From: Lois Norrgard, American Lands Alliance
Date: September 17, 2004
Call Your Representative Today
Ask Them To Support Strong ORV Rules
(Deadline for Endorsement is Sept 24)
The Off Road Vehicle comment period ended last Monday and many thanks to the individuals and organizations that mobilized to urge the administration to adopt strong National Forest ORV rules. In the first round of counting, it looks as if the conservation community was able to generate approximately 50,000 comments. However, there is still work to be done. Two Members of Congress, Representatives Udall (D-CO) and Grijalva (D-AZ), are circulating a letter in the House of Representatives urging the administration to adopt stronger ORV rules. Let's call our Representatives and urge them to sign this important letter.
TAKE ACTION: Please call your Representative today at 202-224-3121 and ask that they sign on to the Udall/Grijalva letter urging strong ORV rules on National Forests. Your Representative can sign on to the letter by contacting Mark Udall or Raul Grijalva's offices.
The Udall/Grijalva Letter
Mr. Dale Bosworth
Chief, USDA Forest Service
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Chief Bosworth:
As you have frequently pointed out, pressure from recreational uses is one of the major threats to the long-term health of our National Forests and Grasslands. In particular, you recognize that increasing unmanaged use of off-road vehicles on our public lands, both on legitimate routes and on a proliferating number of unplanned, unauthorized routes, is causing adverse impacts such as erosion, damage to wildlife habitat, and disturbance of cultural and archaeological sites.
So, we commend the Forest Service, under your leadership, for taking the initiative in proposing to improve management of off-road vehicle use on America's National Forests. We support many of the management policies in the proposal, including prohibiting cross-country motorized recreation and authorizing off-road vehicle use only on roads and routes specifically designated as open on use maps.
However, while the proposed rules announced on July 7 are an important first step, we encourage you to go further by strengthening the final rule to more fully address the threats that off-road vehicles present to public lands.
In particular, we are concerned about language within the proposed rule that appears to allow the continued use of off-road vehicles where inappropriate or illegal until route designation has been completed. To avoid having this become a long-term loophole, there should be a definitive deadline for completion of route designations as well as clear authority and a mandate for closure of unauthorized routes in the interim.
In addition, we encourage you to incorporate other changes to strengthen protection for public lands and waters and promote balance between off-road vehicle recreation and the many other uses of forests and grasslands, including hunting, ranching, fishing, and hiking.
Toward those goals, the final rule should --
· Provide for full public participation and thorough analysis of environmental impacts in connection with the designation of roads and routes;
· Ensure that any system of roads and routes designated for off-road vehicle recreation is manageable and affordable; and
· Boost the agency's on-the-ground management, enforcement and visitor education capability.
The Forest Service has an opportunity to address this serious threat to our National Forests and Grasslands while continuing to provide recreational opportunities for many Americans. We encourage you to strengthen the proposal by incorporating these common sense recommendations.
Mark Udall Raśl M. Grijalva
Member of Congress Member of Congress