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BRC: ARIZONA - Tonto National Forest Releases Travel Management Project DEIS

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ARIZONA - Tonto National Forest Releases Travel Management Project DEIS


Greetings BRC Action Alert Subscribers,


Tonto National Forest has announced that the Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Travel Management Project was posted in the Federal Register on July 3, 2014, which will begin the 45-day public review and comment period. This comment period will end on August 18, 2014. The DEIS provides the public an opportunity to learn about, and participate in, the federal decision-making process.


You can review a copy of the DEIS at public libraries in Globe, Cave Creek, Payson, Young, and select Mesa and Phoenix locations or at the Forest Supervisor's Office or Ranger District Offices. It is also available for download at http://data.ecosystem-management.org/nepaweb/fs-usda-pop.php?project=28967. You can request a CD version by calling (602) 225-5213.


Comments on the DEIS need to be received by August 18, 2014.


Send written comments to:

Neil Bosworth, Forest Supervisor

ATTN: Travel Management

2324 E. McDowell Rd

Phoenix, AZ, 85006


Comments may also be sent via e-mail to comments-southwestern-TMRTonto@fs.fed.us, or via facsimile (602) 225-5302.


For further information please contact individual ranger districts, or contact our Forest NEPA Coordinator Anne Thomas at 602-225-5213 or by email to mariannethomas@fs.fed.us.


Thanks in advance and, as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact BRC.


Ric Foster

Public Lands Department Manager

BlueRibbon Coalition

208-237-1008 ext 107

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Gah! I just opened the pdf file and so far I barely understand anything therein. I think this is the final decision-making step prior to the issuance of the MVUM, so I hope I 'get it' sooner than later. If you understand all this and know how to decipher all this information please feel free to post up any and all comments here.

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I'm reading on the VJC that half of Red Creek trail is slated to be turned into administrative use only. Alternate C is what they are proposing:



We have only until August 18 to send emails with comments regarding the travel plans and Red Creek to:



Here is a link to a VJC thread where they're discussing the travel plan, there's some good information:


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Wow. This Plan C will surprise a lot of people including Fish & Game and others. I was told there were not going to be many closures in the tiny section I volunteer for. Ha! That "Motorized Trail" tag is the kiss of death for any road.


My reply to their plan is as follows. If you are a big quad/ATV rider you won't like my comments and may want to skip my reply completely.





As I review this proposal it becomes readily obvious it is a complete disaster for Forest visitors. Working as a volunteer in the Northwest section of the Cave Creek Ranger District, I am seeing the proposed elimination of the following routes:


FR 605

FR 3157

FR 557

FR 587

FR 595

FR 391

FR 610

FR 611

FR 1981

FR 585

FR 3159

FR 481 south of the Rosalie Mine


Closure of part of FR 36 to the Copper Creek Guard Station, a NHR site.


Technically many of these roads would be decommissioned to Motorized Trail status which would then strictly limit their use to hunters only. It would also deny access to many historic and Native sights. Effectively, unless a Forest visitor is a hunter, most of the area would become roadless under this plan.


Currently all of these roads are in use and passable by any four wheel drive or high clearance two wheel drive vehicle. Of course the use of any Forest road should always be tempered by the skill of the vehicle operator.

I can see no justification for closing (or downgrading) all of these routes.


Forest Road 390 is listed as being proposed for declassification to Motorized use only yet that road does not even exist. I stage for volunteer work on the West end of Forest Road 44 at the "terminus" of Forest Road 390 and it isn't there! Trust me! I know what I am talking about.


Forest Road 390 is scheduled for closure (downgraded) yet it is a viable and used road.


As for the others:


Forest Roads 610 and 611 access the Agua Fria National Monument and significant cultural sites there.


Forest Road 1981 accesses Turret Peak, the location of which has been dropped from your current official Forest map.


Forest Road 481 accesses Brooklyn Peak and is in need of repair South of the Rosalie Mine but it is viable (The route suffered heavy damage after the Cave Creek Fire).


Other numerous roads including FR 605, 557, 585, 3159, 399 are all used by Ranchers and Fish & Game personnel. I was recently asked by Fish & Game if I had plans to debrush FR 605. The initial answer was "yes" however this proposed plan leaves that in doubt.


This section of the Tonto does not see a lot of visitors or abuse by those who do travel through the area. Most of the roads that suffered significant damage from erosion after the Cave Creek fire have been repaired by the Forest Service. Only a few still need some reworking.


It must also be realized that closing (or downgrading status, which has the same effect) all of these roads will severely impact access in case of fire suppression. A common meme heard in every major forest fire is officials bemoaning lack of access in time of such need. Case closed on that argument!


It would make much more sense to limit OHV (quad) access to a lot of areas since this type of transport has to be the most destructive of all motorized vehicles. Likewise quad operators tend to be at the upper end of the scale when it comes to irresponsible actions including traveling cross-country.


I am curious if anyone from the Tonto main office has actually inventoried (visited) all of these roads? It might be enlightening to see them first hand before making broad sweeping decisions.


Finally, one point of order. The proposed plan C has added Alpha-Numeric routes to the Tonto. A bad idea. This is a significant cost increase for the Forest because now the Agency will have to stock dual lettering books (although the folks at Rock Art will love it).


The prudent plan, as currently used in the sector under discussion, would be to stay with a Numeric numbering system only.


Should you have any questions about the roads in this area please do not hesitate to contact me. I have been working on all of them for over 2 years and know the area (and the roads) quite well.


Maybe this is the time for the Tonto to make a bigger push for volunteerism by the public. When I first applied to the Forest for this activity, the nature of my proposed volunteerism was completely unknown to the Service. Two years later I would like to think that my efforts have made the area much more amenable and visitor friendly. If this type of volunteer work were expanded across the Forest, it would leave a positive impact for the land.


Thank you for your time

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