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Wildland Issues

Including motorized/quiet use issues, effects of noise on wildlife, managing soundscapes as a resource.

See also AEI Special Reports on Wildland Issues, including Yellowstone Winter Use Planning, Forest Service Travel Management, and Coalbed Methane: [GO THERE]

This page includes the most recent Wildland Issues archives. To peruse older items:
January 2002-December 2004 [GO THERE]
January 2005-March 2007 [GO THERE]

Yellowstone Snowmobile Season Opens with Little Snow, Amidst Return of the Dueling Judges - The winter season opened at Yellowstone this week with too little snow for snowmobile use, while Park managers once again found themselves scrambling to respond to dueling Federal Court opinions on their last proposal, released in November 2007. That "final" plan proposed a cap of 540 snowmobiles and was challenged in court by both environmental advocates (who said that number was too high) and the state of Wyoming (who said it was too low).

yellowstone
Bison stop traffic in Yellowstone Park, winter 2007
Photo Source: Bob Zellar, Billings Gazette

As with the previous Bush plan, both challenges succeeded, and contradicted each other. In a DC Federal Court, Judge Emmett Sullivan ruled that the 540 limit was "arbitrary and capricious" and called on the NPS to lower it; in November, the Park Service proposed an interim plan to allow 318 machines per day while they developed a long-term solution. But, before that plan was finalized, Wyoming District Court Judge Clarence Brimmer stepped into the fray, decrying (but not overturning) Sullivan's ruling, saying that a local court should have jurisdiction, as well as that in his view the Park Service review had been sufficient and the 540-plan should not have been overturned. His ruling has been interpreted by the Park Service and Bush Administration to mandate a return to the previous interim limit of 720 snowmobiles per day while dealing with the Sullivan decision (a rule allowing 720 was announced in early December), though other observers suggest he left the Park Service with the power to set its own number. Yikes! In the real world of West Yellowstone winter tourism businesses, the expectation is that recent years' low snowmobile numbers will continue. The actual number of snowmobiles entering the park averaged 296 per day last winter with the highest day seeing 557; see AEI's Special Report for more on why numbers have been low for several years. "By the way the reservations are coming in, I decided against ordering more snowmobiles," said Jerry Johnson, who's quota of allowable rentals per day had fluctuated from 50 to 37 to 20, and then back to 50, over these tumultuous months. He estimated that reservations were running about 25 percent lower than this time last year. Sources: Billing Gazette, 12/1/08 [READ ARTICLE] Sources: Billing Gazette, 12/1/08 [READ ARTICLE] Sources: Billing Gazette, 11/13/08 [READ ARTICLE] Sources: Greater Yellowstone Coalition Press Release 12/9/08 [READ ARTICLE]

Park Service Proposes First Real Limits on Snowmobiles at Yellowstone Since Guided Tours Provision- Responding to a September Federal Court ruling that tossed the 3rd Yellowstone Winter Use Plan on the cusp of a new winter season, Park managers have released a proposed interim plan that will, for the first time since the original Clinton-era plan, reduce the actual numbers of snow machines in the Park on most of the busy winter holidays and weekends. Earlier plans had capped snowmobiles at 720, then more recently, 540 per day; the interim proposal will allow 318 per day. Last winter, an average of 290 snowmobiles entered the park each day, but on many weekends and other peak days, numbers reached 400-500, with the single highest day seeing 557. While last year, even that peak day was far below the "limit" of 720, the new limit of 318 was exceeded on 29 days out of the 82-day season. Snowmobile use is far down from the peaks in the 1990's, due primarily to a provision in the 1st Bush plan that requires all snowmobiles to be part of guided tours, rather than allowing self-guided exploration along Park roads; since the establishment of the "guided-tour-only" requirement, total snowmobile use in Yellowstone has declined from an average of 840 machines per day (with peak weekend totals of 1600-2000), to daily averages of 263 (and peaks of 400-550) since 2004, when the tour requirement took effect. While the original Clinton plan aimed for a 3-year phased-in ban on snowmobiles, all plans proposed since Bush's first one have set daily caps above the generally-seen peak use numbers, effectively affirming current use levels. This proposed interim plan will force local businesses that run tours to turn away customers for the first time since the guided use provision was added. The current average use of 263 snowmobiles is already exceeding the noise standards set by the Park Service, with snowmobiles audible for over half the day in 21 square miles of the Park; Park Service models suggest that 540 machines would increase this area hearing machines over half the time to 62 square miles. Sources: Jackson Hole Star-Tribune, 11/5/08 [READ ARTICLE] Jackson Hole Daily, 11/4/08 [READ ARTICLE] Wyoming Business Report, 11/4/08 [READ ARTICLE] Park Service Planning, Environment, and Public Comment Website [SEE AND COMMENT ON PROPOSED INTERIM PLAN]
[See AEI Special Report: Yellowstone Winter Use]

