The list below addresses things we learned from the DEIS, from speaking with the Forest, and from speaking with all of you. Use it as a guide, use it to look at the maps and see if you missed something. Your comments need to come from YOU.
Even if you’ve never ridden the Stanislaus, take a look at a topographic map and we promise, some ideas will come to mind. This area has some of the best riding in the country. Let the Forest know you’d like to explore the Stanislaus, even if you’ve never been there.
Electronic Comment Form for the Stanislaus NF OSV DEIS
The Stanislaus National Forest has released their DEIS with an inaccurate representation of current management in Alternative 2. This map displays everything that’s not Wilderness as open to snowmobiles, including designations that they aren’t legally authorized to remove in this process. They have failed to provide a basis for a realistic comparison. Keep this in mind when looking at the maps.
-The NEPA process requires the Forest Service to consider a range of alternatives for their environmental assessment. That doesn’t mean it’s just a voting contest where you pick the alternative with the most of the color they use for open. Those comments will largely be ignored. Their preferred alternative (in this case Alt 5) is what they’re actually proposing. Look closely at Alternative 5 and see how your riding areas would be affected. There are already enormous swaths of land in the Stanislaus closed to OSV use. We need to keep the remaining areas open.
-The Stanislaus planned for the area around Eagle Meadows, Pacific Valley, and a small area on Sonora pass along the Nightcap Ridge to be “Near Natural, non-motorized” in 1991. This was never implemented, but was formalized in their 1991 Forest Plan. These have been popular riding areas both before and since 1991. Fortunately, the Forest Service acknowledges this. They have indicated a willingness to revise this designation because it would be difficult to manage as this designation originally intended. The 1991 non-motorized designation is a holdover from summer management. Snowmobiles don’t require roads or trails and have no effect on the permanent landscape. Ask them to create a new designation that allows winter time motorized use! A WINTER SPECIAL MANAGEMENT AREA.
-The Proposed Action (Alt 5) makes piecemeal work out of what’s designated as the Hwy108 area on the maps. Users and USFS personnel will be guessing where boundaries are when in these areas. Ask that this entire area be opened from the east side of 108 by Strawberry, all the way to Dardanelle and Kennedy Meadow south of 108, to the northern Emigrant Wilderness Boundary. Some of this terrain is steep, and may not get ridden, but designating the entire area as open leaves users, and law enforcement both very clear on boundaries without having to rely on guesswork.
-The Herring Creek Loop area only designates the road as open. Not the slopes in the middle and not the area outside the loop. We’re not just trail riders! Ask the Stanislaus to designate the area inside and outside of the Herring Creek Loop as open to OSV cross-country use. Willow Meadow, Hammil Canyon and the surrounding area needs to be open.
-The proposal (Alt 5) designates ZERO high alpine, big mountain terrain for snowmobile use within the Stanislaus. Sonora Pass isn’t always reachable from the Hwy 108 Snopark. Let them know we need the Eagle meadows area open to the very obvious ridge that defines the Wilderness boundary from Waterhouse lake, to Cooper Peak to Castle Rock to the Three Chimneys. This ridge as a boundary is easy to understand. And we need Eagle Peak and Bull Run Rock open.
-The old logging road grades from Dardanelle up to Eagle Meadow along the sides of Eagle Creek are not designated as open in the proposed alternative. These slopes already see use currently, and the Donnell fire has opened up sight lines and travel corridors. Ask that both sides of Eagle Creek from 108 be designated at open to cross country OSV use.
-Hwy 108 can get sketchy from Kennedy Meadows to Sonora Pass. The Bridgeport Winter Recreation area has great riding but is difficult to get to sometimes. Grooming this route would help access to the pass and reduce the potential impact of use on the rest of the Hwy 108 riding areas. Ask that this portion of 108 be designated for grooming. It may not happen frequently, but would be great when needed.
-The Proposed action (Alternative 5) designates the area just west of Sonora Pass as closed on April 15 to match the Bridgeport Winter Recreation area. After the pass opens and the hundreds of skiers show up to ski the pass, this small meadow and hillsides are the only places to ride most years on the Stanislaus late in the season. Let them know that closing this area on April 15 is not acceptable! Plenty of snowmobilers drive up the pass once it’s open to ride this zone. NO CLOSING DATE ON THE PASS.
-The Proposed action (Alternative 5) only designates the Long Valley lowlands as open to OSV use. We’re not just Meadow Riders. Ask that the slopes around Long Valley be designated open to OSV use! The ridge up to the three chimneys and the ridge overlooking Relief Reservoir are a logical boundary. Designate the Valley OPEN.
-The entire Pacific Valley to Highland Lakes road area should be designated open to cross-country OSV use, as it was in the proposed action in 2015. There are very well-defined ridges encompassing most of this area that define the wilderness boundary. Let them know we need Lookout Mountain and the surrounding area open. The bowls from Bull Run to Henry Peak to the Wilderness boundary by Peep Sight Peak should be open. This area offers the only true ‘big mountain riding’ and skiing off of the Hwy 4 corridor.
-The proposal (Alternative 5) removes the north ends of Jelmini and Beartrap Basins from being open to snowmobiles. Let them know this is not realistic. The slopes leading from this area are extremely steep and will be self policing long before the wilderness boundary. The entire North Hwy 4 area should be managed as presented in Alternative 4. The Cabbage Patch/Mattley Ridge area should be designated as demonstrated in Alternative 4.
-The Proposed Action leaves the Bear Valley ski area as closed to OSV use. There’s a long history of locals and visitors having this area open for snowmobile skiing and snowmobiling after the ski area closes! Ask them to designate this as a seasonal use area! No one needs to ride the ski area during business season. But families have a long tradition of great spring days spending time with neighbors riding the hill after the ski area closes. Let the Stanislaus know!
-The area west of Whittakers Dardanells provides an endless network of roads and meadows that sit above 7k elevation and provide great low consequence riding in high avalanche conditions. Access to this area is provided from the small bridge under Spicer Meadows Reservoir and from FS52/5N14 out of Dorrington. The area is labeled as South Hwy 4 on the maps. Ask that it be designated open as it appears in alternative 4. This would help take some of the stress off of the Alpine snopark in big winter years.