Why is Eldorado National Forest closing roads to OHV’s

This is my take on the subject. How do the Handicap people visit the back country if they close the roads to travel?

Recently I visited the Eldorado National Forest service Website to see if the forest was open for vehicle travel. Forest travel is generally closed to vehicle travel from Jan. 1 to April 1 or until they deem the roads drivable due to what the weather has been doing. So as I was looking through the Website I found this.

Court Order Prohibits Motorized Vehicle Travel on 42 Popular OHV Routes

Release Date: Apr 4, 2012 Placerville, CA

Contact(s): Frank Mosbacher

Forty-two off-highway-vehicle routes that cross meadows in the Eldorado National Forest may be closed to motor vehicle travel this recreation season while the Forest Service completes an environmental analysis, announced Eldorado National Forest Supervisor Kathy Hardy.

The potential travel prohibitions are the result of a February 2012 court order by U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton. The order said the Forest Service failed to comply with the National Forest Management Act in 2008 when it designated “open for public motor vehicle use” portions of 42 routes that cross meadows. Judge Karlton ordered the Forest Service to “set aside” the decision that designated these segments as open and to reconsider the decision.

A final court order with further direction to the Forest Service is pending. In the interim, Karlton ordered the 42 routes remain closed to motorized public use. The final order will identify specifically where travel will be prohibited until a new environmental decision is made.

“I know that prohibiting travel on these routes will be a big disappointment to forest visitors, but we have to be responsive to the order.” said Hardy. “I have a team of people lined up to complete a supplemental environmental impact statement as quickly as possible.”

The SEIS is scheduled to begin in April or May 2012 and to be completed by April 2013.

Hardy says many popular high county routes may be affected by the closure. Some of these routes include: Barrett Lake Jeep Trail; Squaw Ridge Four Wheel Drive Trail; Clover Valley/ Deer Valley Trail; Strawberry Four Wheel Drive Trail; Carson Emigrant Trail; Allen’s Camp Motorcycle Trail and the Bucks Pasture Motorcycle Trail. The Rubicon 4wd Trail is not affected by this court order.

Maps and a complete list of the routes affected by the court order will be posted on the Eldorado National Forest website at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado. These maps will be modified to reflect the final court order once it is received. A free-of-charge motor vehicle use map that shows the routes that are open to wheeled motor vehicle use will be available at all Eldorado National Forest offices in June 2012 reflecting the final order.

“I intend to close the routes where it makes sense to do so if the final order prohibits travel on routes that cross meadows,” said Hardy. “A route may be closed near a meadow or some distance away depending on how difficult it is to turn a vehicle around.”

Some routes will also be closed indirectly because they branch off closed routes and will not be accessible.

Where the heck did this come from? As you can see there is nothing that says who or what group brought this to the Judge; or did the Judge read the National Forest Management Act of 2008 and then go out and drive these trails to see if they were compliant and then made this action on his own. I doubt it.  I know one thing, I ride these trails a lot and I don’t remember driving through any Meadows in the Silver Lake area; Which is the (Squaw Ridge Four Wheel Drive Trail, Carson Emigrant Trail, and the Mud Lake Area). There are several Meadows in that area but the road doesn’t run through them. One is at Mud Lake in which the road is a short distance from the meadow and parallels alongside it until you arrive at Mud Lake. Another is at Allen Camp which the road doesn’t run through the vast part of the meadow just to one side of it and maybe a couple of other small meadows which the road runs by one side of them. Anyway if a road runs through a meadow I guess that makes it two meadows: one meadow on each side. How about Hwy 88 through Hope Valley it runs through a meadow.

In my thinking this is the real reason why these roads are closed.  The area around Silver Lake is where horseback riders and hikers go. Plasse’s Resort and the Eldorado Forest Campgrounds don’t mention anywhere on their Web site about onsite or nearby 4 wheel driving even though the OHV roads are all around the area, but mention everything else i.e. ( hiking, biking, horseback riding etc.). At the entrance to the Mud Lake OHV Parking you drive by some cabins that have horse corrals. With this been said I wonder where the money came from to have some Lawyer read through the Forest Management Act of 2008 and figure an excuse to stop the riders in the area. I think that any Judge that puts an end to OHV being able to drive on these 4×4 trails are making it inaccessible for people with disabilities to visit the back country and enjoy what it has to offer should think again. The people that have brought this about are only thinking about themselves and making a profit. It’s all bought the money.  I see an even a bigger lawsuit coming. Title 3 Handicap Access Assures Handicap access for recreation. Why should a handicap person not be able to see the same thing a hiker or horseback rider sees? Why shouldn’t they have access?

Now for the Eldorado National Forest Service who thinks they need to close the roads and spend a lot of time and money and have a team of people to complete a supplemental environmental impact statement as quickly as possible.”   Here’s your answer right know and it won’t cost anything. Have a group of forest service workers go out before you open the area and make a marked detour with surveyors tape around the area you don’t want them to drive. The riders will drive through the marked trail and presto; they’ll make a new trail. I’m thinking of sending a copy of this forest service release to a Lawyer and see what he thinks. I ride a Quad through the forest because I can’t Hike any long distances because of a herniated disc in my back and my hips hurt if I walk too far but I can ride a quad all day. I don’t see why I can’t continue riding where I have been because of some selfish people.



Send a complaint to:

U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights – NYAVE
Washington, D.C. 20530