PLACERVILLE, Calif. - Eldorado National Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree announced today that repairs have been completed on three off highway vehicle routes that did not meet environmental standards for healthy meadows. This concludes corrective work that began in 2013 on a total of 18 routes that have been closed while conditions impacting water flow in meadows were fixed. The last three routes - 16E26, 17E19, and 17E24 - have been reviewed by a forest hydrologist and are now open for public use. The Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) for the forest will include these and other repaired routes when it gets updated in the near future.
"We've been working diligently for the past five years to repair the 18 routes where problems were identified in our environmental analysis," Crabtree said. "Meadows are precious resources that can be balanced with recreational opportunities. We are working with many partners to protect these delicate ecosystems and ensure responsible OHV use so that exceptional backcountry experiences can be provided."
The last three routes to be repaired were Allen Camp Trail (17E19), Carson Emigrant Trail (17E24) beyond Mud Lake at three separate locations, and 16E26 out of the Onion Valley Trailhead in the Amador Ranger District. Earlier this summer, 3 more of the 18 routes were repaired and opened which were the Long Valley Trail (17E28) on the Amador Ranger District and the Strawberry 4WD Trail (17E73) and Little Round Top Trail (17E16) on the Placerville Ranger District.
Additional improvements exceeding the basic standards were also made while equipment and personnel were mobilized to remote locations. For instance, the entire Mud Lake Trail has been improved as well as 8N03 and numerous access routes. The California State OHV grants program provided the majority of the funding for the corrective work as well as the additional improvements.
This work traces back to 2011 when a U.S. District Court Judge found that the Forest Service failed to comply with the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) when it designated 42 existing wheeled motorized vehicle routes that cross portions of meadows in its 2008 Eldorado National Forest Public Wheeled Motorized Travel Management Decision. The order stated that the Forest Service failed to complete a required Riparian Conservation Objective analysis for standards and guidelines in its Land and Resource Management Plan pertaining to segments that cross meadows.
In response to the court's order, the Eldorado National Forest closed the affected routes with a forest order, revised its Motor Vehicle Use Map, analyzed the 42 routes in a supplemental EIS, held open houses for public comments, created a plan for repairing the 18 routes found to be affecting meadows and have made repairs as funding and resources allowed.
For more information, visit the Travel Management section of the Eldorado National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/eldorado/home/?cid=stelprd3834357&width=full
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