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Trout Unlimited commentary in Asheville Paper

This was in today's Paper

Opinion » Guest Commentaries
Excessive ORV use clearly hurts water quality
by Michael Smith
published September 16, 2007 12:15 am

I read with great dismay the comments of a U.S. Forest Service representative in a recent article about off-road vehicle (ORV) use in the Tellico River area (Sept. 6, “Upper Tellico runoff sparks controversy”). Contrary to what USFS Ranger Bill Champion is quoted as saying, we do know how much sediment in the river is too much. State and federal standards are crystal clear on the issue. Unfortunately, the Forest Service has been ignoring those standards. Water quality samples have revealed excessively higher levels of sediment in Tellico tributaries than allowed under any state or federal standard for the past eight years.

Champion also said that a long-term plan to evaluate ORV use and impacts in the area, and a discussion of priorities with all the stakeholders, is “just getting started.” Again, the Forest Service is ignoring years of collaborative study and efforts, in which Trout Unlimited and many other participants have worked with the agency to resolve the conflict between intensive ORV use and water quality.

Unfortunately, our collaborative studies seem to be overlooked, and coincidentally, the measurable deterioration in water quality has occurred during the same eight years of collaboration. The Forest Service has been more talk than walk, while the resource has suffered. Hence, the need to take legal action to remind the agency that in the eyes of the law, water quality and the protection of our resources comes first.

Lastly, I was disappointed that the reporter did not contact anyone from the conservation groups who are taking this legal action. If he had, he would have learned that: 1) The roughly 38 miles of designated ORV trails he cites are more than twice the density legally allowed under the Forest Service’s management plan; 2) The estimation that “2,400 vehicles per month use the Tellico area” comes from the USFS, and is not an “environmentalists’ assertion;” and 3) While ORV users clearly contribute to the local economy, other factors to consider are the potential loss of tourism revenue from anglers, the potential cost to downstream communities who face higher cleanup costs before using the river as a source of drinking water, and finally the potential loss of significant Southern Appalachian brook trout populations.


Michael “Squeak” Smith is member of the board of trustees for Trout Unlimited.

http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200770914112
 

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Somebody sort out the facts from the fiction in this and let's call them out on it.

And everyone needs to comment on this on their site!!!!! Scroll down on the page and leave a message!! Try to be professional :mad3:
 

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UFWDA and BRC are working this issue with Southern.

We will keep you all informed.
Some of the plan has not been revealed yet, so stay tuned, and keep providing support to BRC and UFWDA.

Todd
 

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.........finally the potential loss of significant Southern Appalachian brook trout populations.
Yep, and TU are the same bastards that push for non-native hatchery trout species (like rainbow and brown trout) to be stocked in the Tellico River and other rivers so their dumb asses can call them selves fisherman. The non-native trout have done more to destroy naitive brook trout populations than OHV's have every done because the brook trout can't compete with them.

It's all bull shit. They just want our asses out of there.

NIB
 

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Hence, the need to take legal action to remind the agency that in the eyes of the law, water quality and the protection of our resources comes first.
Is Tellico not one of OUR RESOURCES too?

Contrary to what USFS Ranger Bill Champion is quoted as saying, we do know how much sediment in the river is too much. State and federal standards are crystal clear on the issue.
anyone else see the irony in that statement :D
 

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I live in the Murphy area and have wheeled Tellico for about 16 years and I HAVE NEVER SEEN A TROUTFISHING :flipoff2:EVENT IN NC OR TN,much less a group of anyone else bring a lot of $ into the area and clean-up when they leave like MOST (unfortunetly not all) wheelers do.We just need to keep contacting our politictions ,be good to Smokey Bear,and be EXTRA careful on the trails( ie: not get off the trails and run through the woods).:mad3:
 

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A big problem(for us) with Trout Unlimited is they have DEEP POCKETS that reach into political pockets... :mad3:
 

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I think we should get PETA against TU... The enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that...:laughing:

I have been fishing Tellico and Citico Creeks since I could carry a pole. They are stocked once a week most of the year except the summer time. The fishing is better when the water is muddy. Besides a small section of each that are considered trophy sections I doubt either one sees many members of trout unlimited. I really have no idea how the OHV area got targeted by them (must be a small vocal minority). It's definately not the locals either, people who live in Monroe county and Tellico Plains are deffinately not the TU type people (more of the drive their tractor up the creek while chucking dynamite type people). What scares me the most is that their used to be a huge amount of trails that existed on the TN side and these were all closed. Thankfully NC is better about OHV areas than TN and hopefully some of thier politicians with enough letters won't let TU and Southern environmental law close it down.
 

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I think they should ban people from fishing as well if they are that worried about it. :shaking: That and I'll never from this point on give any money or half a shit about the environment. Want to strip mine? Go ahead, chances are we can't use it anyways.

All so some asshole in his honda crv can pull over on the side of a narrow ass road and fish in a 2 foot deep bucket.
 

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Whats up with that dam in the stream on the Tn. side?
What does it do/far/purpose/etc?
Did nature build that or is that manipulation by man to catch more fish.
What effect is the drought having on the fish? Maybe nature is picking them for extinction.
 

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Whats up with that dam in the stream on the Tn. side? What does it do/far/purpose/etc?
I think the Trout Unlimited fawkwads built it to kill off the snail darters so they would have room to stock more stupid hatchery raised none-native fish like rainbow trout and brown trout.

NIB
 

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Closing the Upper Tellico OHV area under the assumption that this will solve water quality issues is wrong. OHVs did not create the trails in Upper Tellico they are old logging roads and skid trails which were poorly located, with steep grades and no drainage; thus preventing natural regeneration in these areas. The Upper Tellico area has suffered environmental impact from clear cut logging and the construction of the Cherohala Skyway. Prior to 1980 no one wanted this barren, unsightly land which had been destroyed by clear cut logging. Without the shade from trees the brook trout were wiped out. With no vegetation to stop erosion sediment flowed directly into the streams. Fast forward to 2007 and through the hard work of the U.S. Forestry Department and the Southern Four Wheel Drive Association the area is once again a beautiful place. Only they did too good of a job and now there is competition for the use of this public land.

The Tellico OHV letter of intent to sue the forestry department has sparked many articles and statements which simply are not factual. The plaintiff’s press releases do not correlate with their research. Southern Environmental Law Center has a link on their website (SELCNC.ORG) to Trout Unlimited’s literature which states that the Tellico area has the largest quality trout habitats remaining in the southeast. A study they published states: “Regional experts specifically identified urbanization … as major threats to the brook trout habitat". Their literature further suggests many other causes for decreasing brook trout including: non-native fish, agriculture, and logging.

OHV’s did not cause the water quality issues in Upper Tellico, water quality has been deteriorating for centuries throughout the country. The group who calls themselves Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) wants to ban OHV use in the name of fishermen. Trout Unlimited (TU) is just being used as pawns by PEER in there national quest to ban OHVs. There is no local grass roots movement where TU has any genuine concern with Upper Tellico OHV affecting the streams, it is a political alignment. If Trout Unlimited was truly concerned about the Upper Tellico area more than 4 members would have shown up at the forestry services annual stakeholders meeting. This is not about water quality or trout it is about PEER and their national quest to ban OHV use of public land. 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. 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 closure there on unruly behavior and endangered plant species. They are simply using Trout Unlimited to work a new angle.


Trout Unlimited is a myth, Trout are not unlimited.


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] TINA R. TILLEY, Acting District Ranger
 
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