprawl development and other impacts have polluted trout streams and extirpated brookies from much of their historical range. In the South, some of the last, best habitat for this fish is on public lands.

One of these areas is the upper Tellico River watershed, with headwaters in the Nantahala National Forest in Cherokee County, North Carolina; the watershed flows into the Cherokee National Forest in bordering Tennessee. For years, Tellico has been a popular destination for anglers.

It's also become one of the largest and most intensively used areas for off-road vehicle (ORV) users. The sport entails driving customized "monster" trucks, as well as smaller all-terrain vehicles through rugged terrain - the steeper the trails, the more challenging. And the more damaging to the forest floor and water quality.

Years of heavy use and erosion have turned trails in the Tellico area into massive ditches, some more than seven feet deep. In wet conditions, these ditches channel muddy water into nearby streams.

The US Forest Service has designated 40 miles of trails in the Tellico area for ORV use - twice the legal limit. This doesn't take into account the innumberable smaller illegal trails forged by ORV users. Further, in violation of federal and state law, many of these trails are within 100 feet of streams and creeks. The agency's own studies show that brook trout populations in the area and downstream in Tennessee have declined due to impacts from ORV use. Yet the agency has failed to take the necessary steps to protect and restore the trout streams.

On June 28, SELC filed a "notice of intent to sue" the agency for failing to enforce the law. We are representing Trout Unlimited, both the North Carolina and Tennessee Councils, as well as Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project. We are calling on the Forest Service to permanently close the most environmentally damaging trails, and seasonally close the entire system.

With ORV use growing rapidly in the South's national forests, our legal action aims to make clear to the Forest Service its responsibility to get on top of the problem now.

For additional information: http://southernstudies.org/facingsou...onists-sue.asp
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Old 06-28-2007, 07:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This sounds serious, is there a petition we can sign? What can be done?
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Old 06-28-2007, 07:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This is scary! Please keep us posted and advise on what we can do to help our cause.
Thanks
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Old 06-28-2007, 08:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 06-28-2007, 08:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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not tellico too. I like to fish but Id rather wheel
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Old 06-29-2007, 05:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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it sounds like their biggest complaint is the dirt getting into the water either when we spin tires or it rains. Would putting up the black fencing (silt fence i think its called) along the areas where this is a problem help? I know it wouldnt be the greatest looking or most "natural" but it would keep both parties happy.
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Old 06-29-2007, 06:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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silt fence wont work - its for sheet flow, not channelized flow. Silt fence is also a temporary measure. What is needed is more help with trail maintenance - not just a few people doing all the work.
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Old 06-29-2007, 08:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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This is the exact reason why 4x4 clubs and organizations like southern 4 wheel drive( www.sfwda.org ) together with the forest service work to keep the streams clean..

this is the reason why we build bridges over creeks and streams.. we also build culverts to direct run off rain water from going down the trails directly into the streams..

This has always been an ongoing fight with national forest

we have seen this before at Tellico at Uwharrie, and others..

So please remember this when wheeling..
IE: no need to haul ass threw a stream or spin your tires..we need to work together to fight this and keep these trails open..
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Old 06-29-2007, 10:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It will always be a problem, the other side doesn't know the joy we have in wheeling they would rather just have there activities and the hell with ours.
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Old 06-29-2007, 04:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eventhough View Post
What is needed is more help with trail maintenance - not just a few people doing all the work.
true . i need to try and plan a weekend to go help out.
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So please remember this when wheeling..
IE: no need to haul ass threw a stream or spin your tires..we need to work together to fight this and keep these trails open..
x2 and does anyone know of any good atv forums ? those guys need to know about all of this. maybe it would help our cause better if at least a handful of those guys knew about land issues and such. like dont litter and please stay on the trail .
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Old 06-29-2007, 07:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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This is scary! Please keep us posted and advise on what we can do to help our cause.
Thanks
We are working on a work schedule and we do need help, especially during the week. We need people to run escort and spot for the dump truck.If you want to help PM me or Rob your phone number and what time frame you can work.
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Old 06-30-2007, 06:30 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Unfortunatly I live 300 miles from the trail, but I will be in the area july 2,3,4 if you need help.
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Old 06-30-2007, 06:49 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Same here. I'm 5.5 hours away. The NAXJA Crawl is going on the week after the 4th. IF I can help on Thursday or after that let me know. I will be at crawfords from Tuesday evening till SUnday.
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Old 06-30-2007, 09:03 AM   #14 (permalink)
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As I was reading about the lawsuit I started to look at the pictures that they are using. The question I have is has someone gone north of the trails and taken pics or the water after a rain. That would showcase if it is truly a ORV problem or just a natural problem of the forest. If it gets to the point that the fish become endangered they will definitely shut the part down where it effects the water. There is a river in WV called the Kanawha or something like that and it flows in to the Ohio. Well after a real heavy rain that river gets super nasty with mud. I haven't seen a lawsuit there yet and it is the same case. I think they have a legit bitch if it is US causing the problem so that makes it OUR problem to fix. So the real question is what can we do to fix it. I leave about 8 hours away and have never been there but I am a wheeler and take it personal to help where I can. For those that are close let us know what we can do to help fix the problem.
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Old 06-30-2007, 09:34 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Is this going to end up in court? Who is going to defend our side? Anybody a lawyer on here that can give us an idea? Where are they getting their number of 20 miles of trail as the legal limit?

