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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200770918047

Link to the letter mentioned in the article (PDF file) - http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/p...penr=70918047&Category=NEWS01&Params=Id=85914



HANGING DOG – The U.S. Forest Service is seeking the public’s input on a plan to close trails in one of the nation’s most popular off-road driving areas because of environmental problems there.

The agency wants to ban motorized vehicles from trails two, seven and nine in the Upper Tellico Off Road Vehicle Area for a year and close all of the trails except trail one and the upper section of trail two from January to the end of March.

The Forest Service’s call for comments and plan to close trails comes three months after environmentalists threatened to sue the agency over muddy runoff from trails. The Southern Environmental Law Center says runoff is choking out brook trout.

The Upper Tellico, about two hours west of Asheville and 11 miles from Murphy, is one of the nation’s top spots for off-road enthusiasts. It is one of the few places in the Southeast where people driving jeeps, trucks and specially designed all-terrain vehicles can find challenging driving in a wilderness setting.

Off-roaders disagree with allegations from environmentalists. They say they volunteer time and spend their own money restoring trails. And the off-roaders also say their sport is good for the local economy.

Helen Davis, owner of Tellico Cabins, a business that relies on the off-road sport, said Tuesday that the Forest Service hasn’t done enough research to pin water quality problems on runoff from the trails.

“They are just giving in to them too easy,” she said. “They haven’t given any proof that it is causing problems.”

The public has until Oct. 17 to file comments on the plan. A letter from the Forest Service seeking comments is on CITIZEN-TIMES.com.

Terry Seyden, a spokesman for the Forest Service, said the agency has studied the problem. He said workers have collected data on sediment levels in the streams and on fish populations that show runoff is causing a problem.

“We acknowledged that there are some water quality problems and that there is sediment reaching the Tellico River,” he said. “And that is why we are proposing these to actions to address what we feel are the biggest contributors to sediment.”

Seyden said the Forest Service has not studied the economic impact of closing trails.

As part of the plan, the Forest Service will study the condition of about seven miles of trails within 100 feet of streams to determine what should be done in the future to prevent water quality problems.

The 8,000-acre Tellico area straddles the North Carolina-Tennessee line. It has 13 trails for off-road vehicles.

Author's email - [email protected]
 

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Where's Tellico... Shows that this is a national problem!!!!!!!!!!! Closin trails ever'where...:(
 

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I posted this in Shit Shat. We need to let everyone know about this one. I have also posted this two other sites and have one more that I plan on putting it on. Thanks for this notice.
 

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Is this where we're supposed to send our comments?
[email protected]
fs.fed.us
That's the email. Or you can snail mail a letter to the address given in the PDF file attached in the article and by the OP.

Remember everybody, go ahead and write the letter in anger, it's bad energy but it's still energy that will get all your thoughts out. Then let it marinate a while and revisit it for toning down, editing, spellchecking etc. Or not. But at least send your comments in some fashion. This is crunch time.

And don't forget donations/memberships to/in SFWDA and BRC.
 

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I wrote a letter and put in the mail today. An actual paper letter seems more sinsere that an e-mail to me. It would be nice to have piles of letters coming into there office.
 

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I am getting ready to post up some guidelines for folks to follow when writing letters...hang tight folks. It'll be up soon.
 

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Trail Closures proposed at Tellico!

I decided that this needs it's own thread (http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=614803) but am cross posting it in the "Save Tellico" thread (http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=604044) and in the "News Article in Citizen times" thread (http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=614705).

Please cross post all over the place.

OK folks, the Forest Service is on the move and has taken the first step to close three trails: Lower 2, 7 and 9. They have also taken the first step to closing all of Tellico over the winter months. Now is when we are going to need your help.

Here is the letter that was sent out:

Dear Interested Public,

I am seeking comments on two proposals to establish new Forest Supervisor’s Orders on the Upper Tellico Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Area in Cherokee County, North Carolina. This OHV area, located 15 miles north of Murphy on the North Carolina/Tennessee state line, includes approximately 38 miles of existing roads and trails that are managed for motorized recreation use. The following actions are being proposed:

1. A Forest Supervisor’s Order prohibiting motorized vehicles on Lower Trail # 2, Trail # 7, and Trail # 9, duration of order not to exceed one year or until a reasonable plan is in place to prevent adverse impacts to the aquatic resource.
2. A Forest Supervisor’s Order prohibiting winter-time motorized vehicle use on the Upper Tellico OHV Trail System from January 1 to March 31 each year. This would include all trails in the system except Trail # 1 and the upper section of Trail # 2 which would remain open as system roads used by vehicle types normally found on public roads.

The following persons would be exempted from these orders:

• Persons with a permit from the Forest Service specifically authorizing the otherwise prohibited act or omission.
• Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
• Owners or lessees of land in the Closure Area are exempt from the prohibitions listed above to the extent necessary to gain access to their land.
• Residents in the Closure Area are exempt from the prohibitions to the extent necessary to gain access to their residences.

PURPOSE AND NEED FOR THE PROPOSED ACTIONS

These actions are needed to correct and/or repair ongoing impacts to the aquatic resource caused by sediment entering area waters from the Tellico trail system.

Action # 1, prohibitions on Lower Trail # 2, Trail # 7, and Trail #9, is needed to provide immediate short-term resource protection measures. The greatest impact to area waters is coming from the movement of sediment off these three trails, as indicated by observation and on-site measurements of turbidity and suspended sediment concentrations.

Action # 2, winter-time closure of the OHV Area, is needed to provide resource protection. Forest Service personnel have observed that most of the damage to the trail tread occurs during the winter freeze/thaw period from January to late March, at which time soils are subject to increased rutting and displacement.

