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Linda
11-08-2005, 07:52 AM
Just an update. You all knew it was coming. The Tonto NF employees have been given the authority to take the next step. It's taken them a long time to get to this point. The Tonto NF, especially near Scottsdale and Mesa, has been taking a beating.

Tonto tightens off-road vehicle rules
By Joe Kullman, Tribune
November 7, 2005

Efforts to battle one of the growing environmental threats to Tonto National Forest lands near the East Valley are about to be stepped up.

The U.S. Forest Service has given Tonto officials more authority to restrict off-road motor vehicle use.

Mostly affected are forest areas closest to Scottsdale and Mesa among the busiest public recreation lands in the country and especially popular for off-roading.

An off-roading boom in recent years has led to increased damage to plant and wildlife habitat and conflicts with hikers, horseback riders and mountain bikers, said Tonto spokesman Vinnie Picard.

"Places where in the 1980s you might have seen about 20 (off-road) riders in a day, you now will see about 100," Picard said.

Until now, off-road motor vehicles could be wherever they were not specifically prohibited on the 2.9 million-acre forest.

The new rules will limit offroad motor vehicles to designated trails.

It likely will take at least four years before all new trail designations are in place, said Tammy Pike, Tontos offroading and trails coordinator.

Until then, forest managers still can ban or severely restrict motor vehicles in areas where heavy environmental damage is being done or there are safety issues, Pike said.

One particular concern is the Sycamore Creek area about 10 miles north of Mesa.

Some environmentalists said theyre disappointed the new rules dont call for automatically closing unauthorized trails that off-roaders have carved in the past few decades.

"Were concerned that illegal routes are going to be made legal" when trail systems for off-road vehicles are devised, said Erik Ryberg of the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity.

Pike said she anticipates many unauthorized trails on the Tonto will be closed, "but if some trails can play a role in a network of trails that makes sense, we may keep them."

Forest officials said theyre confident the new regulatory system can work.

"Very few of them are renegades. Most users are families. Its parents and their kids. . . . The adults care about protecting the land for the next generation," Picard said.

Some groups are even planning to join forest officials in seeking grants to fund trail maintenance, trail signs and maps for approved off-road routes, said Jeff Gursh, a leader of the Arizona Trail Riders and the Arizona Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition.

Contact Joe Kullman by email, or phone (480) 970-2342

roger
11-08-2005, 09:23 AM
Some environmentalists said theyre disappointed the new rules dont call for automatically closing unauthorized trails that off-roaders have carved in the past few decades.

"Were concerned that illegal routes are going to be made legal" when trail systems for off-road vehicles are devised, said Erik Ryberg of the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity.

Despite the fact that OHV use has increased significantly in the past few decades as has the general population, let's restrict all those OHV folks to the set of trails we had, say, 30 years ago. Makes sense to me. :rolleyes:

I've said it before and I'll continue to say it - any new land management plans the agencies come up with MUST include provisions for the creation of new trails.

-Roger

SavageSun4x4
11-08-2005, 10:30 AM
Despite the fact that OHV use has increased significantly in the past few decades as has the general population, let's restrict all those OHV folks to the set of trails we had, say, 30 years ago. Makes sense to me. :rolleyes:

I've said it before and I'll continue to say it - any new land management plans the agencies come up with MUST include provisions for the creation of new trails.

-Roger
Roger, I just am not seeing it that way: We have too many OHV on too few trails leading to increased damge.

1. off-road vehicles increased sevenfold to 36 million
* One of the problems is the increased traffic and load on the road/trail
system. By the admittance of the FS it has increased by 7 X but trails
have not. Therefore, too many rigs for to few roads and trails that was
only adequate to begin with.
2. restricting off-road vehicles to designated roads and trails
* As above this will only create more problems than it solves and becomes
the self-fulfilling prophecy of the Eco-Nazis.

Maybe I am wrong, off base and headed the wrong way on a one-way trail, but I see road/trail overloading as imperative. Growth in OHV using the public lands has not been met with increased road and trail support. The concern is this will lead to amplified pressure on the system and a subsequent failure of the contiguous environment.

roger
11-08-2005, 01:21 PM
Don,

I'm having a hard time interpretting your reply. You say "We have too many OHV on too few trails leading to increased damge" and I agree with that. Then you say "...I see road/trail overloading as imperative" which I interpret to mean that overloading is necessary in order to accomodate the number of existing OHV on the existing number of trails. We are definitely being forced into a situation where overloading is occurring and environmental impact is more significant.

So what was it that you didn't see eye to eye with me? You didn't overlook the ":rolleyes:" in my original post, did you?

-Roger

SavageSun4x4
11-08-2005, 02:04 PM
Don,

I'm having a hard time interpretting your reply. You say "We have too many OHV on too few trails leading to increased damge" and I agree with that. Then you say "...I see road/trail overloading as imperative" which I interpret to mean that overloading is necessary in order to accomodate the number of existing OHV on the existing number of trails. We are definitely being forced into a situation where overloading is occurring and environmental impact is more significant.

So what was it that you didn't see eye to eye with me? You didn't overlook the ":rolleyes:" in my original post, did you?

-Roger
Roger, imperative that we do something to solve the issue. We are just feeding the eco-nazis that point and say 'we told you so'.

Sorry, guess I missed the :rolleyes: