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My Green Jeep
07-17-2007, 08:22 PM
I just got this in today's email...




Dear Forest User,

Thank you for your interest in the Coconino National Forest’s motorized
travel planning process. You are being contacted because you have expressed
an interest in participating in future meetings related to this project.

To date, we have hosted two rounds of public meetings. At the first round
of meetings in October 2006, individuals had the opportunity to become
familiar with the rule and the planning process. The second round of
meetings in November 2006 allowed forest users to comment on why specific
roads, trails and areas should or should not be included as part of the
forest’s future transportation system.

We’re writing you today to announce a third round of public meetings
scheduled at the end of July and beginning of August. After reviewing over
1,300 public comments, working with other federal and state agencies, and
taking into consideration the recommendations of Forest Service resource
specialists, the Coconino National Forest has developed a Proposed Action
for managing motorized travel. The Proposed Action represents our
recommendations for changing the current forest transportation system and
policy to comply with the new Forest Service travel regulations.

Please attend one of our four open houses to learn more about the forest’s
proposed transportation system and respond to the upcoming Proposed Action.

July 31 (Tuesday) 5:00-8:00 p.m. Sinagua High School,
Flagstaff
August 1 (Wednesday) 5:00-8:00 p.m. Happy Jack Lodge,
Blue Ridge
August 2 (Thursday) 5:00-8:00 p.m. Cliff Castle Casino,
Verde Valley
August 4 (Saturday) 12:00-5:00 p.m. Sinagua High School,
Flagstaff

The Proposed Action will be published and distributed later this month,
prior to the public meetings. A cover letter will accompany the Proposed
Action including details concerning the length of the comment period and
how to submit comments. The Proposed Action will also be available on our
website: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/tmr.

If you have questions concerning special needs or want to request sign
language interpretation at these meetings; please contact Claire Pitner at
(928) 527-3473 or cpitner@fs.fed.us by July 23, 2007.

Thank you for your interest in this important planning project. We look
forward to seeing you at our next round of meetings.

Sincerely,

/s/ Nora Rasure

Forest Supervisor

My Green Jeep
07-17-2007, 08:23 PM
Dear Forest User,
Please go to the following link to view a copy of the Proposed Action for
the Coconino National Forest’s Motorized Travel Management Plan
(http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/projects/tmr/proposed-action.shtml). This
document describes how we propose to manage motor vehicle use on the forest
in order to comply with new Forest Service travel regulations (36 CFR 212).
The Proposed Action represents a synthesis of public comments and Forest
Service specialist recommendations gathered during the travel analysis
process we initiated last year.

In fall of 2006, we hosted several open houses across northern Arizona, and
our staff has attended additional meetings since then in order to gather
ideas regarding motorized forest travel from everyone concerned: neighbors
and visitors, state, county, local and tribal governments, and other
Federal agencies. If you are receiving this email, you probably attended an
open house or meeting or perhaps you contacted us via phone, letter, or
email. I appreciate your interest and time spent so far in participating in
our project planning. During this process, it was obvious that many
different people recreate or use the Coconino National Forest in many
different ways. Sometimes, these differences lead to conflict. But what you
all share in common is that you enjoy your National Forests.

The Proposed Action focuses on changes to the forest’s existing
transportation system; we are not proposing any change to existing
authorized motorized trails or the Cinder Hills OHV area or areas currently
closed or restricting motor vehicles. The Proposed Action includes amending
the Forest Plan to prohibit “off-road” driving across the entire forest.
However, we still plan to allow motor vehicles limited access off
designated routes for the purpose of dispersed camping. We propose to close
numerous roads that are unnecessary or redundant, or that cannot be
adequately maintained, or that compromise the integrity of sensitive
resources. However, we also propose to add some currently unauthorized or
“user-created” routes to the forest transportation system in order to
provide access to points of interest and maintain some longer distance
loop-riding opportunities.