Draft EIS Released for First Wind Farm on National Forest Land - The Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont has released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed 17-turbine wind farm. This is the first wind farm proposal for National Forest land to make it this far through the planning process. Public comments are being accepted through November 30. Source: NFS Press Release, 9/10/08 [READ PRESS RELEASE] [WEBPAGE TO DOWNLOAD EIS]

Third Yellowstone Snowmobile Plan Tossed by Federal Court - The eternal cycle of Yellowstone "Winter Use Plans" looks to continue for at least one more round, as the third "final" National Park Service rule governing snowmobile access to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks has been tossed out by a Federal District Court after challenges form a consortium of environmental organizations.

yellowstone
Photo: New York Times

DC-based judge Emmet Sullivan found that the NPS plan that would allow 540 snowmobiles to enter the parks each day was "arbitrary and capricious." Sullivan expressed three key objections: the current average use of 263 snowmobiles is already exceeding the noise standards set by the Park Service (with the additional snowmobiles likely to further increase the area in which snowmobiles are audible for over half the day from 21 square miles to 63 square miles); NPS “utterly failed to explain why none of the seven alternatives would constitute impairment or unacceptable impacts" (despite NPS figures that suggest an increase in exhaust gasses and particulates of 18-100%); and NPS "failed to provide a rational explanation for the source of the 540 snowmobile limit." The case turned on how to interpret the Organic Act, a 1916 law that established the Park Service and charged it with a primary task to "conserve park resources and values." The Act allows impacts if they do not impair park resources; the NPS was arguing that the Act only prohibits "unacceptable impacts;" the Judge noted that the Act requires a stricter standard, "to 'provide for the enjoyment' of the parks' resources and values in 'such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations'...This is not blanket permission to have fun in the parks in any way the NPS sees fit," concluded Sullivan. “There have been four studies and $10 million spent, and every study shows the best way to get people in the park and protect it is through snow coach access, not snowmobiles,” said Chris Mehl, a spokesman for the Wilderness Society in Bozeman, Mont., one of the parties to the lawsuit. “This upholds the promise and possibility of Yellowstone.” Jack Welch of the Blue Ribbon Coalition, a motorized use advocacy group, called the decision “bizarre and far reaching” and said Sullivan’s ruling could severely limit public access in national parks across the country. While the ruling does leave some uncertainties for the 2008-09 winter, the Park Service has the power to enact a temporary winter-use plan. “We’re planning to be open to visitors for the winter season beginning December 15 as scheduled,” noted NPS spokesman Al Nash. Under interim rules in force for the past three winters, 720 snowmobiles were allowed to enter the park each day, though actual use was far less, primarily due to a requirement that all snowmobiles be part of guided tours. A new interim rule will likely be issued to govern this winter's activities, using either the 720 or 540-machine limit. Rep. Colin Simpson of Cody noted that it's possible the Monday ruling “reverts back to the 2000 (Clinton-era) Record of Decision that phased out snowmobiles” in the park, adding that “I thought the original Record of Decision was arbitrary and capricious.” On the same day that Sullivan threw out the plan, a very different challenge to the Rule was receiving a hearing in a Wyoming Court: the State of Wyoming is arguing for a return of the 720-machine limit, and for some of those riders to be free to ride on their own, without guides. Federal District Judge Clarence Brimmer, who submitted his resignation two years ago but is still awaiting a replacement, ruled against a similar challenge mounted in 2006 when the guides-only rule was first instigated. These same two judges have presided over dueling cases since early in the Bush administration; Brimmer ruled that the Clinton-era planned phase-out of snowmobiles (Winter Use Plan 1) was illegal, while Sullivan ruled that the Bush plan (Winter Use Plan 2) was also invalid. That impasse led to the current Winter Use Plan 3, now also back up in the air. Sources: New York Times, 9/16/08 [READ ARTICLE] Casper Star-Tribune, 9/16/08 [READ ARTICLE] Cody Enterprise, 9/16/08 [READ ARTICLE] Jackson Hole News and Guide, 9/16/08 [READ ARTICLE] Kansas City Infozine, 9/16/08 [READ ARTICLE] Washington Post, 9/15/08 [READ ARTICLE]
[See AEI Special Report: Yellowstone Winter Use]