These actions would implement direction in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Land and Resource Management Plan to emphasize protection of perennial and intermittent streams in compliance with North Carolina Forest Practice Guidelines Related to Water Quality.

The actions would be implemented pursuant to 36 CFR 261.50 (b) which states, “The Chief, each Regional Forester, each Experiment Station Director, the Administrator of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and each Forest Supervisor may issue orders which close or restrict the use of any National Forest System road or trail within the area over which he has jurisdiction.”

Before a final decision is made I welcome your comments. Please make your comments as specific as possible along with supporting reasons why you believe your comments should be considered. Please include your name and address in any correspondence.

Your comments may be sent to Tusquitee District Ranger, 123 Woodland Drive, Murphy, NC 28906. Comments may also be sent via email to [email protected].

We would appreciate receiving your comments by October 17, 2007.

Thank you for your time and interest in our management activities on the Tusquitee Ranger District.

Sincerely,

/s/ Tina R. Tilley, Acting District Ranger
TINA R. TILLEY, Acting District Ranger


So there it is. Now, let me explain the process they are following and what may or may not happen.

A "Notice of Supervisor's Order" is the first step in their process to enact new “Supervisor’s Orders” for an this action. The Letter is used to notify potentially interested parties of a proposed action and to solicit comments on the proposed action and its Purpose and Need. The action here is defined by them as:

“A Forest Supervisor’s Order prohibiting motorized vehicles on Lower Trail # 2, Trail # 7, and Trail # 9, duration of order not to exceed one year or until a reasonable plan is in place to prevent adverse impacts to the aquatic resource.

A Forest Supervisor’s Order prohibiting winter-time motorized vehicle use on the Upper Tellico OHV Trail System from January 1 to March 31 each year. This would include all trails in the system except Trail # 1 and the upper section of Trail # 2 which would remain open as system roads used by vehicle types normally found on public roads.”​

A proposed action is worthless if its purpose and need is not good. In this case, they are saying that these "closures" are "needed to correct and/or repair ongoing impacts to the aquatic resource caused by sediment entering area waters from the Tellico trail system." They go on to say:

“Action # 1, prohibitions on Lower Trail # 2, Trail # 7, and Trail #9, is needed to provide immediate short-term resource protection measures. The greatest impact to area waters is coming from the movement of sediment off these three trails, as indicated by observation and on-site measurements of turbidity and suspended sediment concentrations.

Action # 2, winter-time closure of the OHV Area, is needed to provide resource protection. Forest Service personnel have observed that most of the damage to the trail tread occurs during the winter freeze/thaw period from January to late March, at which time soils are subject to increased rutting and displacement."​

They can basically just say “close it” or “don’t close it.”

OK, so they have proposed their action and purpose and need and are asking for comments. We need to provide those comments to them. This is where you come in.

SFWDA is working on a template letter that you can use to provide your comments. Of course, you don’t have to follow the template, but if you choose to provide your own comments, please do so with the following guidance in mind:

  • Be professional, courteous, and do not be angry or aggressive in your tone.
  • Please use the spell check feature on your computer. Misspellings make you look stupid.
  • Please address the action at hand. Do not go on a rant about the “greenies” who you think are forcing this action. Be succinct and to the point about how this action is going to effect you and why you think the Forest Service should not close the trails. Be persuasive and do not ramble.
  • Please provide them with alternatives to trail closure. The Forest Service did not propose any alternatives other than closure. What about temporarily rerouting trails? What about installing more erosion controls?
  • Please question their science and observations. The Forest Service did not provide any scientific data in their letter to prove that their “observations and measurements” are true. They also did not provide the analysis that they used to determine that there even is any “impact” to the area. They are assuming there is an impact.
  • Please be sure to be clear that you do not support this action and wish to be added to the list of interested parties to receive updated information regarding any action at the Upper Tellico Off-Highway Vehicle (ORV) Area.

Comments should be either emailed or mailed to:

Tusquitee District Ranger
23 Woodland Drive
Murphy, NC 28906
[email protected].

Drop me an email if you have any questions and I will try to help. If you don’t get a response from me, please don’t be offended. There are only so many hours in a day. I’ll do my best to help as much as I can. My email is Heather.Spivey at sfwda dot org

Let’s get it going folks. Don’t let them take our Tellico away from us!
 

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I am getting ready to post up some guidelines for folks to follow when writing letters...hang tight folks. It'll be up soon.
Thank you Heather...I've tried to write 3 letters so far but after I get started I end up threaten to drive there and kick his stupid ass for doing nothing but just plain lying. Which BTW will only encourage this moron to lie more in hopes that he does get assaulted so to "prove" what type of crowd the off road community is. It just kills me that people can say and print anything without any ramifications for the blatant lies they spew. :mad3:
I’ll try again after I read over your guide lines…
 

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Y'all are doing a great job writing letters and getting your voice heard!!!!

We should have a template letter out at the beginning of the week for people to use if you feel more comfortable waiting for it.

Thanks again y'all, keep it up!!!!!
 

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Your right! Land closures are not a local problem for OHV users they are being pushed nation wide by a group which calls themselves, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). They have been misconceiving the public through a media blitz which quotes “rangers” as stating that OHV bans are a top priority to the preservation of our public lands. Only the rangers they quote are not actually forestry rangers they are “rangers for responsible recreation” which is nothing more than a splinter group created by PEER. This group does not want OHVs on any public land and will not be happy until the Upper Tellico OHV area is closed. They are the force behind many large scale land closures in California and Utah including Moab. There is no water in the desert to have quality issues with so they based closures there on unruly behavior and endangered plant species. They are simply using Trout Unlimited (TU) to work a new angle to get this land closed. Trout Unlimited is a myth, Trout are not unlimited.
 

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The deadline for comment is tomorrow!

SEND AN EMAIL TODAY BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!
 
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