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chrisski

AZ Off ROad Closure. Comment Due Jan 16, 2020

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Just found through the AMRA facebook page that the USFS is planning on closing up to 1290 miles of off road trails.  Comments are due in a few days.  Please go to this site to learn more, and to see a link to make a comment page.

https://www.azbackcountryexplorers.com/2019/12/1290-mile-proposed-trail-closure-rim-country.html

Of particular concern to me is the amount of riparian habitat to be closed.  To me that basically means a creek, and every single trail I use has at least some riparian habitat, so closing that one small part, or in other cases the creek is actually many miles of trail, would close many of the areas I travel.

The AZ TMPs kind of snuck up on me and closed small trials in West of the Hassnyumpa that I would love to take a quad to prospect, but now have signs saying no motorized vehicles. 

 

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The closure of the trail does not mean the area is closed. It just means you cannot take a vehicle on that trail.

When youlook at the trails that will be closed you will find they do not generally limit access. They are in areas where "off roaders" have created a network of trails. They close all trails except one. So in some places you could close a hundred miles of trail and still take the one designated trail with no inconvenience at all.

I used to think trail closures were all bad. But when they proposed closures in my area I got involved. I looked at the closure map and identified the trails that were to be closed. After I educated myself on exactly what was happening I realized that I had nothing to gripe about.

I don't know that area and I don't have any idea if our oppressive and corrupt government overlords are removing legal access to large swaths of land. But before we decry every road closure as evil and a plot by environmentalists to lock up our land we should look at the map and familiarize ourself with the area. Then if we have logical gripes about closing a trail we can make a coherent argument.

I see a whole lot of irreversible damage being done on public land in my area. There are trails all over the hills and up every steep slope. Hundreds of individual trails can cross a single 50 acre spot. There are thousands of ATV and UTV and four wheelers, buggy, bikes and motorcycles in the desert near my house every day.it is absolute insanity.

So sometimes closures are good management. In the cases I am familiar with I have supported them. 

I have never heard of a road closure that has restricted access to any area around here. It may force a guy to lace up his boots and walk another mile. And some guys who can't walk might not be able to get there in a vehicle. But we have to manage the land despite the inconvenience it may cause people. We can't allow a guy to blaze new trails to the top of every peak because he can't climb them. And we can't continue to allow vehicle access to every acre that has a trail through it. 

Just my two cents. I try to make my opinions on trail closures mile by mile.

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I like the good old days when you could see the USA in your Chevrolet. Closing 1300 miles of off road trails is what I would call "severely limiting". 
I like  Alternative 1: No Action except for additional steps to prevent large scale fires. 
All other proposals, imho, are just expensive human made experiments that will probably cause unforeseen problems down the road. 
In other words, let nature take it's course.  Maybe teach the people who thought all this crap up how to code....

 

Approximately 150 miles of existing non-system roads would be reconstructed or improved as part of
project implementation. Road decommissioning would occur on approximately 200 miles of existing system roads on the Coconino and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests and approximately 290 miles of roads on the Tonto National Forest. Up to 800 miles of unauthorized roads on all three forests could be decommissioned under this alternative.
 
Improve approximately 150 miles of existing non-system roads and construct approximately 350 miles of temporary roads for haul access; decommission when treatments are completed. 
 
Relocate and reconstruct existing open roads adversely affecting water quality and natural resources, or of concern to human safety.
 

Mechanically thin trees and/or implement prescribed fire on approximately 952,330 acres. o

 
Mechanically thin trees and implement prescribed fire on approximately 1,260 acres in the Long Valley Experimental Forest (in coordination with the Rocky Mountain Research Station).
 
Implement prescribed fire alone on approximately 45,290 acres.
 
Mechanically thin and/or implement prescribed fire on approximately 68,360 acres of Mexican spotted owl (MSO) protected activity centers (PACs), approximately 128,800 acres of MSO recovery habitat, and approximately 500,940 acres of northern goshawk habitat.
 
Mechanically thin trees and/or implement prescribed fire to restore approximately 40,760 acres of grasslands and meadows (includes 21,550 acres of grassland cover type).
 
Conduct facilitative operations (thin and/or burn) on up to 157,270 acres of non-target cover types to support treatments in target cover types.
 
