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26Feb/06Off

ALERT: Bend Fort Rock Ranger District Environmental Assessment

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SAWS Action Alert

On February 17, 2006 three SAWS members met with USFS representative, Marv Lang.  Marv graciously took the time to review the proposals for a new snowpark primarily for snowmobile use and a new 5.3 mile snowmobile trail.  An open house was also held on February 23rd at the Deschutes National Forest Headquarters to discuss this Environmental Assessment.

Written comments must be received by March 6th

USFS REASONING 

This project has been kicked around for years but came to light as a proposed idea nearly 2 years ago at the Dutchman Summit.  At that time, a group of winter users recommended that a new snopark for snowmobiles should be constructed at a higher elevation than the existing ones (Edison and Wanoga).  It was also recommended that Dutchman Snopark should be a parking area for non-motorized activities. In addition, the Elk-Kwohl Snowmobile trail will compliment the proposed snopark by providing a southern, shorter route to get to the western portion of the winter trails system and also provide access to the Elk Lake area.

The purpose behind these two projects is to decrease the congestion and user conflicts in the Dutchman Flat area.  New regulations are now in effect which attempt to separate uses in the Dutchman Flat/ Tumalo Mountain area.  These regulations help separate uses and minimize conflicts.  The Dutchman/Tumalo region is a highly desirable area for both motorized and non-motorized users due to the scenic quality and the consistently good snow for a full season.

Constructing a new primary snowmobile snopark would relieve parking congestion at Dutchman Snopark and provide a longer season of use than either Edison or Wanoga Snopark.  A short tie to existing trail #45 would provide quick access to the south (Edison area) and to the north/east via trail #5. This provides relative quick access to the moon mountain area to the north through trail #6 and/or the Dutchman area on trail #5 and via trail #7 or #8.   

The proposed Elk-Kwohl trail which connects the Elk Lake area to trail #4 and the Edison area will help relieve congestion in the Dutchman area by providing another route allowing quicker access to the western system trails and the Elk Lake area.  Snowmobilers from Edison, Wanoga, or the proposed Kapka Butte Snopark would have access to the Elk Lake area without traveling through the Dutchman Flat area.  The enclosed map will clarify.

PLEASE SEE THE FOLLOWING WEBSITE TO VIEW MAPS AND DRAWINGS:
http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/centraloregon/

USFS PROPOSAL FOR KAPPA BUTTE SNOPARK

  1. The proposed snopark will be constructed primarily for snowmobile use, i.e. the design vehicle will be a full size recreational vehicle with a multi-place snowmobile trailer.
  2. The snopark will be constructed for approximately 70 design vehicles (15 x 60 foot slots)
  3. Increased levels of use will be based on 4 snowmobiles per design vehicle.
  4. The snopark will be constructed to accommodate commercial rentals, i.e. there will be separate parking and area for concessionaires’ facilities.
  5. A short trail (.2 mile) will connect the snopark to existing trail #45 accessing the current snowmobile trail system as well as a perimeter trail around the snopark.
  6. A warming shelter and two toilets will be located on site.
  7. Overnight use (camping) will be allowed.

SAWS POSITION ON KAPPA BUTTE SNOPARK

We are very appreciative of the new snowpark and applaud the USFS for their support of our sport.  However, if these proposals are adopted there will be 4 (Messiner, Dutchman, Swampy Lake and Vista Butte) snowparks dedicated to non-motorized use and ZERO dedicated to motorized.  SAWS believes that the new Kappa Butte Snopark should be dedicated to motorized use.

Elk -KWOL SNOWMOBILE TRAIL

  1. Construct 5.3 miles of snowmobile trail connecting trail #4 on the east to the Elk Lake area on the west.
  2. The trail would be approximately 20 feet wide with vegetation felled but not cleared or harvested.
  3. Approximately 13 acres of vegetation would be felled and left on site.  Vegetation consists primarily of lodgepole at the lower elevations and hemlock higher.
  4. The trail would be open for winter use only; snowmobile and class I ATV’s.

SAWS POSITION

SAWS is very supportive of the addition of this trail and commend the USFS for working toward expanding sledding opportunities in the forest.

DUTCHMAN SNOPARK

  1. Type of use would change, i.e., parking would be limited to vehicles less than 22 feet in length only; no trailers.
  2. The area surrounding Dutchman Snopark would be closed to motorized use, i.e., there would be no access to trail #5.

SAWS POSITION

Without Dutchman, non-motorized users have 3 dedicated snowparks in the area.  Dutchman flat is the only area where sledders can safely launch in the early season and in the late season.  There should be no length limit, no ban on trailers and most importantly NO CLOSURE TO MOTORIZED USE.

Remember, this is FEDERAL land.  It belongs to all of us equally.  We have lost significant sledding areas here and we need to preserve all we can.  The Wild Wilderness environmental group and its followers are determined to eradicate motorized use in this forest.  According to their website they claim 800 members.  We have twice that amount and as sledders we need to fight ALL closures in ALL areas. 

It is important that we tell the USFS what we support as well as what we do not want adopted.  Below please see a sample comment.

Please send your comments to: 

    Marvin EP Lang
    Recreation Forester
   1230 NE 3rd Suite A-262
    Bend, OR 97701
    melang@fs.fed.us

Together we WILL make a difference.

Katie Sharkey
SAWS Oregon State Representative

SAMPLE

COMMENT TO USFS

Marvin EP Lang
Recreation Forester
1230 NE 3rd Suite A-262
Bend, OR 97701
melang@fs.fed.us

RE:     Kappa Butte Snopark
            Elk-Kwol Snowmobile Trail
            Dutchman Snopark

Kappa Butte Snopark:
I am very appreciative of the new snowpark and applaud the USFS for your support of our sport.  However, if these proposals are adopted there will be 4 (Messiner, Dutchman, Swampy Lake and Vista Butte) snowparks dedicated to non-motorized use and ZERO dedicated to motorized.  The new Kappa Butte Snopark must be dedicated to motorized use.

Elk-Kwol Trail:
I am very supportive of the addition of this trail and commend the USFS for working toward expanding sledding opportunities in the forest. 

Dutchman Snopark:
Without Dutchman, non-motorized users have 3 dedicated snowparks in the area.  Dutchman is the only area where sledders can safely launch in the early season and in the late season.  There should be no length limit, no ban on trailers and most importantly NO CLOSURE TO MOTORIZED USE.

Sincerely,

Your name and address

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