Alert: Washington & Oregon Forest Plan
Revisions and Recommended Wilderness Areas - Last chance to make a difference!
Action requested. Further details below.
Those of you that
have been members of the Snowmobile Alliance of Western States (SAWS) since our
formation in late 2004 are aware that there are currently six
Forest Plan Revisions (FPR) in the works in Forest Service Region 6 (Washington
and Oregon). The forests
involved are the Colville, Okanogan, and
Wenatchee (COW) National Forests in central and northeast Washington, which are
referred to as the COW FPR; and the Umatilla, Malheur, and Wallowa-Whitman National
Forests in Oregon with a
portion of Umatilla in the southeast corner of Washington, referred
to as the Blue Mountains FPR. There are
approximately two million acres of so-called Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRA)
in these six forests. As you know, many
of these IRA’s do contain roads, trails, and snowmobile play areas that are
used for recreational purposes. Some of
these IRA’s will be recommended for Wilderness.
Recently, a SAWS Action
Alert was e-mailed to our Washington State SAWS members
regarding SJM 8031. This bill proposed that our state legislature
send a letter to the federal administration stating their support for President
Clinton’s original 2001 Roadless rule.
Thank you to those of you that sent your state elected representative a
letter regarding this bill to let them know you were not in support of this
action. At this time it appears this
bill has died.
snowmobilers in Forest Service Region 6 have to lose during the current FPR’s, especially related to these IRA’s, and their
potential for becoming new Recommended Wilderness Areas (RWA), and then
possibly being designated as true Wilderness by Congress in the future? We have plenty to lose. You can still affect some of the outcome from
these revised forest plans, but time is very short.
National Forest (CNF)
Action: SAWS members
who live near and/or recreate in the CNF are
strongly encouraged to attend any of the upcoming forest planning meetings to
collaborate with the forest service and other recreationists to help determine
which areas will or will not be recommended for Wilderness in the CNF. Meeting dates as of this writing are not yet
firm, but I urge you to keep checking the Colville, Okanogan and Wenatchee
Forest Plans Revisions website at www.fs.fed.us/r6/colville/cow
for updates and to find out how you can be involved. For further detailed information contact:
Recreation, Engineering, Lands, and Minerals Staff
Those not at the
table will not have a say in what will eventually be decided regarding
potential Wilderness areas in this forest.
and Wenatchee National Forest Action: The Provisional Advisory Council (PAC) which
was formed during the Northwest Forest Plan will help the Forest Service
determine which areas will or will not be recommended for Wilderness within the
Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests.
The next PAC meeting will be held on March 22nd and these
meetings are open to the public. Future
public meetings/open houses will likely occur this summer or early fall. For further information regarding the PAC
meetings or the Forest Plan in general, please contact:
Public Affairs Officer and Social Lead, Forest Plan
Visit the FPR
website at www.fs.fed.us/r6/colville/cow
for updates on the process, and to find out what the next step of public
involvement will be and how you can participate.
Mountains FPR Action: Numerous meetings have been held in the past for
these three forests, many of which SAWS previously
alerted you to. The Forest Revision Team
is planning to hold seven open houses in May and you are strongly encouraged to
attend. The locations and dates are: Burns, OR – May 16th at 6pm; John Day, OR – May 17th
at 2pm; Enterprise, OR – May 18th at 6pm; Dayton, WA – May 23rd at
6pm; Sandy, OR – May 23rd at 6pm; Pendleton, OR – May 24th
at 2pm; and La Grande, OR – May 25th a 2pm. Further details of these meetings will be
available on their website at www.fs.fed.us/r6/uma/blue_mtn_planrevision/index.shtml. For more information, please contact:
Public Affairs Specialist, Forest Plan
I have written the
planning teams and forest supervisors for all of these forests several times in
the past and informed them that SAWS supports
no net loss of areas open to over-the-snow winter motorized recreation in these
plan revisions; that SAWS does not
support any further Wilderness recommendations in any of these forests; and
that all IRA’s, whether recommended for Wilderness or not, must remain open to
over-the-snow winter motorized recreation as they are today.
I have also been
in touch with the Region 6 Headquarters in Portland, Oregon to discuss
some of my concerns. I did receive some
positive feedback from the Region 6 Forester, Linda Goodman, and she did
acknowledge that my interpretation for management of motorized use in RWA’s was correct per Forest Service Manual (FSM)
1923.03. She also followed up with a
letter to all six of the forest supervisors involved with these plan revisions
discussed above and reiterated the policy regarding management of motorized
recreation in RWA’s within Region 6.
SAWS is fighting
to keep our riding areas open. Will you?
Snowmobile Alliance of Western States
Copyright © 2006
of Western States. All Rights Reserved.
Permission is granted to distribute this information in whole
or in part, as long as the Snowmobile Alliance of Western States (SAWS) is acknowledged as the source. If
you are not yet a member of SAWS and you would like receive these alerts,
please sign up on our web site at: http://www.snowmobile-alliance.org