Travel Management Planning Case Studies

San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council…………………………… 2-3

Sierra Club in Utah………………………………………………..……3-4

Colorado Wild……………………………………………..…………...4-10

Forest Management Planning Case Studies

High Country Citizen’s Alliance………………………………..…10-11

Upper Arkansas and S. Platte Project……………………...…...11-19

Travel Management Excerpt of Plan……………………..13-19

Ecosystem-Based OHV Management Organization

Rocky Mountain Recreation Initiative……………………………..20

Forest Service Provided Information

Black Hills National Forest…………………………………………….21

San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council


Contact: 719-589-1518

Background: Formed in 1995 to provide input for the revised management plan for the Rio Grande National Forest, today SLVEC is group that addresses grazing, motorized recreation, and timber sales in all of south-central Colorado.

SLVEC has submitted a Citizen’s Travel Management Mapping Alternative for BLM lands which are currently in scoping for travel management. They say the Rio Grande National Forest is also undergoing a travel management process, but I’m not sure why the group submitted an alternative for BLM lands, but not NF lands.

Comments: I have not yet received a return phone call, so this information is from the website. I am looking forward to speaking with this group and getting updates and their perspective on the efficacy of their campaign. Please let me know if you have any specific questions you’d like me to ask them. Maybe they can put us in touch with the travel management specialists they worked with.

Explanation of the Mapping Process:

SLVEC is pursuing an education campaign to protect and expand wildlife corridors between the high-elevation national forest wilderness areas and the lower San Luis Valley, which encompasses the Rio Grande corridor.

SLVEC has now submitted to the Valley branch of the BLM a package called the Citizens Travel Management Mapping Alternative.

It was truly a team effort — a working group comprised of individuals living in the Valley and travel management specialists living outside the Valley. SLVEC did field evaluation using GIS and GPS. Ours was a landscape approach — that is, we considered the Valley and its surroundings as a macrocosm.

Our primary aims in this effort are to improve core wildlife habitat; protect sensitive species and cultural resources; reduce road densities and road redundancies; and to provide the best possible linkages between BLM and Forest Service lands.

The tools we used were baseline inventories of roads and trails conducted by the BLM; Colorado Natural Heritage Program “sensitive wildlife” data to target potential conservation areas; Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) “activity polygons” to determine the location of wildlife-migration corridors; DOW and BLM vegetation images; BLM “areas of critical and environmental concern” data; Forest Service road and trail maps and Wilderness Study Area data from 1999; and United States Geological Survey digital “ortho quarter” quad maps.

SLVEC developed a field report and a GPS photo as part of our recommendations for desired future conditions for the landscape in question. Out of our efforts came the Citizens’ Conservation Travel Alternative and a GIS shape file.

Maps towards the bottom of the page here:

Sierra Club

Travel Plan Revision in Ogden, UT Ranger District

Background: In 2003, the FS released a plan to add 25 miles of motorized trails open to OHVs. Nearly all the proposed new trails were illegally user-created trails. This backs up information from Roz at the Rocky Mountain Recreation Initiative who says that the big fight is to keep these user-created trails out of the FS maps, which creates legality and legitimacy for them.

The final decision was released in April, 2006, and the Sierra Club has appealed.

Sierra Club and Wilderness Society Scoping Comments for Ogden, UT Ranger District Travel Plan update of July 2003:


-This is Utah, but the document actually calls environmentalists who believe there should be no new ATV trails “extremists.”

-Check out pretty powerful photo essay documenting OHV damage to specific areas. Good idea for Bark website.

-This document also contains a citizen’s alternative plan. It suggests some new OHV trails, but has some good ideas. One of my favorites is provision Q:

Develop a policy by which OHV abuse in an area would automatically trigger a temporary emergency closure of the area. Install gates where necessary to facilitate such closures.

Colorado Wild

White River NF

Contact: Rocky Smith 303.839.5900

He is the longest-standing member of the organization.

Comments: This group seems very Bark-esque. I like their travel management principles attached below. Provision 16 deals with the issue of user-created trails and potential Forest Service efforts to add these trails to the official inventory.

Background: This is a case study of Colorado Wild’s participation in the White River NF forest planning process. Colorado Wild formed a large coalition, including American Lands Alliance and the Wilderness Society, to undertake this process.

A draft forest management plan was released in August 1999, which contained a detailed TMP. The FS decided to separate the two plans, based on public comment concerning the difficulty of reviewing both the FMP and the TMP. The process for the FMP was undertaken first, with a final plan and final EIS released summer 2002. The coalition appealed the final plan, as did Vail Resorts and the Colorado OHV Coalition (read about Colorado Wild’s battle here: .)

Scoping for the TMP was from August 27, 2002 to October 31, 2002. A draft EIS and draft TMP were released July 28, 2006. There was a 90 day comment period on the DEIS, and Colorado Wild is currently finishing up their comments.

Rocky will email me his comments when completed. Colorado Wild did not create a citizen’s alternative for the TMP, but rather are submitting detailed comments for every route possible. Here is the draft travel management plan for the White River NF:

Rocky says: Since Mount Hood’s TMP is under revision before our FMP, we should look at the current FMP guidelines and incorporate anything from it that we find useful into our TMP plan. Rocky thinks that because the new rules for FMP are so open-ended, it is possible that the rules and guidelines from the old FMP will be better and more enforceable than the new one (depending on which administration is in office.)

