Osceola National Forest requests public comment on Travel Analysis

Date: January 17, 2012

Dear Interested Public:

The Osceola National Forest (Osceola) is developing a report which will recommend a minimum road system on the forest needed to provide a safe and efficient travel system and that provides for the protection, management, and use of National Forest System lands. At this time, we are requesting comments from the public which will be considered in the evaluation process.

Background

In 2007, the Osceola completed the process to designate roads, trails, and areas for the Motor Vehicle Use Travel Analysis as required by Sub-Part B of the 2005 Travel Management Rule. This effort resulted in a set of Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) which identify which roads and trails are open to the public for motorized use. Roads not identified on the MVUM maps are closed to motorized use.

The Osceola is now beginning work on the Travel Analysis (TAP) to identify the minimum road system needed for safe and efficient travel and for the protection, management, and use of National Forest System (NFS) lands, as required by Sub-Part A of the 2005 Travel Management Rule. This analysis should not result in immediate changes to specific roads currently open to motorized use on the forest. Information from the TAP will be used by interdisciplinary teams during site specific project analyses, such as timber sales, to help determine which roads should remain open.

Need

The Osceola currently receives insufficient funding to maintain the existing 990 miles of system roads that are open to the public, and additional cuts are expected again this year. As a result, many of the roads on the forest are not maintained to the required specifications which results in environmental damage, as well as limiting access when unmaintained roads become impassible.

Process

One of the primary requirements of the TAP is to evaluate the road maintenance costs needed to maintain a safe and efficient road system. In addition, the Forest Service will consider the effects of roads on the following factors: watersheds and erosion, threatened and endangered species, sensitive areas, public access, access for land management activities by Forest Service employees, and access for timber production.

Once a minimum road system is identified, the Forest Service will provide the public with an additional opportunity to comment. Also, the public wil be able to provide comments as future projects evaluate individual roads identified in this report.

How to Comment

Please submit your written comments by February 15, 2012. Please make your comments as specific as possible, and include the name of the proposal (TAP – Osceola), as well as your name, address or e-mail, and phone number. Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record for this project and may be available for public inspection. Mail your comments to District Ranger, Osceola National Forest, 24874 US Highway 90, Sanderson, FL 320872, or fax to (386) 752 – 7437. Comments may also be mailed to: osceola@fs.fed.us, with the subject line of TAP – Osceola.

IVAN GREEN
District Ranger
Osceola National Forest

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