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Closed Roads and Closed... Camping?!

posted Jul 17, 2011, 12:55 PM by Smokey Bear   [ updated Jul 17, 2011, 9:33 PM ]
    "In 2003, the Forest Service in California outlined a strategy for establishing a sustainable system of designated routes for motor vehicle use, known as Route Designation. In 2005, the Forest Service issued a national framework for local forests to use in designating a sustainable system of roads, trails and areas for motor vehicle use. The goal remains the same, to secure a wide range of recreation opportunities while ensuring the best possible care of the land. The Forest Service recognizes that Travel Management rules will change the way that some people access and experience their national forests. But this change must happen in order to allow opportunities for public enjoyment and protection of our natural and cultural resources"

The quote above was taken off of the US forest Service website.  To the average citizen who spends very little time outdoors, this might Seem like a very good idea.  To establish a well designed system of trails for off highway motor vehicles...  while caring for our land? 

Unfortunately, to the individual who actually uses the forest to recreate, this new "Route Designation" is doing very little for OHV users. 
What's Ironic (and never mentioned by the FS and other agencies), is that very few of these "roads" in and around the Mammoth Lakes area were even created by OHV vehicles in the first place.  99% were created by jeeps and trucks though various timber sales, Fire protection,  and other activities.
So under the guise of "protecting our natural resources (from us)," the FS has decided to close 900 miles jeep roads in the Inyo... using OHV funds.  I don't exactly see the connection. 

Whats next?  Using OHV funds to resurface the 395 freway???? Maybe not such a bad idea...  

And this is how it's going down (pictures taken on July 5th 2011):

These images are what they refer to as "managing our public lands."  Unfortunately, you can expect to see this style of management all across the country.
But don't hold your breath if you expect anyone to follow up on making sure that any of these "closure" actually stay closed...  

Here's an interesting situation.  As a "managing" effort, this Jeep road (pictured above) was graded by the Forest Service last year (at our expense)!  Now it's closed...  

An example of Incompetence and wasted money?  You Bet!

Some argue that closing roads must be done to protect our natural resources, while others say it's nothing more than anti-access groups carrying out the Feds dirty work.   

I say Let the pictures speak for themselves.

Unfortunately, The new "Travel management" closes more than just old logging roads - it also shuts campers out of long established camp spots!  It's true, and Mammoth M/C recently stumbled across such a situation. 

Pictured below is an unusual closure - of nothing more than a small camping area by a creek!

It's not unusual to find out of the way camp spots in the forests surrounding  Mammoth Lakes.  Hunters commonly use them, as well as families looking for an out of the way spot to spend a weekend.  It's completely free and legal to camp anywhere in the Inyo (you don't have to spend money at a campground). 

This "camp closure" is located next to Upper Dry Creek, and is only about 100 feet in length.  Where's the destruction?  Where's the endangered resources?  This is a perfect example of a  low impact (dry) camping spot - nothing more, nothing less.   

Can someone please explain to me how is this related to OHV management?  

Notice the yellow sign propped up against the orange pipe?   The group responsible for this closure were in such a hurry, they couldnt even use the correct sign.  

No snowmobiles?  Is this a joke?  
Who uses snowmobiles to access a summer camping spot anyway?