Friends of the Bitterroot

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Action Alert 1/15/2008


Contact FOB for updates at dsoehren [AT] bresnan.net

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Travel Management Planning 2007 - 2009. It's time to weigh in.


In 2005, the Forest Service published a new rule for providing motor vehicle access to national forests and grasslands. To comply with this rule, the Bitterroot National Forest organized public meetings to encourage the public to help designate those roads, trails and areas open to motorized recreational use. The stated objective was to "protect natural resource values through effective management of motor vehicle use, enhance motorized recreation experiences on the National Forest, and preserve areas of non-motorized travel and experiences".


The first meeting, held in the Darby Club House 01/09/08, attended by more than 200 people, turned ugly. The crowd was heavily weighted in favor of pro-motorized recreation. Many were aggressive, belligerent and angry. The ‘f-word' was used more than once in comments.


At one point, as a woman spoke about wilderness, a man in the crowd said, “Put a bullet in her head.” His words were loud enough for a number of people to hear, including a Forest Service official who was able to get the man's name.


The situation was intimidating for anyone who wanted to speak in favor of non-motorized recreation. We know of several who remained silent as a result.


The next meeting scheduled for the following evening in Stevensville was quickly canceled and the format for the third meeting to be held in Hamilton 01/15 had to be scrapped.


The deadline for the first round of public comment was Jan. 31st. but that was quickly extended again till the end of February. Plans call for completing a draft environmental impact statement by August. The final decision is due in 2009.



Please join us in submitting comments that reflect our values:


* Peace & Quiet -- Secure our Roadless and Wilderness Study Areas for quiet recreation, wildlife habitat, and clean water.


* Quality Access –Designate motorized recreation on roads where off-road vehicles do not damage our streams or disturb our neighbors and wildlife. Identify and decommission the unnecessary and harmful roads.


* Balance -- Minimize conflicts among people and forest resources by separating off-road vehicle routes from quiet uses, clean water sources, and critical wildlife habitat.


* Responsibility -- Designate off-road vehicles use only where the agency can afford to monitor, enforce and maintain the use.


FOB is part of the Quiet Use Coalition. We endorse the Travel Management Citizens’ Alternative and helped to develop the list of areas of concern listed at: http://www.quietusecoalition.org/travel-management-citizens%25E2%2580%2599-alternative



Comment are due by February 29th, 2008

e-mail: comments-northern-bitterroot@fs.fed.us

Subject: Travel Planning Comments


Or mail them to:

Travel Management Planning Team

Stevensville Ranger District

88 Main St.

Stevensville, MT 59870