White River National Forest Travel Management Principles October 2002

In February 2000, recreation and environmental organizations developed a set of Forest Management Principles for the White River National Forest. The travel management principles developed in this document are intended to complement the broader White River National Forest Management Principles developed earlier.

The travel management principles were developed by 27 individuals representing 22 organizations in the spring of 2002. Their purpose is to guide the development of specific route recommendations in the summer and fall of 2002.

Travel Management Goals

(a)The protection of wildlife and ecosystems is a top management priority; recreation and travel are managed within the requirements of ecosystem protection.

(b)Maintain high-quality non-motorized recreation opportunities.

(c)Engage in long-term planning that takes into consideration projected increases in recreational visits and new recreation technologies.

(d)Streamline travel system to reduce cost and environmental impact while maintaining necessary functionality.

(e)Maintain and restore wild character of the landscape.

(f)Base recreation management decisions upon the best available science. Where information to determine the scope and severity of an activity’s ecological impact is not available or not in sufficient detail, it is appropriate to give deference to protecting biological diversity and sustaining ecosystem health.

Travel Management Objectives

Ecological Protection

Manage location, intensity, type and timing of recreational activities as necessary to protect biological and physical resources. Consider scale in planning so that: Landscape level resources such as migratory corridors and key refuge and interior areas are protected from intense or otherwise potentially destructive recreation;

Site level features, such as locations of threatened and endangered species, candidates for listing, critical habitats, delicate geologic features, breeding areas, cultural sites, and sensitive species are protected;

Viability of wildlife species is maintained at the site and landscape level;

High quality watersheds are protected, and threatened watersheds are improved; and

Cumulative impacts of existing and newly created routes are addressed at both the landscape, forest, and site scales.

  1. Maintain or restore large quiet areas at all elevations.
  1. Protect the integrity and quiet of roadless areas by disallowing motorized use and the construction of new routes in roadless areas. Roadless areas are defined as: Inventoried Roadless Areas 5,000 acres or greater in size; uninventoried roadless areas 5,000 acres or greater in size; and roadless areas 1,000 acres in size that are adjacent to existing wilderness, national parks, existing or proposed wild or scenic river segments, or another Inventoried Roadless Area.
  1. Allow motorized vehicles to travel only on system roads and trails, thereby eliminating cross-country travel by these vehicles; a limited number of defined winter “play areas” may be considered in locations where natural or cultural resources will not be significantly harmed. In sensitive areas, it may be appropriate to disallow all cross-country travel, or disallow or limit all recreational access in certain locations at certain times of the year, for example during critical denning or birthing periods.
  1. Allow mechanized vehicles to travel only on system roads and trails, thereby eliminating cross-country travel by these vehicles.
  1. In identified lynx and wolverine habitat, restrict oversnow travel to designated routes as needed to protect the viability of these populations.
  1. Appropriately locate and maintain routes to minimize adverse impacts to cultural, biological, and physical resources, and quiet use.
  1. No new summer routes will be located adjacent to riparian/wetland areas; relocate existing routes away from riparian/wetland areas when necessary to minimize impact to riparian areas.
  1. Locate routes away from threatened, endangered, sensitive, or candidate species’ habitat.
  1. Unless impossible in the following important landscape areas, reduce route densities to 1 mi/sq. mi. or less[i]:

In critical areas for big game;

In watersheds identified for conservation and recovery of native Colorado River Cutthroat Trout;

In key areas for carnivore survival (lynx, wolverine, pine marten).

Where possible in key landscape areas for wildlife such as core/interior forests and migratory corridors maintain route densities below .5 mile/sq. mile.

In sensitive ecological areas such as calving and over-wintering areas for big game, restrict access seasonally as appropriate.

In other areas, the Forest Service should strive to maintain route densities below 2 mi/sq. mi except, perhaps, in locations near major development (e.g, I70, Vail) where recreational and habitat needs might be better met through concentrating use.[ii]

Strive to reduce densities in sensitive areas to achieve scientifically ideal densities by reducing the miles of road by a minimum of 10% per year through closures and reclamation.

Preservation of quality non-motorized recreational opportunities

  1. Separate quiet areas from motorized areas as much as possible.
  1. Ensure that a reasonable amount of high quality contiguous non-motorized opportunities exist in both summer and winter. If they do not, rezone motorized areas as non-motorized.
  1. Contain motorized impacts to well-defined areas, and zone motorized use to discourage motorized “creep.”
  1. User conflicts can and do occur. Apply and enforce a variety of techniques, up to and including separation of uses, in a fair and equitable manner to resolve user conflict issues.
  1. Protect more remote and environmentally valuable areas by maintaining a quality spectrum of recreational opportunities close to population centers; consider linking frontcountry trailheads with municipal transportation systems.
  1. In general, unauthorized routes should not be validated and should be closed and obliterated. Additions of unauthorized routes to the official system are warranted only when a) unauthorized route serves the needs of the public and the environment better than a system route and the system route is officially closed and obliterated/revegetated, or b) compelling circumstances exist that warrant the addition of the route to the Forest Transportation System. When added, unauthorized routes should go through full public review as NEPA mandates.

