“The People” propose Alternative 8 for USFS road travel in KNF

To Klamath National Forest

MOTOR VEHICLE USE PLAN

             ALTERNATIVE 8

        “THE PEOPLES PLAN”

 

For an extensive period of time the issue of USDA Forest Service (USFS) management of public lands and roadways has been hotly debated in the public eye.  There has been a slight amount of give and take in respect to access to firewood cutting areas.  There has also been extensive written and verbal protest to the methodology of route determination and implementation of a biased plan.

With that being said, the concerned citizens of Siskiyou County submit another alternative for management consideration.  We, as a group not only concerned with access but also conservation of the public lands, set forth to rectify a 90% loss of public access on the Klamath National Forest (KNF).  A percentage attested to by a Forest Service Public Information Officer (PIO).

There have been many misleading and outright false statements made during sometimes heated conversations with USFS representatives. As prudent individuals we have strived to discover the facts and ignore the false.  However, it is too easy to pull the wool over some of the public’s eyes with repetition and diversion. This alternative is a clear path to consolidation and cooperation between all shareholders with emphasis on access and coordination. 

Item 1) The definition of cross-country shall be reduced to a layman terminology. At any point a vehicle leaves a visible roadway to travel into unimproved locations or to a second roadway, it shall be considered cross-country. A vast majority of the public mistakenly understood cross-country to mean off road use, not off of USFS recognized road use.  There were no initial protests since under that understanding there were to be no historical roadways closed to public access.  The USFS was disingenuous in describing the actual impacts by simply reiterating they were opening more roads, not closing them.  For the purposes of this document a road is a road is a road.  If it looks like a road, then it is one, period.

Item 2) Any established road be it a main ingress/egress, loop or spur shall be considered a driveable road for the purposes of this document. An established road is one that has been given a management number at some point in time, regardless of intent or application to the USFS system.  

Item 3) All recognized and numbered roads shall be rated according to the standard engineering protocols.  Ratings will dictate what class of vehicle would be allowed according to safety considerations.

Item 4) For the purpose of big game retrieval access is allowed solely for the purpose of retrieving downed game cross-country.  Legal hunting firearms would not be permitted on any vehicle utilized for the retrieval. A walking assistant could carry a legal firearm during the process. No more than two OHV classed vehicles may be utilized for a single retrieval. Under extreme circumstances consideration may be given for a hot weather retrieval with other than an OHV on a case by case basis.

Item 5) Established campsites shall be noted and accessible for vehicle use. All shareholders will cooperate in the process of campsite documentation. Campsites could be decommissioned on a case by case basis with strong justification given for the lack of access. Wild and scenic campsites could be established with the same justification provided and shareholder agreement.

Item 6) The USFS management personnel shall provide a detailed list of suggested roads to be closed to all shareholders.  Shareholders shall meet in a mutually agreed upon location to discuss the validity of the closures.  Closures shall be based on impacts to cultural, botanical, water and land resources. 

Item 7) Persons with documented disabilities regardless of the analysis protocol shall have approved access to all roadways, regardless of vehicle type utilized.  Any placard, license, or plate shall suffice for the purposes of disability documentation.

Item 8) Firewood retrieval shall be recognized as an integral part of public lands utilization.  Possession of a valid firewood permit shall allow the holder to travel cross-country for the purpose of cutting and loading.  Travel shall be limited to firewood purposes only and not any other purpose.

Item 9) A map shall be assembled to serve not only as a guide but as a navigational aide to the forest user.  General landmarks shall be identified for ease of use. Closed routes shall be obliterated, barred, barricaded or posted to alleviate any confusion.  

Item 10) Areas of biologic, cultural or environmental sensitivity shall be clearly identified.  Access to such areas will be determined by the shareholders with the best interest of the area key to determination.

Item 11) Shareholders will be chosen by each identified party to attend and consult for closure determination. Shareholders shall consist of two representatives from any group wishing to be represented regardless of the recognition process utilized.  Decisions shall be made without prejudice to allow fair and balanced access to public lands.  Areas shall be recognized according to existing protocols and managed as those protocols dictate.  Exempt lands such as wildlife strongholds and wilderness areas shall be maintained as non-motorized but lands without those designations must be mutually agreed upon for limited or no access.

Item 12) Listing of any road due to a maintenance issue will not be considered.  Roads have not been regularly maintained by the USFS for better than 20 years. If a roadway puts itself to bed naturally, then so be it. 

Item 13) Safety of a roadway shall be the lead determining factor for limitation or closure.  If the roadway is not safe, it shall be closed by whatever means necessary.  All shareholders must agree that safety is compromised and the roadway must be abandoned.

       

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