Changes Coming For Off-Road Use In Forests



Courtesy photo

Recent road work by the Forest Service on FS 504 through Chevelon Canyon has improved travel for motorists. The corridor is a main connection between Weber and Winslow.

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests personnel have held five open houses in the last couple of weeks with regards to the travel management Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

One of these occurred at the Black Mesa Ranger Station in Overgaard on Monday with about 30 attending. This draft, which will eliminate any cross country motorized travel for vehicles with axles at or less than 50 inches, which includes ATVs and UTVs in the Apache-Sitgreaves forests, as well as provides alternatives which were developed in response to public comments on the forests’ initial proposed action released in 2008. The key aim is to reduce environmental impacts on watersheds, wildlife habitat, cultural resources and communities.

The Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) will be the official record of which roads, trails and areas are open for motorized use. Signs are not a requirement under the Travel Management Rule (TMR) and the MVUM will specify that violators of 36 CFR 261.13 are subject to a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment for up to six months, or both (U.S.C. 3571 (e)).

There have been times in years past where organizations such as the White Mountain Open Trails Association based in Show Low have worked with the Forest Service to develop trails and off-road opportunities in the White Mountains, as well as the Mogollon Rim.

Many in that organization were in favor of a forest plan where a policy would be implemented of “Open Unless Otherwise Posted.” Immediate comment from the organization on these new rules was not available.

The implementation of the DEIS, TMR and the issuance of the MVUM will be announced when their implementation is to be enacted.

The Grace Fellowship Church is sponsoring a free Thanksgiving dinner at noon, Saturday, Nov. 20 at the Rim Country Senior Center, 2171 “B” Street in Overgaard. If you have questions, please call Cathy Miller at 928-240-0087.

There will be a music program being put on at 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 21 at the LDS Chapel in Heber. The theme is “Night of Sacred Music.” The public is invited to attend.


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