U.S. Forest Services extends DEIS input period, rescinds Avintaquin restrictions
Camping restrictions due to bear activity at Avintaquin Campground on the Roosevelt-Duchesne District of the Ashley National Forest has been lifted.
The restrictions required overnight occupancy in a fully hard sided and structurally sound camping vehicle. Sleeping outside a fully hard sided and structurally sound camping vehicle was prohibited.
This closure affected the Avintaquin Campground located along the Reservation Ridge Road, south of Duchesne, a favorite camping area of many people from Castle Valley.
"As we progress into summer I hope everyone recreating on the forest becomes 'bear aware' and stores their coolers and food inside their vehicle or camper when not in use," said district ranger John R. Kirkaldie.
The federal agency has also extended the comment period on the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the motorized travel plan for the forest by 45 days, with an end date for receiving public input being July 16, 2009.
The Ashley has been working on its motorized travel plan for the past two and one-half years.
Public involvement efforts during generated more than 1,200 proposals for route changes. The proposals are incorporated into four management alternatives analyzed in the DEIS.
The DEIS is a lengthy document due to the scope of the project and the number of proposals being considered. The United States Forest Service took that into consideration when deciding to extend the comment period. Input from cooperating agencies was also a factor in choosing to allow an additional 45 days for comment.
Former U.S. Forest Service chief Dale Bosworth identified unmanaged recreation as one of the most serious threats to system's lands.
A major component of unmanaged recreation was the unregulated use of off-highway vehicles.
In 2005 a new set of travel management regulations were developed that in part required every national forest to review its motorized travel management plan, eliminating unrestricted off trail travel and instead, designating a system of roads and trails where ATV use is appropriate.
"Travel management is a topic of great importance to our forest users," said forest supervisor Kevin B. Elliott. "We recognize that off-highway vehicle (OHV) use is a legitimate use of National Forest System lands and we are striving to find the right balance of motorized and non-motorized opportunities on the Ashley. Our motorized travel management plan is intended to help us better manage an increasing number of ATV's and limit the effects to protect water quality, wildlife habitat, and soil resources. By extending the comment period on the DEIS, we hope more people will have time to review and comment on the management alternatives being considered."
Copies of the DEIS are available at www.fs.fed.us/r4/ashley and local U.S. Forest Service offices.
To submit comments, Carbon County residents should contact Kris Rutledge at (435) 781-5196.