US Forest Service Travel Management Plan

Did you travel in the back country of Arizona this past weekend? Chances are you may have broken the law and not even known about it.

What is the US Forest Service Travel Management Plan? It’s the closure of 4,000 miles of forest service roads within the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests. Roads that were built by the Forest Service, paid for with tax dollars, and were legal drive on up until May 1st, are now illegal to drive on and you are subject to a $180 fine if caught. They’re not putting up signs to tell you the roads are closed, or blocking access to the roads, they’re handing out hard to read maps.

From Rob Myer
Just wanted to update you on my efforts to oppose this insanely stupid US Forest Service Travel Management Plan that recently went into effect in the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests. I hope you too will spread the word and will take action. As US citizens and taxpayers, these are our forests and roads to enjoy – don’t let the US Forest Service take them away.

I’ve researched who to contact with the US Forest Service on local, regional and national levels and have included their contact information below – a copy of the email I sent to each them is also below
Coconino National Forest Supervisor, Earl Stewart
Southwest Region Regional Forester, Corbin Newman
Acting Forest Supervisor, Ms. Kristin Bail
US Forest Service Chief, Tom Tidwell

I also found a number of interesting items online from others who oppose the USFS’s Travel Management and have included their links below:

Dear (NAME)

As an avid outdoorsman, camper, hunter, canyoneer, hiker, bacpacker, climber, etc. and most importantly a US taxpayer, I am extremely angry about the US Forest Service’s new Travel Management Plan that recently went into effect in the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests of Arizona.

The US forests belong to the citizens of the United States. The roads that were created by the US Forest Service, within our forests, were paid for by United States taxpayers. The signs that mark the approved US Forest Service Roads were paid for by US taxpayers. Now, you, at the US Forest Service have developed a Travel Management Plan and have closed TWO-THIRDS of the roads in our forest. The amount of road closures is excessive and irresponsible. You have closed legal and plainly marked roads that have been traveled for years. And, you have closed these roads — not with a closed sign on an actual road or by building a mound to indicate the road is closed to traffic – but by having your field officers distribute hard to read maps to campers.

In the month-and-a-half since your Travel Management Plan went into effect, I have already witnessed crowding and greatly reduced enjoyment of the forest by a variety of users. Roads that once had a handful of campers on them, now are lined with campsites. By restricting camping to only about 19% of the open roads, you’ve taken the fun out of “getting away from it all” and turned it into an overcrowded mess. Reducing camping opportunities and condensing campers into fewer areas could lead to increased conflicts, further detracting from this once special family getaway time.

Obviously your Travel Management Plan will greatly impact hunters come the fall hunting seasons. By reducing the number of roads we can travel on, you’ve taken away hunting spots, made game retrieval difficult at best and have restricted hunter campsites. Condensing hunters and their campsite options is foolish and could be downright dangerous. Many hunters are older and are unable to hike in order to hunt game. Without the use of roads, older hunters will be prevented from pursuing the sport they love.

I understand the Forest Service’s need to manage forest resources, but the forests are our public lands meant for the enjoyment of all of us. While certain unmarked, non-Forest Service roads should be closed to travel, the Travel Management Plan you’ve put in place is excessive, unnecessary and un-American. The US Forest Service and the Federal Government have taken away PUBLIC LANDS from citizens, lands that we paid for and continue to pay for. How is that right?


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