Polar Bears Studied for Clues About Their Sensitivity to Arctic Energy Development Noise - A new research project is doing basic studies that aim to clarify how and whether polar bears will be disturbed by increasing industrial noise, especially near winter dens. Hubbs-Sea World biologist Ann Bowles has completed initial studies of polar bear hearing, confirming that they are sensitive to low-frequency sounds, though they were unable to create a sound insulation set-up at the San Diego Zoo quiet enough to keep out sounds below 14kHz, a bit lower than the most sensitive humans can hear. The inability to test extreme infrasonic hearing is an important limitation, as large carnivores are often quite sensitive to such frequencies, and industrial noise can also include very low frequencies. Phase two of the research, set to begin this winter, will involve construction of a simulated bear den, in order to record the sound levels of machinery that penetrate this naturally silent sanctuary. Among the questions that researchers hope to eventually answer are: What kind of noise might be a problem for the bears? Will noise from human activity bother bears in the open, but not females in their dens? Should there be limits on noise allowed in the vicinity of the bears, and exactly what kind of noise would be a problem? "If you want to mitigate noise, you first have to know what the bear can hear," Bowles said. Source: American Institute of Physics, 7/29/08 [READ PRESS RELEASE]

America's National Parks: the Quietest and the Most Acoustically at Risk - The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees (CNPSR) have put together a list of the five national parks in the lower 48 states where visitors can still find genuine peace, quiet, and natural sounds, as well as highlighting five parks that are most at risk in the face of growing noise pollution. CNPSR Executive Council Member Abby Miller, the former NPS deputy associate director for Natural Resources and Stewardship, said: “We have put together some tips on a variety of parks to go to enjoy quiet or the sounds of nature, as well as some places you may need to avoid if what you are looking for is peace and quiet. While our park selections are naturally subjective, they are based on the thousands of years of experiences of CNPSR members who are among those who know best of all. We hope that park visitors will appreciate and pay attention to the preservation of natural sound – an important aspect of our national treasures.” The places to go for true peace and quiet: Great Basin National Park (Nevada), Isle Royale National Park (Michigan), North Cascades National Park (Washington State), Big Hole National Battlefield (Montana), and Muir Woods National Monument (California). Parks at risk due to increasing noise nearby include Minute Man National Historical Park (Massachusetts), Mojave National Preserve (California), Mt. Rushmore National Park (South Dakota), Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii), and Everglades National Park (Florida). The Grand Canyon and Yellowstone were omitted from the latter list, since their noise woes, due to airplanes and snowmobiles respectively, are well known. Source: CNPSR Press Release/TravelVideo, 6/10/08; includes details on each park listed [READ PRESS RELEASE]

National Landscape Conservation System Protects Remote, Quiet Locations - With the House passage of permanent status for the National Landscape Conservation System, remote landscapes move one step closer to becoming true refuges for experiencing natural quiet in a vast array of western US habitats. The Senate still needs to sign on to the proposal, which would provide coherent management of BLM lands including National Monuments, Wild and Scenic Rivers, wilderness and conservation areas, and national historic trails. In contrast to National Parks and many National Forests, most of the NLCS lands are remote, with few roads or developed campgrounds. As Jim DiPesco, of Republicans for Environmental Protection, notes, "To truly experience isolation and thoroughly escape 21st century sounds, the NLCS lands are a good destination." He elaborates that "the idea behind the system is to protect unspoiled scenery and historical treasures within the broader landscapes that shape, influence, and provide context. Healthy ecosystems, which thrive on hidden connections among plants, animals, and native habitats, can best function within larger landscapes that allow room for those connections to flourish. Likewise, archaeological sites can best be appreciated if the surrounding geography that influenced ancient cultures is largely left alone." Source: The Daily Green, 4/12/08 [READ ARTICLE]

