Long-awaited forest travel plan unveiled

After a process dating back formally to 2002 and informally to 1997, the White River National Forest today released a plan for managing motorized and other year-round travel.

“It’s time to stop the paperwork and start the on-the-ground work,” forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams declared in a teleconference with reporters.

The plan would close 519 miles of roads and trails that previously were part of the forest system, although work already was under way to close 178 miles of those.

It also would close 692 miles of other routes that never had been officially part of the system but came to exist because of mining, logging, recreational uses or other reasons. But it will allow another 225 miles of such routes to be added to the system.

Fitzwilliams’ decision is subject to a 45-day appeals period.

The Forest Service began initial work on the plan as part of a rewrite of the overall White River resource management plan, but later decided to delay the travel plan due to the challenges of doing both at once. Work was delayed further in order to comply with a 2005 national Forest Service travel management rule.


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