SNF Travel Plan | Meeting Information & Suggested Questions
The Shoshone National Forest released an Environmental Assessment for their long-awaited Travel Management Plan on October 19th. The proposal adds 23 new motorized trail miles and four new OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) loops in the area of the Forest with the most existing trail and enforcement concerns. The new motorized route proposals bisect Inventoried Roadless Areas, a Wild and Scenic eligible River, intact wildlife habitat and would increase OHV traffic along-side the Fitzpatrick Wilderness. The plan states that the Shoshone has no additional enforcement or maintenance funding and the travel plan will not address unauthorized use or enforcement concerns. The SNF notably failed to use its winter travel plan to address the increasing and expanding snowmobile use in the High Lakes Wilderness Study Area, in compliance with the 1984 Wyoming Wilderness Act.
This is the FINAL comment period of a seven-year travel plan process. Now is the time to speak up for a wild Shoshone.
How You Can Help:
Step 1: Attend virtual meetings, which are are designed for the public to learn more information and are an easy way to show up for a wild Shoshone from the comfort of your home. E-mail Sarah Walker (email@example.com) if you plan on attending and want more specific location-based questions or if you would like more information.
Public Meeting Schedule:
Clarks Fork, Greybull, and Wapiti Ranger districts - November 2nd at 6:00 pm
Join by conference call line: 202-650-0123, access code - 593245029#
Wind River Ranger District – November 3rd at 6:00 pm
Join by conference call line: 202-650-0123, access code - 322688696#
Washakie Ranger District – November 4th at 6:00 pm
Join by conference call line: 202-650-0123, access code - 401165192#
Step 2: Submit comments by November 18. WWA is creating a comment portal that will provide effective comment writing tips, specific concerns and information to help you write an effective comment. As soon as that portal is live we will send it out!
Step 3: Spread the Word. The more comments the better, if you know someone who enjoys recreating in the SNF ask them to write a comment and let them know that we have a very limited window to impact the SNF Travel plan.
These are questions that have risen between conversations within our staff and partners, if you have questions or would like more area specific questions, please reach out to Sarah Walker, our Policy Director (Sarah@wildwyo.org)
If you have difficulty understanding what the Forest is proposing in the documents provided here, explain any difficulty and ask for more details, clarification or information wherever needed.
How will the proposed action help the Forest Service enforce and maintain the existing system, repair important access roads, and address illegal motorized use- the most common public comment concerns raised through Forest and Travel Planning?
Ask how the travel plan considers the significant and cumulative impacts of increasing and expanding motorized use. Share relevant personal experiences or observations.
Question why every action alternative proposes significant new route construction and motorized loops. Eg “What alternative should I support if I don’t want additional OHV trails and just want the Forest Service to enforce and maintain the existing route system?” “What alternative do I support for decommissioning roads not needed?
Ask the SNF how they will make this plan a reality on the ground. Is there an implementation plan with deadlines, infrastructure priorities, responsible officials, monitoring goals and objectives?
Request the rationale for proposing the majority of new OHV trails, route construction and motorized loops all on the Wind River District- the district that already has the most existing routes, trails and loop opportunities, and the most documented and well-known enforcement concerns. How does this meet the purpose and need of travel planning?
Ask the Forest Service how they are using the winter travel planning to protect the 1984 wilderness character of the High Lakes Wilderness Study Area. How does the preferred alternative address increasing and expanding snowmobile use?
Question the decision to conduct travel planning through a simple Environmental Analysis compared to the EIS typically expected for a project of this consequence and complexity.
The SNF’s minimal environmental analysis and a rushed 30-day comment period disregards the importance of meaningful public comment, the complexity and consequence of travel planning, roads, and recreation, and the Shoshone’s unique role in the GYE (Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem) and our National Forest system.