Latest Yellowstone Snowmobile Plan Signed, Will Take Effect Next Winter - Culminating a planning process that began in 2004 as dueling Federal Court rulings left both the Clinton and Bush plans in legal limbo, the Park Service has signed the latest Winter Use Plan for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. The Billings Gazette hopefully notes that: "The decision is intended to bring to a close the long-running controversy over winter recreation in Yellowstone, a dispute that has roiled for more than a decade and included several lawsuits, dizzying stacks of studies and hundreds of thousands of public comments." Indeed it may, though with snowmobile advocates still dissatisfied with the requirement that all riders be part of guided groups, and quiet use advocates pointing at measurements that show noise is audible over half the day in most popular areas, the chances of the plan being put into effect in the winter of 2008-9 remain uncertain at best. The plan allows 540 snowmobiles per day to enter the park, well over recent years' averages (depressed due to the guided tour requirement), but less than peaks of over 700 machines in previous years. Source: Billings Gazette, 11/21/07 [READ ARTICLE]
Related: Final Yellowstone Plan Reduces Snowmobiles, But Maybe Not Noise - The permanent Winter Use Plan released last week proposes a reduction in the daily maximum number of snowmobiles allowed in Yellowstone National Park, while at the same time reducing the average number of machines in each guided tour group. The end result, according to projections included with the plan, is likely to be a slight increase in the area of the park in which snowmobiles or snowcoaches can be heard. The daily maximum will be reduced from 720 snowmobiles to 540, with an average group size of 11. The new proposal, to take effect in the winter of 2008-9, "would have potentially more groups traveling through, even though it would be an overall (smaller) maximum number of machines," said Al Nash, Yellowstone spokesman. About 13% of the park would be affected by snow vehicle noise, up a percentage point from the old plan, while there may be a slight decrease in the number of hours in which vehicles are heard more than 50% of the time. However, an analysis by the Coalition of Natoinal Park Service Retirees finds that the acreage in which vehicles will be heard over half the time will triple, from 21 square miles, to 63 square miles. A few more snowcoaches will be allowed under the permanent plan (83, up from 78), with new quieter snowcoaches phased in starting next winter; all snowmobiles will need to be the slightly quieter four stroke models. Actual snowmobile numbers have been far below the maximum levels allowed (averaging under 300 per day), apparently because of snowmobilers' tendency to want to ride without being part of guided tours. Source: Billings Gazette, 9/28/07 [READ ARTICLE] Albuquerque Tribune, 10/26/07 [READ ARTICLE]
Related: Snow Vehicle Noise Still Exceeds Yellowstone Goals - A National Park Service report on noise levels recorded in Yellowstone during last winter's recreational season confirms that snowmobile and snowcoach noise remains more omnipresent than managers desire. Snowmobiles remain the source of most noise intrusions (heard 60% more often than snow coaches), while the bus-like snowcoaches created the loudest sounds, often exceeding the maximum goal of 70dB (equivalent to a vacuum cleaner in a house). Vehicles were audible at Old Faithful 68% of the time between 8am and 4pm, and 59% of the time at Madison Junction. This most recent study was done between Dec. 20, 2006, and March 11 when, on average, 30 snowcoaches and 299 snowmobiles came into the park each day. Source: Casper Star-Tribune, 9/2/07 [READ ARTICLE] [DOWNLOAD REPORT (2.1MB pdf)]
[See AEI Special Report: Yellowstone Winter Use]

Helicopter Hunting Challenged in Name of Natural Quiet - A proposal to search for game by helicopter, then drop off hunters in the area of wildlife, is under intense scrutiny in New Zealand. The plan, now before the Conservation Department (DOC), would have helicopters flying at between 30 and 150 meters altitude for about 20 minutes per flight, looking for tahr, goats, chamois, and deer. "This proposal isn't just the transient irritation of a passing helicopter," said Federated Mountain Club executive member David Barnes. "It's in-your-face buzzing at low levels." The group has been pushing for "natural quiet" to be valued as a reason people seek out remote places. "We recognise that there are places that aircraft use is established and recognised as a legitimate form of recreation and/or access, but don't accept that this should be everywhere," Barnes said. The West Coast Conservation Board, asked by the DOC for input, recently recommended that the application be denied. WCCB Chairman Hamish Macbeth wrote in the official response, "In the board's view, the intrusive impact of this type of activity on the values of natural quiet and remoteness is unable to be minimised and for this reason the application should be declined," he wrote. The noise generated by this new style of hunting would be far greater than traditional recreational hunting, where hunters were flown to a base camp or hut. A suggestion that helicopters would fly away if they spotted other recreational users was a poor attempt at mitigating the noise impact, said the board. By the time the operator saw other users on the ground, the damage would have been done. Source: The Press, 11/27/07 [READ ARTICLE] The Press, 11/19/07 [READ ARTICLE]