Planting, burning, and other activities to encourage reforestation on approximately 69,360 acres of understocked areas that were previously forested.
 
Restore hydrologic function and vegetation on approximately 9,570 acres of meadows. 
 
Restore function in up to 470 miles of riparian streams and intermittent and ephemeral stream channels (non-riparian).
 
Restore up to 360 miles of stream habitat for threatened, endangered, and sensitive aquatic species. 
 
Construct up to 200 miles of protective barriers around springs, aspen, Bebb’s willows, and bigtooth maples, as needed for restoration.
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You only have a couple weeks to comment Slim. I am sure your opinions and reasoning will impress the USFS.

Have you ever been on any of these trails you want to keep open? Will the closure keep you out of any areas you want to go? Or are all the trails to be closed just redundant two tracks with other routes of access?

Since you have enough info to decide whether the closures are needed or not we would like to know the story!

They are making a huge investment in designating and improving some roads and closing others. Do you think the roads they are closing will limit your travel more than the improved roads will enhance it?

"Letting nature take its course" where unregulated roads have been cut means a lot of erosion damage. This will negatively affect grazing, hunting fishing and make some routes inaccessible.  Do you think this is wise forest management?

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On 1/4/2020 at 6:58 PM, Bedrock Bob said:

You only have a couple weeks to comment Slim. I am sure your opinions and reasoning will impress the USFS.

Have you ever been on any of these trails you want to keep open? Will the closure keep you out of any areas you want to go? Or are all the trails to be closed just redundant two tracks with other routes of access?

Since you have enough info to decide whether the closures are needed or not we would like to know the story!

They are making a huge investment in designating and improving some roads and closing others. Do you think the roads they are closing will limit your travel more than the improved roads will enhance it?

"Letting nature take its course" where unregulated roads have been cut means a lot of erosion damage. This will negatively affect grazing, hunting fishing and make some routes inaccessible.  Do you think this is wise forest management?

Hey Bob. Happy New Year. Did I get in your face about your opinion? You seem to have a nose problem.
Why don't you go out and shoot up some more bottles on public land. Better yet, go back out there and clean up your mess. 

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Posted (edited)

I'm going to ignore Bob's obvious provocation and point out that the comments of others -- read at following link -- agree with me and chriski that "no action should be taken".
This proposed pipe dream is a huge waste of taxpayer money which would replace Mother Nature with a bunch of bureaucrats at the USFS while severely limiting the public's right to access in this area. Have a look:
https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/ReadingRoom?List-size=25&project=48210&List-page=1

Edited by Dakota Slim

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So then you think people should just be able to drive their vehicles anywhere they please?

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4 minutes ago, LukeJ said:

So then you think people should just be able to drive their vehicles anywhere they please?

Hi Luke. There are existing laws that govern where people can drive. I suggest people follow the law. 

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11 minutes ago, Dakota Slim said:

Hi Luke. There are existing laws that govern where people can drive. I suggest people follow the law. 

But people don't follow the law, that's how we end up with miles and miles of unauthorized roads.

Do we need more cops out there?   boorb

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They're not closing the forest.

They are reducing access in certain areas so there will continue to be a forest.

"Letting Nature take it's course" sounds great.  Except,  it's the humans that are messing it all up.  Are we nature?  Or above it?  

Either way, we have a responsibility to protect it.

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7 minutes ago, LukeJ said:

Except,  it's the humans that are messing it all up. 

Exactly, and this is what they want to do:
 

Improve approximately 150 miles of existing non-system roads and construct approximately 350 miles of temporary roads for haul access; decommission when treatments are completed. 
 
Relocate and reconstruct existing open roads adversely affecting water quality and natural resources, or of concern to human safety.
 

Mechanically thin trees and/or implement prescribed fire on approximately 952,330 acres. o

 
Mechanically thin trees and implement prescribed fire on approximately 1,260 acres in the Long Valley Experimental Forest (in coordination with the Rocky Mountain Research Station).
 
Implement prescribed fire alone on approximately 45,290 acres.
 
Mechanically thin and/or implement prescribed fire on approximately 68,360 acres of Mexican spotted owl (MSO) protected activity centers (PACs), approximately 128,800 acres of MSO recovery habitat, and approximately 500,940 acres of northern goshawk habitat.
 