The addition of unauthorized and newly constructed routes to the Forest Transportation System shall not result in a net increase in the total miles of routes in the System except where: a) closely parallel routes are created to accommodate separated uses in heavily traveled areas, or b) routes are added to concentrate and accommodate recreation in frontcountry zones (close to residential areas) and are accompanied by reductions in backcountry route mileage and recreational pressure.

Fiscally- and operationally-efficient management

  1. Streamline travel system by eliminating redundant, unnecessary, or ecologically damaging roads and trails, and by encouraging compatible uses to share routes.
  1. When routes are permanently closed to travel, ensure that routes are blocked, ripped, reseeded, revegetated, and otherwise restored to return the area to its natural condition as quickly and effectively as possible.
  2. Before any new routes are added, there must be a plan for maintenance and funding of those routes.
  1. Strive to close and obliterate unauthorized routes by including in trail proposals not only funding for maintenance, reconstruction and signage, but also funding for rehabilitation and obliteration of ghost routes.
  1. Reduce the net backlog of un-maintained redundant routes by a minimum of 10% annually. Prioritize the closing and revegetation of routes that are designated as unstable, eroding, located in sensitive habitat areas, or contributing to watershed degradation.
  1. Dedicate resources to educating recreational users in the field about how to mitigate environmental and social impacts potentially resulting from recreation.

High Country Citizen’s Alliance

GMUG National Forest-Colorado

Mountains to Mesas Conservation Management Alternative

Contact: Dan Morse 970.349.7104

Comment: Dan Morse has not yet returned my phone call, so this information is from the website and from folks familiar with this campaign.

Background:The GMUG National Forest has coal, gas, oil and uranium extraction, as well as logging. Because of the resources located here, the FS has been able to justify lots of destruction under the new national energy policy.

This plan was a coalition effort from five environmental groups and local scientists. It is a proposal for the June 2005 Forest Plan revision under the new forest planning regulations. The Draft Plan may be out now, so this will be a good group to keep in touch with and see how the process goes under the new rules.

Here is a quote from the website explaining a key piece of their strategy:

Mountains to Mesas is a plan that protects the heart of our forests, while allowing existing multiple uses to continue. The plan preserves our remaining roadless areas by recommending them as Wilderness. With new Forest Planning regulations now in effect, this is the only land management precription that really protects the land.

Here is the executive summary of the plan:

The full plan is also available on the website.

Upper Arkansas and South Platte Project

Contact: Jean Smith 719-686-5905

Comment: This is not part of a travel management planning process, but merely the travel and recreation section of a much larger proposed conservation plan. However, this document was devised using the framework of new forest planning regulations.


Conservation-minded citizens who are as diverse as the land itself - scientists, land managers, ranchers, hunters and outdoor recreationists – mapped large roadless areas on the Pike-San Isabel National Forest and adjoining BLM lands. Their collective efforts created the Wild Connectionsconservation vision for our natural heritage of wildlife, scenic beauty, clean air and water, and backcountry recreation.

Wild Connections is based in the science of conservation biology. Over the years, implementation of Wild connections would establish a network of large, roadless core reserves connected by habitat corridors. It is part of a larger ecoregional network - the Southern Rockies Wildlands Network - which in turn is a key link in the North American "Spine of the Continent" mega linkage.

Jean says:

We dealt with travel management in the Wild Connections Conservation Plan primarily from the perspective of protecting remaining roadless areas. Our strength for the Pike-San Isabel planning is that we have concrete data from ten years of rootless area inventories anda capacity to deal with management from a scientific perspective. So we included abig section in the document describing the roadless areas, many of which we are recommending for Wilderness or Core designation. The other thing we spent an inordinate about of time on was couching our plan in the framework of the new forest planning regs. That was a real challenge and we're not sure how well we accomplished it, given that one was starting from an inadequate and incredibly loose framework.

Wild Connections Conservation Plan Excerpt

Recreation and Travel Management

The 2005 USFS OHV Rule

The USFS issued the final OHV Rule on November 9th, 2005 requiring all National Forests to engage and complete Travel Management planning by 2009. Although Forest Plans do not make final decisions on route-specific closures, they should set the general policy, framework, and guidelines for recreation and travel management. The following guidance is recommended to ensure ecosystem sustainability.

Criteria to Manage Recreation on the Pike-San Isabel

Recreation is the dominant use of public lands in terms of numbers of participants, and this use continues to grow. It is essential that the Forest Service develop comprehensive and thoughtful recreation plans for motorized travel management as mandated by the 2005 OHV Rule as well as nonmotorized recreation. These plans will allocate uses across the landscape in such a way that cumulative and site impacts are minimized to stay or be brought within reasonable limits. Where impacts are unacceptably high (i.e., the condition of the landscape is in long-term decline as measured by a series of biological and physical parameters), recreation uses must be reallocated to prevent further impacts and to allow the area to recover.