Forest Service Continues Off-Road Vehicle Planning - On national forests and BLM lands across America, local land managers are continuing work on new Travel Management Plans, which aim to set clear map-based standards to manage off-road vehicle use. On many forests and most BLM land, ORV's have been permitted to travel off-trail; in the future, ORVs will be allowed only on designated roads and trails. A recently released report from the Isaac Walton League surveys land managers, and finds that most consider ORV use to have a serious impact on hunters and fishermen. Meanwhile, on forests nationwide, ORV users and quiet recreation advocates are working with land managers, and in some cases sparring with each other; we encourage you to get involved in your local forests' planning process. Source: USA Today, 10/1/07 [READ ARTICLE] [DOWNLOAD ISAAC WALTON LEAGUE REPORT]

National Parks "Littered" with Noise - "Noise is to the soundscape as litter is to the landscape," says Les Bloomberg, executive director of the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse. "For 100 years, we have been filling the landscape with waste, primarily from combustion engines, and now there is no place to escape it. The parks should be our last refuge, the places we can go to avoid noise." The Acoustical Society of America recently met in Salt Lake City, where they talked about noise in national parks. And what they heard is not good. Grand Canyon visitors can expect to hear aircraft every two minutes, from 8 a.m to 6 p.m. from spring to fall, about 132,000 overflights a year. In about 90 percent of the park, tour planes and helicopters can be heard 100 percent of the time, said Dick Hingson, who has been monitoring the sound there for years. The only place you can't hear them, he said, is deep in the canyon on the Colorado River, in the rapids. Noise researcher Skip Ambrose said the clamor doesn't stop at the Grand Canyon. It continues throughout Utah's five national parks - Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef. "There's times when you can't hear the natural sounds," said Ambrose, a biologist who measured noise for the Park Service from Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon and everywhere in between before retiring in the past year. He can't name a single spot in Utah's national parks free of sound litter. He hasn't measured one. And, given the East-to-West overflights of commercial jets, he doubts there are any, even with the many remote places within Utah's boundaries. Mia Monroe, manager of Muir Woods National Park near San Francisco, has noticed that even as people go to the wilds to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, they bring their noises with them. ‘‘Most digital cameras are not quiet,’’ she notes. ‘‘Strollers can be quite noisy. Big vehicles have ‘backup beepers,’ and you hear lots of planes overhead. Back when I started here, cars didn’t make those funny little beeps when the doors lock. It all adds up.’’ Bloomberg has put together ten suggestions to foster visitors' ability to have quiet experiences in National Parks, including establishing quiet campgrounds (no generators or boomboxes), using he quietest possible equipment, such as lawnmowers, air buffers around parks, and more enforcement of existing noise standards. Salt Lake Tribune, 6/24/07 [READ ARTICLE] LiveScience.com, 5/29/07 [READ ARTICLE] Sacramento Bee/Altoona Mirror, 5/27/07 [READ ARTICLE]
Related: Great article in Audubon on Natural quiet in parks - [READ ARTICLE]

EPA Criticizes Park Service Plan for Yellowstone Snowmobiles - A new proposal for snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park doesn't do enough to safeguard air quality, human health, wildlife and quiet spaces, the Environmental Protection Agency said. Agency officials said the National Park Service should either change its “preferred alternative” or pick another option. The EPA letter said earlier moves to reduce snowmobile numbers and require “cleaner and quieter” machines have led to significant improvements, but the latest plan raises concerns – especially when compared with the option of allowing only snowcoaches. The Park Service has said the snowcoach-only option is the best way to protect Yellowstone's natural resources. But park officials have continued to look for ways to allow a limited number of snowmobiles while minimizing their impact. Compared with the snowcoach-only option, the park's latest “preferred alternative” would lead to a fivefold increase in carbon monoxide emissions, a 17-fold increase in hydrocarbons, and double the amount of acres in Yellowstone where snow machines would be heard, the EPA said. The Park Service's “desired conditions” for winter recreation may not be strict enough to protect Yellowstone's natural resources, including its pristine air quality and natural quiet, the EPA said. Source: AP, 6/19/07 [READ ARTICLE]