In the meantime, the bridges are a step in the right direction. I'm thinking that Lower 2, Slickrock, and Peckerwood would be the ones that drain directly into the river and would be the first to get permanently closed if no water diversion structures/ silt stoppers are made..

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Old 06-30-2007, 09:57 AM   #16 (permalink)
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It sounds like propoganda to me... I agree, where is the proof to back it up?
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Old 06-30-2007, 10:27 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Read these

http://southernstudies.org/facingsou...onists-sue.asp

http://www.selcga.org/cases/tellico_orv/index.htm
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Old 06-30-2007, 10:37 AM   #18 (permalink)
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http://www.dailycomet.com/article/20.../APN/706280872

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article.../APN/706280872
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Old 06-30-2007, 10:42 AM   #19 (permalink)
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the plaintiffs

http://sabp.net/

http://www.tu.org/site/pp.asp?c=7dJEKTNuFmG&b=275410

http://www.peer.org/
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Old 06-30-2007, 10:51 AM   #20 (permalink)
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http://www.peer.org/news/news_id.php?row_id=880

http://www.peer.org/news/news_id.php?row_id=879
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Old 07-01-2007, 02:52 PM   #21 (permalink)
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So whats the forest services thoughts on this ?
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Old 07-02-2007, 05:41 AM   #22 (permalink)
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The rumor I heard was they wanted to turn the entire place over to a private party for "management". Which means closed to everyone except those who are in that 3rd party organasation. The same guy (who is into mt bikes pretty deep) tells me they want to shut down part if not all of URE as well to trucks and horses for mt bike trails. I kinda doubt it.

The erosion things is in part due to trail issues, in part due to upsteam issues and in part a natural byproduct of that kind of terrian. Maintaining the trails better would help but, short of spreader dams all over you simply can't stop land like that from moving around. Especially in 1/2" or better rains. However they are going to fail to mention that in the lawsuits. I'm about 300 miles from Tellico as well so helping to maintain the trails is kinda out of the question.

Thing I dont get is the money. The OHV guys pay up and bring money to the area. How much money do a dozen or so trout fishermen bring in? Same deal at URE, the horse people dont bring in any money. Hell, they dont even want to pay to camp or pay trail use permit money. The OHV guys pay up. Think mt bike people are going to want to pay trail fees? I think not.

However, the problems the stupid OHV prople bring in, booze, trash, off trail etc..., might be the deciding factor in the place staying open.

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Old 07-02-2007, 06:40 AM   #23 (permalink)
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So whats the forest services thoughts on this ?
I guess this is for real, it already made the Saturday paper here in Chattanooga. The article doesn't really say anything more than what we already know but it does have a "quote" from the Forest Service.

Terry Seyden, a spokesman for the Forest Service, said the agency has recieved the letter but it doesn't comment on pending litigation. "We worked with the stakeholders for a number of years to try to identify and address any issues," Seyden said.
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Old 07-02-2007, 01:13 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Those of you doing the work and fighting the good fight keep us posted. THANK YOU! I'm about 300 miles away too so getting there for woork weekends is not going to happen too often. Is there a fund to fight it set up? Has tellico adapted the trail permit system that URE has? I was under the understanding that it really made a difference in stopping the non-paying illegal running rigs there.
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Old 07-02-2007, 02:57 PM   #25 (permalink)
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SFWDA is in the process of preparing a statement to put on their website. Please keep an eye out for it and continue to read all you can about this pending action.

Oh, and yes, this is my first post on Pirate. I am usually over on MUD, but this is a cross forum interest so I thought I would join up and see what's cooking over here.

To introduce myself, I am an environmental consultant and I wheel. I have committed to SFWDA to help as much as I can with these and other land use issues.

Heather

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