Articles tagged with: sierra national forest

Natural resources report for November 2022

Natural resources report for November 2022

SEQUOIA AND SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST LAND MANAGEMENT PLAN REVISIONS

The Forest Service is in the final stages of revising the forest plans for the Sierra and Sequoia National Forests and is currently working through the administrative review (objections) process for the draft Records of Decision and Revised Forest Plans. The revised drafts were released in 2019, however, revisions were altered since to account for changes across the forest terrain that resulted from multiple catastrophic fires in 2020 and 2021. Updates include designation of Wild & Scenic Rivers, efforts towards sustainable recreation, and an overhaul in structure of management of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT). Issues within the plan revisions that are of key concern to OHV enthusiasts include:

  • OHV trail closures in the Piute Mountains of Sequoia National Forest
  • Violation of federal law within the planning process and overhaul of PCT management
  • Bias of heavy input from the Pacific Crest Trail Association
  • Minimized public input from the OHV community throughout the planning process
  • Neglect to balance the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum
  • Disregard for the Forest Service’s contracted obligation to preserve multiple-use access to public lands, with explicit bias towards non-motorized recreation

Read Cal4Wheel’s objection letter via this link: https://bit.ly/seq-sierra-plan-objections

Creek Fire restoration project comments submitted

Burned area south of Shaver Lake courtesy of Inciweb https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/photograph/7147/1/111186

Cal4Wheel has submitted comments dated September 21, 2022 regarding the draft environmental assessment for the Creek Fire restoration project in the Sierra National Forest. Read the comment letter at this link

Of positive note, Sierra National Forest (SNF) responded in favor to several suggestions that Cal4Wheel shared during the Scoping phase of this project. An important revision that was added to the analysis is: existing recreational roads will not be decommissioned as part of the CFR project.

Within comments for the Environmental Analysis, Cal4Wheel advocated for restoration of historical OHV routes that have been previously closed in order to:

  • Enhance the local recreation economy
  • Eliminate bias in public land access against persons with disabilities
  • Capitalize on the unique and important opportunity for SNF to be a trendsetter in building new roads and trails as part of burn scar restoration, where new roads and trails may be designed to optimally traverse the landscape in a manner that idealistically balances the needs and interests of public access, wildlife, and forest ecology

Additionally, Cal4Wheel offered the ongoing support of club membership as volunteers to support the success of both immediate forest restoration and post-project maintenance needs.

PHOTO OF BURNED AREA SOUTH OF SHAVER LAKE COURTESY OF INCIWEB

Natural resources report for September 2022

Natural resources report for September 2022

SEQUOIA AND SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST LAND MANAGEMENT PLAN REVISIONS

The objection submission process has been completed for the Sequoia and Sierra National Forests Land Management Plan Revisions. The revised drafts were released in 2019, however, revisions have been revisited since to account for changes across the forest terrain that resulted from multiple catastrophic fires in 2020 and 2021. Updates include designation of Wild & Scenic Rivers, efforts towards sustainable recreation, and an overhaul in structure of management of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT). Issues within the plan revisions that are of key concern to OHV enthusiasts include OHV trail closures in the Piute Mountains of Sequoia National Forest, violation of federal law within the planning process and overhaul of PCT management, bias of heavy input from the Pacific Crest Trail Association, and minimized public input from the OHV community throughout the planning process. Read Cal4Wheel’s objection letter via this link: https://bit.ly/seq-sierra-plan-objections

Natural resources report for July 2022

Natural resources report for July 2022

SEQUOIA AND SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST LAND MANAGEMENT PLAN REVISIONS

The Sequoia and Sierra National Forests are in the process of revising their forest land management plans. The revised drafts were released in 2019, however, revisions have been revisited since to account for changes across the forest terrain that resulted from multiple catastrophic fires in 2020 and 2021. The planning team is currently finalizing the revised forest plans. Updates include incorporation of the wilderness recommendation process, efforts towards sustainable recreation, and management of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. The plans are currently within the pre-decisional administrative review process (the objection process) for the final environmental impact statement (FEIS), revised forest plans, draft records of decision, and the species of conservation concern lists.

Two virtual meetings will be held to provide information on the status of plan revision, including the objection process. There will be time for attendees to ask questions; staff will be available to address the various resource areas covered under the plans. Both meetings are open to the public. The Sequoia NF virtual meeting will be held on July 12 from 6:00 - 8:00pm. The Sierra National Forest will be held on July 13 from 6:00 - 8:00pm. Visit this link for more information and the meeting links.

