Nova Fuel Use Study Results are In! 

Herbert Research has released the draft of the NOVA Fuel Use Study.( for the full text you can visit the www.iac.wa.gov website)  The results show that:

·         21% of NOVA revenues come from motorized use,

including dirt bikes, snowmobiles, ATV’s and 4X4s.

·         30% come from non-motorized trail related activities,

including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding

 and cross country skiing  

·         49% come from other recreational activities such as

 camping, sightseeing, hunting berry-picking and fishing

 

The final results of the study will be adopted by the Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation at their January 23 meeting. 

Historical Note:  The NOVA plan sets policies to guide expenditures under Washington State Non-Hiway and Off Road Vehicle Activities (NOVA) Program.  The NOVA plan provides funding to various local, state and federal agencies.  Funds are used to plan, acquire and build and maintain facilities, and manage off road vehicles (ORV) and non-Hiway road recreational opportunities.  The results of this new study will likely change the way the IAC distributes funds.

 

Cle Elum Additions to the Alpine Lakes Area has a 60 day public comment period!  There are nearly 16,000 acres in the additions.  The Forest Service has released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) recommending that these wild forests be protected as Wilderness.  Areas in the proposed Additions include Lake Ann, Mineral Creek, Fortune Creek and Scatter Creek.  You can submit your official public comment by writing a letter thanking the Forest Service for proposing Alternative 2, which recommends Wilderness for most of these areas.  For greatest impact please send a personal letter to:  I-90 Wilderness Study, attn: Floyd Rogalski, 803 W. 2nd Street, Cle Elum, Wa. 98922.  email frogalski@fs.fed.us      Fax:  509-674-4794          Comments must be postmarked by February 18th,2003  More information is available on the website www.wildwashington.org

 

Olympic National Park (ONP) begins work on new management plan.  922,561 acres encompass miles of designated Wilderness, about 95% of the Park.  The Park received nearly 3.5 million visits in 2000.  To help deal with impacts of use, National Parks across the country have developed General Management Plans, much like National Forest Plans, to balance conservation and recreation within Parks.  Unlike National Forests, National Parks do not have timber and mineral production missions.  The tensions in GMP’s come to light in discussions of recreation impacts on wildlife habitat and ecosystems. 

     Olympic National Park will release alternatives for Park management later this winter.  Typically when an agency like the National Park Service releases alternatives they range in focus, emphasizing particular goals.  One may focus on recreation, others on conservation, or somewhere in-between.  Public input can influence the agency to change or abandon an alternative in favor of another.  ONP will not identify a preferred alternative this round, they will release a draft EIS first.  Over the next year, equestrians will have an opportunity to make their voice heard to keep trails open to stock.  We’ll keep you up to date on public meetings and opportunities for public comment. 

 

Appeals Court Ruling Gives Vehicle Access another day in court.  In a victory for US Forest Service and off road vehicle advocates, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision involving OHV’s (off Hiway Vehicle) access to Montana National Forests. The suit involved the US Forest Service Wilderness Study Areas (WSA) created in 1977.  Originally filed in 1996, by Montana Wilderness Association and other organizations the suit claimed the agency was failing to take action to restrict OHV access and had illegally allowed OHV friendly trail improvements.  The Montana District Court decided the case in favor of the Wilderness Association.  The FS and access advocacy groups led by Blue Ribbon Coalition appealed the court decision. The Ninth Circuit decision now reverses the district court’s decision and remands the case for trial to determine whether the Forest Service has managed Montana Wilderness Study Areas so as to “maintain their wilderness character and potential for inclusion in the Wilderness System as required by the 1977 Act. The Wilderness Associations argued that continued OHV access to the areas and trail projects violated the standard, while OHV interests and the FS countered the Areas retain their character with ongoing OHV use and active management steps have left these areas in better shape today than 1977.  The Appeals Court found that a material issue of fact remained as to the “wilderness character” of the areas which precluded an award of summary judgment for either side.  It is unclear now how a ‘wilderness trial’ might proceed.  The BRC is pleased with the decision and glad they will have a chance to prove that proper WSA management need not exclude motorized activities.  The BRC web site is www.sharetrails.org