Thursday, March 19, 2009
Comment on forest routes
By SUE WATSON
A two-year study that would map the areas where the public may ride vehicles in National Forests is under study by the United States Forest Service.
The aim of the study is to revise and to designate routes that four-wheelers, jeeps, four-wheel drives, regular vehicles and things like snowmobiles can travel on National Forest lands.
The travel management project is a nationwide project to plan and to map and designate where vehicles may leave the road and travel in national forests, said Joel Gardner, ranger with the Holly Springs National Forest.
Up until now the public has been riding at will except at gated or blocked forest roads, at creeks, over pipeline lands and under powerlines, Gardner said.
“When we get this environmental assessment the National Forest Service will publish a map - this fall - showing where you can drive your car, four-wheel drive or ATV,” he said.
Meanwhile, the new revisions to the forest plan standards and guidelines are open for public comment. The proposals to seasonal changes when some roads and trails can be used and proposed limits to motorized big game retrieval to Wildlife Management Areas are available and the public is invited to comment on the project in writing. The deadline for public comment is coming up soon.
A copy of the environmental assessment can be obtained from Jeff Gainey, 100 West Capitol Street, Suit 1141, Jackson, MS 39269 or by calling 601-965-1617.
Gardner and Margaret Boley, forest supervisor in Jackson, encourage the public to make public comment.
“We value continued input and encourage full public participation in the development of this project, and in all aspects of the management of the national forests,” Boley said.
For more information on the National Travel Management Rule, go online to www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/.
Or visit the National Forests in Mississippi webpage at www.fs.fed.us/r8/mississippi/.
Gardner can be reached at 662-236-8318 in Oxford.
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