Before the controversial Boxer-McKeon Wilderness bill stirred the pot, the Forest Service had been working on a plan to determine which dirt roads and motorized trails on the Inyo National Forest would officially become part of the forest road system. While the wilderness bill sits on the back burner in Washington, the Inyo route designation process continues.
Roughly 900 miles out of the 3600 miles of dirt roads and trails on the Inyo National Forest, may not make the final cut and could possibly be closed off. After seeking public comments for a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and numerous public meetings pouring over maps, the Forest Service has scheduled two public field trips to areas of the National Forest to give the public a look at how the routes may be managed under the different alternatives proposed in the Travel Management Plan.
Forest Service staff is currently looking at different alternatives as to how vehicle travel will be managed under the new environmental document. In the various alternatives, different routes may be managed in different ways. They may be designated for travel by full-sized vehicles, or single-track vehicles, or they may not be designated for motorized vehicular travel, according the Forest Service.
The trips are not designed as an official public comment period. People will be allowed to turn in additional official public comments when the Draft Environmental Impact Statement comes out this winter. A final decision is due out next spring.
The first field trip to the end of the Inyo National Forest is scheduled for Saturday, October 18 betweeen 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. The trips meet at the pullout across from the chain-up area on Highway 203 (Mammoth Lakes exit) just west of US 395.
The second trip to the south end of the forest is scheduled for Saturday, October 25, betweeen 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. This trip meets at the Junction of Highway 168 and the Buttermilk road. Anyone who wants to join one of these public field trips is asked to call Nancy Upham with the Forest Service at 873-2427.