Mechanically thin trees and/or implement prescribed fire to restore approximately 40,760 acres of grasslands and meadows (includes 21,550 acres of grassland cover type).
 
Conduct facilitative operations (thin and/or burn) on up to 157,270 acres of non-target cover types to support treatments in target cover types.
 
Planting, burning, and other activities to encourage reforestation on approximately 69,360 acres of understocked areas that were previously forested.
 
Restore hydrologic function and vegetation on approximately 9,570 acres of meadows. 
 
Restore function in up to 470 miles of riparian streams and intermittent and ephemeral stream channels (non-riparian).
 
Restore up to 360 miles of stream habitat for threatened, endangered, and sensitive aquatic species. 
 
Construct up to 200 miles of protective barriers around springs, aspen, Bebb’s willows, and bigtooth maples, as needed for restoration.

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29 minutes ago, Dakota Slim said:

Exactly, and this is what they want to do:

In an attempt to 'fix' what's already taken place.  To try to 'steer' it back where it should be.  So hopefully, it will continue to be there long after we all die.

Wildland fire tactics of the past have allowed fuels to accumulate.  Doing nothing about it now, only increases the odds that there will be one big fire in the future.  In places like the rim country, a huge fire could turn the place into a high desert for the foreseeable future.

 

39 minutes ago, Dakota Slim said:

Mechanically thin and/or implement prescribed fire on approximately 68,360 acres of Mexican spotted owl (MSO) protected activity centers (PACs), approximately 128,800 acres of MSO recovery habitat, and approximately 500,940 acres of northern goshawk habitat.

If these birds need some help because we put out fires that would have naturally cleared meadows and thinned underbrush, then I'm all for it.

Losing these animals would cause their prey populations to increase which would further push the imbalance.  Before you know it, it's affecting the deer, elk, and other large mammals.

The mice and rabbits eat much of the same stuff as the larger mammals.  Too much of one, means not enough for the others.

 

Everything on here is about preservation and restoration.  So You can continue to go there in the future.  So there will be a nice place to go.

 

 

1 hour ago, Dakota Slim said:

Exactly, and this is what they want to do:
 

Improve approximately 150 miles of existing non-system roads and construct approximately 350 miles of temporary roads for haul access; decommission when treatments are completed. 
 
Relocate and reconstruct existing open roads adversely affecting water quality and natural resources, or of concern to human safety.
 

Mechanically thin trees.....

 

 

You know what else?  It's jobs.  Jobs that most likely won't be outsourced.  Jobs that people can pay their bills with.

People to make the machines, fix the machines, and run the machines.  Not everyone wants to settle for working at Walmart.

 

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Maybe they should rake the leaves in the forest instead of doing maintenance on the roads and thinning trees. Any type of maintenance is just a bunch of nonsense.

Raking has been suggested to keep forest fires from starting. Instead of all the stuff that experienced land managers think is needed they should just rake some leaves. Or maybe just do nothing at all. That will surely reduce fire danger and keep all those roads from eroding. Just let nature take its course and all those roads will fix themselves.

Stopping any type of maintenance or land management practices are obviously the best thing to insure access and reduce the chance of catastrophic fire. Just ask anyone with experience in forest management.

I am certain that land owners in the forest as well as contractors would appreciate a stop to all road maintenance. It just makes it so hard to drive. And campers and hunters would surely love it if they just stopped all that nonsense. It would be so much better if they just let nature take its course where land management is concerned.

:)

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12 hours ago, Bedrock Bob said:

Maybe they should rake the leaves in the forest instead of doing maintenance on the roads and thinning trees. Any type of maintenance is just a bunch of nonsense.

Raking has been suggested to keep forest fires from starting. Instead of all the stuff that experienced land managers think is needed they should just rake some leaves. Or maybe just do nothing at all. That will surely reduce fire danger and keep all those roads from eroding. Just let nature take its course and all those roads will fix themselves.

Stopping any type of maintenance or land management practices are obviously the best thing to insure access and reduce the chance of catastrophic fire. Just ask anyone with experience in forest management.

