About 10 years ago President Bush ordered that Travel Management Plans be created for all National Forests. Basically, ID the Road/Trails, Document the Roads/Trails and then Maintain the Roads/Trails. Last week the plan for the Gila came out. I will be honest in saying that no matter what happened someone was going to be complaining and that there will be quite a bit of litigation before everything is said and done. Overall, I think it is a pretty good compromise. There are some good things and there are some things that aren’t so great but I will let you form your own decision.
Here are some highlights from the Sun News.
• Approximately 96 percent of non-wilderness lands will be within two miles of an open road, about 99 percent within three miles.
• The decision establishes a designated system of roads, trails, and other areas for motorized vehicle use.
• The decision keeps open 3,334 miles of road, increases motorized trail opportunities from 16 to 179 miles and maintains a three-acre area for motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle use. The 908 miles of roads closed are generally .5 to 1 mile in length. All closed roads will be accessible for emergency response.
• 3.3 million acres of forest remain open to all users. Users can go anywhere in the forest if on foot, horseback, or canoe. Only the use of motorized travel is restricted to the designated open travel routes.
• Hunters are allowed to drive up to 300 feet from either side of roads designated with a corridor to retrieve their big game.
• Camping continues with 1,316 miles of designated motorized dispersed camping corridors and 36 areas.
• Fuel wood cutters can use their motorized vehicle within designated cutting areas to gather their fuel wood.
Here is a link to the actual plan click here