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Travel Management Public Comment Period Begins

Environmental assessment Tonto National Forest begins.

 

January 15, 2012

A pool of water. A remnant of the last rains in a dry wash in Tonto National Forest

Travel Management Public Comment Period Begins

Environmental assessment Tonto National Forest begins.

Tonto National Forest officials are seeking comments on the Travel Management Environmental Assessment (EA). The 30-day comment period began Jan. 6.

The action is a proposed system of roads, trails and areas. Based on previous public input, several alternatives are proposed in this draft Environmental Assessment (EA). The final product will be a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) that shows which roads and trails will be open to motor vehicle use. The decision will also amend the Tonto National Forest Plan.

In 2005, the Department of Agriculture enacted a new planning rule to manage motorized vehicle use on all national forests and grasslands. This rule requires the Tonto National Forest to designate those roads, trails, and areas that are open to motor vehicle use. Designations will be made by class of vehicle and, if appropriate, by time of year.

The final rule will prohibit the use of motor vehicles off the designated system, as well as use of motor vehicles on routes and in areas that are not consistent with the designations.

“Public involvement at this time is a critical component in developing a motorized travel system,” stated Sharon Wallace, Public Services group leader. “During this comment period, we are hoping to get representative viewpoints and suggestions from a cross-section of forest visitors.

“The purpose of the Motor Vehicle Use Map is to comply with the requirements of the Travel Management Rule, to reduce problems caused by uncontrolled off-road travel, and to improve the current system of travel routes for public access and enjoyment. The development of a Motor Vehicle Use Map is an adaptive process in which future changes can be made in the public interest.”

A copy of the travel management environmental assessment can be found at the forest web page at http://www.fs.usda.gov/Tonto under the Travel Management Plan link.

Print or CD copies of the EA are available at the Forest Supervisor’s Office at 2324 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, Arizona, or one of six forest district offices.

Comments must be submitted within 30 days following date of the legal notice published in the Capitol Times on Jan. 6. Please submit comments using one of the methods below (listed in order of preference for ease of processing through the content analysis process):

• Internet (using a comment form): https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?Project=28967

• E-mail: comments-southwestern-TMRTonto@fs.fed.us

• Postal mail:

Travel Management Team Leader

Tonto National Forest

2324 E McDowell Rd.

Phoenix AZ, 85006

• Phone: (602) 225-5213

Comments will only be considered if a full name and a physical mailing address are included. Comments become part of the public record.

If you have any questions concerning this process, please contact Genevieve Johnson at (602) 225-5213, or by e-mail at grjohnson@fs.fed.us

For more information about the program, please visit the Tonto National Forest webpage at http://www.fs.usda.gov/Tonto or call the Tonto National Forest Supervisor’s Office, (602) 225-5200.

 

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