[env-trinity] Two Rivers Tribune VOICES: Jens Sund- River Access on South Fork of Trinity

Tom Stokely tstokely at att.net
Mon May 27 15:40:57 PDT 2013

VOICES: River Access on South Fork of Trinity
Dear Two Rivers Tribune,

The cost of swimming and kayaking in the South Fork of the Trinity River is going up. According to the new Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM) available on line at www.fs.fed.us/r5/sixrivers, presented by Six Rivers Forest Supervisor Tyrone Kelly, you are now subject to a $5,000 fine, 6 month imprisonment, or both, should you decide to use the following river access points: Rd 6N52 (Sandy Bar), Rd 5N38 (Low Water Bridge) Rd 5N22( Todd Ranch), Many regularly traveled roads have been eliminated or truncated on the new MVUM map. There have been no signs posted to inform members of the public or private landowners that roads which have previously been used for decades are now closed to vehicles. If you have been using a road through National Forest Service to access your property, you may now be arrested driving home from work. It is further explained on the web site listed above that private property which has “valid access rights” will not be affected. What is not explained is who will make this determination, federal police, federal right-of-way agents? If it is determined that you don’t have valid access rights you may apply for a special use permit. The Forest Service is required to provide land owners “one point of reasonable access” to reach their land. You can apply for a special use permit. Some of these have been taking over 10 years to be processed. There are over 100 applications pending for special use permits.

This new map impacts access to hunting, fishing, firewood gathering, and other recreational uses, as well as privately owned land. If you own private land that is accessed through public forest I recommend you compare these MVUM maps to the well thought of Six Rivers National Forest Atlas available at your local ranger office, or if you don’t want to spend the money, the firewood gathering maps still show the newly eliminated roads. You may be surprised to see your road has been eliminated and you are now subject to a heavy fine, imprisonment, or both. I was informed by Tyrone Kelly that numerous hearings were held to decide these closures, yet the Willow Creek Forest Service Information Officer hadn’t been informed, nor has anyone I have spoken to in the community to date including the chamber of commerce. The new MVUM map for the Mad River Ranger District South states, “It is the responsibility of the user to acquire the current MVUM. This map shows the National Forest System roads, National Forest System Trails, and the areas on National Forest System lands in the Mad River Ranger District, Six Rivers National Forest that are designated for motor vehicle use pursuant to 36 code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 212.51.” It is unrealistic that people who have been using roads for years should know, without adequate public notification, that these roads have suddenly been deemed illegal to use by motor vehicles. How many people planning on kayaking down the South Fork of the Trinity from the Todd Ranch to Sandy Bar, as many people do every year, will think to do the research to confirm that these widely used access points are still legally open to their vehicles?

I currently own property which has a right of way that has been in place since the days of mule travel in 1902. It is now eliminated on this map. I don’t want a federal policeman giving me a fine or trying to arrest me as this mess is sorted out. These maps should be put on hold until these concerns are fully understood by the public. And I think it is reasonable for the public to refuse to apply for special use permits until Mr. Kelly can demonstrate he has sorted out the large backlog of pending applications.

Compare the new MVUM map to the Atlas and if you have a smart phone download Topo Maps and the map pertaining to the area you are interested in. You can do your own field work.  The river access changes are very subtle. When calling to investigate this you may be told the Road is not closed, and that is true. But do you want to walk a mile to Sandy Bar with all of your gear or pack your Kayak down the Todd Ranch put in road? Tyrone Kelly’s phone number is 707- 442-1721, his email address is tkelly01 at fsfed.us. The phone number to Ranger Dan Dill at the Lower Trinity Ranger District office is 530-629-2118. These changes are not pending, they are currently in effect. It is important that our public officials get feedback and respond to public concerns. Representative Jared Huffman :http://Huffman.house.gov@rephuffman. I can be reached at jenssund at suddenlink.net.

Jens Sund
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