7 Feb 2010, 10:07pm
Latest Forest News
by admin

Negativity has no place

Chris Horgan, Guest Letter, Kern Valley Sun, February 2, 2010 [here]

For five years Sequoia National Forest has been working with the public on a Travel Plan to determine which roads and trails will continue to allow multiple use or motorized use. About four years ago in an effort to close more roads and trails, a local group called the Sequoia ForestKeepers started a campaign encouraging people to submit letters telling about conflicts or negative experiences with Off Highway Vehicles.

The ForestKeepers agreed to pull their negative campaign when the Forest Service told them it was inappropriate to solicit negative comments during a collaborative trail planning process.

Thanks to many of you, the public has spoken out overwhelmingly in favor of keeping existing trails open to multiple use and the Sequoia National Forest has responded with a plan keeping many roads and trails open to everyone.

Some existing roads and trails will be closed under the new plan, but apparently not enough closures to satisfy ForestKeepers. They are unhappy the public process did not close more trails and prohibit traditional lakeside access. They have renewed their campaign through their website and through hiking web forums.

The ForestKeepers attempting to pit recreation groups against one another has no place in our valley. Now more than ever is a time to work together to help keep our roads and trails open so everyone can enjoy their pubic lands and bring more recreation dollars into our struggling local economy. There is enough Forest for all of us to enjoy.

Note: Great comments follow the letter [here]. Chris Horgan is Executive Director, Stewards of the Sequoia [here]

Among their accomplishments, Stewards of the Sequoia have:

* Formally adopted 9 trails

* Maintained almost 1400 miles of trails since 2004

* Installed or maintained almost 1400 water bars to reduce erosion and promote forest health

* Cleared almost 700 downed trees to keep people on the trail and reduce trail braiding

* Provided over $300,000 in Community and Environmental benefit through volunteer work

* Initiated a trail cat training program for volunteers.

* Researched thousands of pages of planning documents and writtem substantive comments to keep trails open to multiple use and to promote Forest Health.

* Met with elected officials to promote responsible recreation.

* Organized tree replanting to speed the reforestation of the McNally Fire 150,000 acre burn area.

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