I am certain that land owners in the forest as well as contractors would appreciate a stop to all road maintenance. It just makes it so hard to drive. And campers and hunters would surely love it if they just stopped all that nonsense. It would be so much better if they just let nature take its course where land management is concerned.

 

Raking the leaves is an excellent idea but why don't we go high tech? Let's have the government buy millions of autonomous  leaf raking roombas instead and set them out in the forest. Would certainly save on labor costs.😉

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Forest roomba: take a cylinder 8 feet wide and 2 in diameter, cover it with big carbide teeth and spin @ 2000 rPM or so. Mount on an articulating arm. Install on a 13 ton tracked vehicle... search forester mulcher... FECON

Couple that  with "feller bunchers" to drop trees for harvest ,and areas open to the public to harvest dead and downed wood, and you will have much less flammable  areas

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Posted (edited)

We already have millions of acres of dead and down wood open to the public for harvesting.

For some reason this does not reduce the risk of fire much. Go figure.

I think we should obey the directive of our leaders and rake the forest. Either that or stop all maintenance activities and let nature take its course like Slim suggested.

We have opinions from highly intelligent stable geniuses on the subject and we would be fools to not heed their sage advice.

We need to alternate periods of raking with intervals of doing nothing. This will surely correct the problems that thinning and road maintenance have caused.

For years both of these guys have diligently been doing nothing but all the efforts of educated and experienced range management professionals have undermined their hard work. We really need to get behind the plan and start letting those roads fix themselves! The future of the forest depends on it !

Make the forest great again! Rake and do nothing!

Edited by Bedrock Bob
All the collapsed culvert in the Gila National Forest have repaired themselves at the mere suggestion!

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4 hours ago, Stillweaver hillbelli said:

Forest roomba: take a cylinder 8 feet wide and 2 in diameter, cover it with big carbide teeth and spin @ 2000 rPM or so. Mount on an articulating arm. Install on a 13 ton tracked vehicle... search forester mulcher... FECON

Couple that  with "feller bunchers" to drop trees for harvest ,and areas open to the public to harvest dead and downed wood, and you will have much less flammable  areas

 

FTX300-196[1].jpg

FTX300-BH120-12[1].jpg

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2 hours ago, Bedrock Bob said:

We already have millions of acres of dead and down wood open to the public for harvesting.

For some reason this does not reduce the risk of fire much. Go figure.

A large chunk of which is inaccessible to wheeled vehicles because of road closure policies. The last firewood permit I received from Prescott NF, they made sure to tell me, that vehicular recovery further than a couple car lengths from a sanctioned trail was no longer allowed. I was allowed to winch a log to the trail, but could not drive to it. I don't think I would enjoy backpacking a Ponderosa pine very much.:hiker: Apparently neither do any of my fellow humans, because the areas close to a road are all nicely groomed with zero harvestable wood to be had. Plenty of wood out past the reach of winchlines though.  

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Posted (edited)

That's one way to do it -- FECON. And then we can all watch as noxious invasive species like bromus tectorum take over and create more of a fire hazard then was there originally. 

https://www.nazinvasiveplants.org/cheatgrass

Edited by Dakota Slim
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The grass is invading as we speak.

Are you suggesting the USFS shouldn't attempt to maintain the forest because of this grass?

I guess I'm not following what you're trying to say. 

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, LukeJ said:

The grass is invading as we speak.

Are you suggesting the USFS shouldn't attempt to maintain the forest because of this grass?

I guess I'm not following what you're trying to say. 

Hi Luke. I pretty much said what I wanted to say in my first post. Then, of course, good old bob stuck his nose in my face for having an opinion, mimicked me and wanted to debate. We all have opinions on this matter. I think George Carlin pretty much sums up my thoughts on this matter but what really really matters is what the USFS does after reading all the input from the public. There is still time to chime in with your opinion but most likely the USFS will ignore the public input and do what the liberal activists and their donors want and the Wile E Coyote cartoon will continue. Like I said in my original post, I'm all for fire control. I am not in favor of spending one dime for saving critters that don't exist and I see no point in closing access roads on public lands.  

Edited by Dakota Slim

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This kind of stands out, "Up to 800 miles of unauthorized roads on all three forests could be decommissioned under this alternative."

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