While the Proposed Action will significantly reduce miles of National
Forest System roads, we intend to maintain adequate motorized access to the
forest. In conjunction with existing motorized trails and the Cinder Hills
OHV area, the Proposed Action would result in approximately 3,950 miles of
designated roads and trails and one 13,711-acre area open to motor vehicles
on the forest.

Unfortunately, the Proposed Action will probably not meet everyone’s
specific need or desire. For instance, several groups have expressed
concern about the lack of motorized trails currently on the forest and they
feel that opportunities for trail riding will be even less after off-road
driving is prohibited. These groups suggested potential new motorized
trails during the travel analysis process. Our preliminary effects analysis
found resource concerns with some of these specific trail proposals; other
suggestions were more general in nature and I determined that we did not
have sufficient staffing or time to analyze these conceptual ideas. For
these reasons, we did not include additional motorized trails in the
Proposed Action, but I am willing to consider alternatives to this Proposed
Action.

Scoping is an ongoing procedure used to identify important issues and
determine the extent of analysis necessary for an informed decision on a
proposed action. I have determined the forest will prepare an environmental
impact statement (EIS) to analyze the impacts of this Proposed Action and
any alternatives that are considered. Publication of a Notice of Intent
(NOI) in the Federal Register initiates the scoping process under
provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act. During this scoping
period, the Forest Service will be seeking comments on the merits of the
Proposed Action, as well as comments that address errors or information
that has been omitted, or possible alternatives to be considered in our
environmental analysis.

A series of open houses are scheduled to further explain the Proposed
Action and to provide an opportunity for public input. Open houses are
planned at the following locations and dates:

July 31, Flagstaff, AZ, Sinagua High School, 5:00-8:00 p.m.

August 1, Happy Jack, AZ, Happy Jack Lodge, 5:00-8:00 p.m.

August 2, Camp Verde, AZ, Cliff Castle Casino, 5:00-8:00 p.m.

August 4, Flagstaff, AZ, Sinagua High School, 12:00-5:00 p.m.

Written comments to be considered in the preparation of the draft EIS
should be submitted within 45 days from the date an NOI is published in the
Federal Register. We expect the NOI for this project will be published on
August 3, 2007. To confirm the NOI publication date for this project, you
can check the Federal Register on-line at
www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/frcont07.html.

Written comments may be submitted to:

Nora Rasure, Forest Supervisor

1824 S Thompson St

Flagstaff, AZ, 86001

FAX: (928) 527-3620

Email: comments-southwestern-coconino@fs.fed.us

Name and address of the person submitting electronic
comments must be included.

After this scoping comment period, we anticipate the draft EIS will be
published in the summer of 2008. The comment period on the draft EIS will
be 45 days from the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes a
Notice of Availability (NOA) in the Federal Register. After the 45-day
draft EIS comment period, we expect the final EIS to be completed by early
2009.

Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and
addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public
record on this project and will be available for public inspection.
Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however,
those who submit anonymous comments will not have standing to appeal the
subsequent decision under 36 CFR 215, if the NEPA documentation results in
an appeasable decision.

Additionally, pursuant to 7 CFR 1.27(d), any persons may request the agency
to withhold a submission from the public record by showing how the Freedom
of Information Act (FOIA) permits such confidentiality. Persons requesting
such confidentiality should be aware that, under the FOIA, confidentiality
may be granted in only limited circumstances, such as to protect trade
secrets. The Forest Service will inform the requester of the agency’s
decision regarding the request for confidentiality, and where the request
is denied; the agency will return the submission and notify the requester
that the comments may be resubmitted with or without name and address
within seven days.

Again, I appreciate your help and interest with our forest management
programs. Should you have any questions, or need additional information,
please contact Project Leader Jim Beard at (928) 527-3600. Additional
information about this project can also be found at
http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/tmr.shtml.



Sincerely,

/s/ Nora B. Rasure

Nora B. Rasure

Forest Supervisor