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Please take notice! The Nat'l Forest Service will soon open a 60 day comment period for a new plan for management of the forest transportation system. This does not mean that it is directly for or against our use; it is is primarily to create a standard NFS method to establish and designate roads and trails for certain vehicle uses, particularly ATV (ORV) use.

It appears to me to establish ATV use as a valid, recognized forest use, with the trade-off that ATV use can only be in designated areas or on desinated trails and raods. I believe the key thing here is that it does recognize ATV use as a valid forest use. This should be good for us; while we are not ATV's at all, it further establishes that recreational vehicle use in the forest has its place, and has the potential to deal a blow to the environmentalists' fight against any ATV use. (Since that group has made negative statements on this proposed rulemaking, I take that as a good sign.)

(As an aside, it also makes snowmobiles NOT ATV's and appears to allow their use in general.)

I would ask that everyone look at this; visit:

http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2004/releases/07/off-highway-vehicle.shtml

This is the general intro to the proposed rulemaking, and there is link to the detailed proposal in .pdf format.

I will express the opinion that we should all commnent favorably on this, WITHOUT mentioning rally specifically, but while encouraging that ALL FORMS OF RECREATIONAL VEHICLE USE BE ALLOWED THAT USE THE ROAD AND TRAIL SYSTEMS TO BE DESIGNATED IN A PROPER FASHION.

I would be open to to a good discussion of this here on SSForum, and any advice on how to best comment to the NFS, particularly from those who have experience with NFS operations.

I ALSO HOPE THAT SCCA AND NASA WILL MAKE A STRONG EFFORT TO REVIEW THIS AND RESPOND WITH COMMENTS TO SUPPORT OUR CAUSE, AS THEY THINK WILL BEST HELP US ALL RALLY ON THE NATIONAL FOREST ROADS.

One final word: I will not be surprised is this is only the next step to get to defined vehicle uses in the NFS system. I doubt that the eco groups will rest without court challenges; but we have to start fighting this with their tactics. And no matter what your political perspective, remember which administration is pushing this forward when you go to the polls this November; you may (or may not) want to make this a factor in your vote. (And no, I am not an official of any political party!)

Regards,
Mark B.
 

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I have experience with the feds up here in the lake states. i haven't yet succeeded at anything yet however.

If our particular sport in this particular forest is being questioned this is what the organizers should do, whether they want the comments or not. EDIT: whether the FS, not the organizers, want comments or not. sorry.

The rally is being opposed because it is a nuissance to someone. That someone will try and attack rally based on anything they can use, noise, sedimentation, fire risk, opposition to road closure, any mating endangered species, seriously. I would expect to see it all. This is where it gets dirty and we are going to be painted as bad people. It's 100% political.

I think the best thing the organizers could do would be to make sure we aren't lumped into a group like 4 wheelers or ATV users. Point out our spill kits, , our memberships, our liscences, our protocal, our catalytic converters, our road re-grading resources, our safety resources, the radio communications, and our organization. Also, point out other beneficial relatoinships with other national forests around the country. Formalize this all in a letter to show a history of responsible use. Make them understand we responsible forest users. Put this in a letter to the forest supervisor and in the comments.

Get follow up letters of support from the chamber of commerce and the city administration from the host city stating that the community needs our specific use of the forest to bring in the much needed tourism dollars. The chamber and the city can be strong proponents of multiple uses.

As a general rule don't wait for common sense or reasoning to save our butts. It is purely political, no matter what the FS says.

NASA and the SCCA should be all over this comment period. In a HUGE way. They would both be a strong voice for what is a serious issue for the future of our sport.
 

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>Point out our spill kits, , our memberships, our liscences, our >protocal, our catalytic converters, our road re-grading resources, >our safety resources, the radio communications, and our organization


If'n you need some words to get a start in your letter writing, here's an except from the letter I wrote to the FS in support of Rally West Virginia:

----------------- begin ------------------
I feel that a legitimate aspect of this utilization is the occasional usage of the roads by motor vehicles for organized events. The fact that these road structures have existed for so long within the forest, without significant adverse effect, shows that the roads, and their occasional usage, can co-exist peacefully with the natural surroundings.

<..blah.blah.blah...>

I plan on being a competitor for this rally event. Let me describe to you the precautions and plans that are in place for every rally to ensure that the forest is preserved: First of all, the event organizers require that our rally cars must be street-legal, with a real muffler that makes my rally car no louder than most other street cars. Rally organizers keep a watchful eye that all litter is collected from the roads and from any service areas. We are required to carry a spill cleanup kit to contain any accidental spills of automotive fluids. And, should a mishap occur while racing on a road, we are required to collect any litter or debris. Also, our driving is limited to existing roadways. Our racing can be referred to as ?off-road? only in the fact that we may drive on non-paved roads; we do not drive cross-country or through wild areas. As you can see, an organized rally is performed with strict attention to preserving the forest and its lands; if only the normal civilian traffic that uses the forestry roads every day could be held to such high standards of cleanliness.

----------------- end -------------------

Not saying I'm a good writer, or that my letter was a good example, just suggesting that you should write-in in some way.

ClubRally Scirocco Mk1
 

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Roadless Rules May Change Too

Mark,

Looks like there's may be even more good news afoot. Here a link to possible changes the "no road building rules":

http://tinyurl.com/5lqqz

More gravel roads in general should mean more roads open to rallying. Current public & political awareness, together with existing environmental regulations, should more than adequately protect the environment.

There is no reason Rallying should not be considered a conforming recreational use.

Rich Smith

Vive le "Pro-le-Ralliat"
 

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Great post Mark.

Last night, I spoke to a good friend who is a serious environmentalist, and has extensive education in the subject.
Her response was that environmentalists want
NO MOTOR VEHICLES IN THE NATIONAL FORESTS. None. Zero.

While this FS proposal doesn't include rally, it is a VERY strong foundation for allowing motor vehicles into the NF system.

I would urge everyone here with an interest in maintaining the use of National Forests to view the information that Mark wrote about in the first post of this thread.
 
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