Travel Management Plan Public Comment Period Begins

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Tonto National Forest officials are seeking comments on the Travel Management Environmental Assessment (EA). The 30-day comment period begins Jan. 6.

Based on previous public input, several alternatives are proposed in this draft EA.

The final product will be a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) that shows which roads and trails will be open to motor vehicle use.

The decision will also amend the Tonto National Forest Plan.

In 2005, the Department of Agriculture enacted a planning rule to manage motorized vehicle use on all national forests and grasslands.

This rule requires the Tonto National Forest to designate roads, trails and areas that are open to motor vehicle use.

Designations will be made by class of vehicle and, if appropriate, by time of year. The final rule will prohibit the use of motor vehicles off the designated system, as well as use of motor vehicles on routes and in areas that are not consistent with the designations.

“Public involvement at this time is a critical component in developing a motorized travel system,” said Sharon Wallace, Public Services Group leader. “During this comment period, we are hoping to get representative viewpoints and suggestions from a cross-section of forest visitors.

“The purpose of the MVUM is to comply with the requirements of the Travel Management Rule, to reduce problems caused by uncontrolled off-road travel and to improve the current system of travel routes for public access and enjoyment. The development of a MVUM is an adaptive process in which future changes can be made in the public interest.”

A copy of the travel management environmental assessment can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/tonto under the Travel Management Plan link.

Print or CD copies of the EA are available at the Forest Supervisor’s Office, 2324 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix, Ariz. or at one of six forest district offices.

Comments must be submitted by Feb. 6.

Submit comments online at https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?Project=28967. By e-mail at comments-southwestern-TMRTonto@fs.fed.us or postal mail at Travel Management Team Leader,

Tonto National Forest, 2324 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix Ariz, 85006.

Comments will only be considered if a full name and a physical mailing address are included.

Comments are part of public record.

If you have any questions concerning this process, contact Genevieve Johnson at (602) 225-5213, or by email at grjohnson@fs.fed.us

For more information pn the program, visit the Tonto National Forest webpage at Tonto or call the Tonto National Forest Supervisor’s Office at (602) 225-5200.

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