The objection process provides an opportunity for those who have participated in a prior formal public comment period for these plan revision efforts to have their unresolved concerns reviewed prior to the Forest Supervisors issuing final decisions on the revised forest plans and the Regional Forester issuing decisions on the species of conservation concern lists for each forest. The 60-day objection filing period begins with the publication of legal notices in the Porterville Recorder and Fresno Bee on June 14, 2022. While members of the public may not have participated in the prior formal public comment period and thus may not be eligible to object, the meetings noted are valuable to attend to gain insight on upcoming changes in forest land management in Sequoia and Sierra NF. Click here for more information on the Sequoia and Sierra Forest Plan Revision.

OCEANO DUNES SVRA

On June 17, the San Luis Obispo Air Pollution Control District (APCD) Hearing Board held a meeting to review progress on activities required under the Stipulated Order of Abatement (SOA) that aims to reduce airborne pollution that is purportedly caused by OHV recreation at ODSVRA. Presentations were shared by California State Parks, the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG), SLO County APCD, and the California Air Resources Board. Public comment was accepted as a decision was weighed to continue or change operating requirements under the SOA.

I attended to provide comment on behalf of Cal4 to urge the board to abandon the SOA, citing evidence from the Scripps Institute Report that proved OHV recreation accounts for only 14% of PM10 (airborne particulate matter) exceedances in the area. I additionally shared grievance over Hearing Board actions that serve to minimize public participation in board meetings and decisions, and grievances over the board’s continued use of selective, biased data to justify the SOA. I was encouraged to see many other advocates from the OHV community on the call, each voicing detailed comments to urge discontinuation of the SOA.

Unfortunately, the state decided to not request any alternation to the SOA at this time. Multiple court cases that are currently in progress continue to be vital to protect the future of ODSVRA.

SIERRA NF OHV PROGRAM FIRST AID / CPR & CHAINSAW CERTIFICATION / RECERTIFICATION

The Sierra National Forest OHV trail opening and maintenance program will be hosting an American Red Cross First Aid/CPR class along with Chainsaw Recertification and Certification (for new users).

  • American Red Cross First Aid/CPR: Friday, July 8, at Prather, High Sierra Ranger District Office, 8:00am to 4:30pm
  • Chainsaw Recertification/Certification: Saturday and Sunday, July 9 and 10, at Kokanee Work Center, 8:00am to 4:30pm each day.

This will be the last Chainsaw Class offered through the Sierra NF OHV program until at least the fall. To RSVP for one or both classes, email Michael Nolan (michael.nolen@usda.gov) or Kevin Woods (Kevin.Woods@usda.gov).

BLM SEEKS APPLICANTS FOR DESERT ADVISORY COUNCIL SUBGROUPS: DUMONT DUNES & IMPERIAL SAND DUNES

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) California Desert District is seeking additional applicants to serve on subgroups of the Desert Advisory Council, a citizen-based advisory committee that develops recommendations for BLM on public land management issues. Responsibilities include reviewing information, seeking input from the public and user groups on various programs, projects, and agency decisions, and providing recommendations to the Desert Advisory Council on the management of these areas. The two subgroups focus on recreation and management of the Dumont Dunes and Imperial Sand Dunes recreation areas; both need additional members. Click this link for more information and application details.

Natural resources report for May 2022

Natural resources report for May 2022

SOUTH COW MOUNTAIN OHVMA

The Bureau of Land Management’s Ukiah Field Office invited public comment on future planning and improvements for the South Cow Mountain OHVMA. In collaboration with Santa Rosa 4x4, a local Cal4 club who regularly utilizes this OHVMA, I submitted a comment to advocate for improvements to trails, facilities, and general park amenities. Specific recommendations included request for jeep trail development, looping of trails, and development of the obstacle course to include 4x4 features. Other suggestions included increased security of trash bins to reduce litter across the park, addition of a picnic area at the 4x4 obstacle course (with shade), and increased ranger or sheriff patrols within the park. Many thanks to Chris Silveira and Santa Rosa 4x4 for providing detailed insight on South Cow Mountain’s current status and needs.

Comments submitted on Sequoia-Sierra National Forest Plan Revisions

Comments submitted on Cal4Wheel regarding the Sequoia-Sierra National Forest Plan Revision Update.

Download copy of letter

TEXT OF THE LETTER:

September 25, 2019

Plan Revision Team Lead

323 Club Drive

Vallejo CA 94592

Subject: Sequoia and Sierra Forest Plan Revision Update

Dear Planning Team:

These comments are submitted on behalf of the California Four Wheel Drive Association (Cal4Wheel) and its membership. Cal4Wheel represents clubs and individuals within the state of California that are part of the community of four-wheel drive enthusiasts. These comments are directed to the Revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Revision of the Sequoia and Sierra National Forests Land Management Plans. This document shall not supplant the rights of other Cal4Wheel agents and organizational or individual members from submitting their own comments and the agency should consider and appropriately respond to all comments received to this proposed planning project.

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