BC Village Nixes Cell Phones in Woods, Streams - The village of New Denver, British Columbia has turned down Telus's offer to erect a cell phone tower near their remote valley in the West Kootenays, “an economic driver to bring them into the 21st century.” Bill Roberts, of the Slocan Valley Economic Development Commission told a Vancouver Sun reporter, “When you’re portaging between two lakes and all you’re hearing is the call of the loons and the rustles of the forest, the last thing you want to hear is a BEEP BEEP or the opening bars of Colonel Bogey’s March.” Roberts and friends think not being electronically joined at the ear to the rest of the modern world will be New Denver’s touristic ace in the hole. Their community will be one of the few places left in North America – on the planet, in fact – where the cell phone will be useless. “It’ll be a big competitive advantage,” says Roberts. “We won’t have people answering the darned thing everywhere and yelling on it.” Source: Parksville Qualicum News, 8/21/07 [READ ARTICLE]

Yellowstone Snowmobile Plan, Take Three, Released - The long-awaited Draft Environmental Impact Statement for managing winter use has been released, and contains few surprises, thanks to a series of preliminary releases by the Park Service over the past year. While the final preferred alternative won't be announced until after a round of public comments, it appears that the current status quo will largely be maintained. Snowmobiles will be allowed in numbers a close to historic averages, but greater than have actually been entering in recent years, but all will be required to be part of guided tours, much to the chagrin of the snowmobile community. A key pass from the East gate outside Cody, Wyoming, will be closed to snowmobiles due to the amount of work needed to keep it safe from avalanches. Environmental advocates, along with every former Park Service Director save the most recent, continue to call for snowmobiles to be banned, as decided in the initial winter use plan during the Clinton administration, due to air quality and noise concerns. Current snowmobile and snowcoach use creates audible noise for park visitors during the majority of the day. A proposed regulation will be released in late spring, with the final EIS and Record of Decision planned for fall. Sources: Jackson Hole News and Guide, 3/28/07 [READ ARTICLE] NewWest.net, 3/27/07 (snowmobile advocates) [READ ARTICLE] North County Times, 3/27/07 (Former Directors' Letter) [READ ARTICLE]
Yellowstone National Park Winter Use Planning Website, 3/27/07
[WEBSITE]

Colorado Softens New Noise Limits on Oil and Gas Installations, But It's Still an Improvement for Ranchers - The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission bowed to industry concerns about cost and modified a rule set to go into effect on January 1st governing noise from rural oil and gas installations. In December 2005 the Commission voted to limit noise to 45dB at night, and 50dB during the day; the industry challenged these limits, and will now be required to quiet their installations to 50dB at night and 55dB during the day, measured at 350 feet from the installation. A recent survey by Commission staff found that only 13% of compressors now meet the standard; enforcement will be contingent on complaints filed by citizens. The new rules contain several provisions that represent a step forward for quieting the wide-open ranchlands being inundated by natural gas and coalbed methane development. All engines within 400 feet of a residential building will be required to have mufflers installed; low frequency noise, below human hearing, will be regulated; and the new dB limits are themselves an improvement over the previous industrial standards of 65dB at night and 70 dB during the day. Sources: Durango Herald, 9/20/06 [READ ARTICLE] Earthworks website [READ RULE SUMMARY] [SEE NOISE NEWS LINKS]
See AEI Spotlight Report: Noise Impacts of Coalbed Methane Development

USFS Begins Forest-by-Forest Off-road Vehicle Planning- Last year's National Forest Service decision to designate routes for off-road vehicle use on all forests is moving into the implementation phase. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth has released a Travel Management schedule that details when each forest and ranger district will be expected to complete its inventory and final designation of routes. This process will be very open to public involvement from locals in each ranger district who are interested in either quiet recreation or motorized recreation; contact your local forests to learn when they will be holding meetings and forming collaborative planning groups. The schedule released by the forest service also gives preliminary numbers of acres of land and miles of trails currently open to motorized use. Source: National Foreset Service OHV Website, 7/8/06 [WEBSITE] Schedule [DOWNLOAD SCHEDULE(pdf)]
[See AEI Special Report: Forest Service OHV Planning]

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