Center for Biological Diversity

Take Action to Protect Northern Arizona Forests From ORVs

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Northern Arizona's forests are under threat from poorly managed motorized recreation and too many roads. The Center for Biological Diversity and other concerned groups in Arizona recommended a road system for the Kaibab National Forest, rejected by the Forest Service, which would have reduced road density in the Williams Ranger District to one mile of road for every square mile of land, prevented off-road driving to pick up downed game, and prohibited irresponsible campers from driving off-road to find a place to camp. We need you to ask the Service to implement our recommendations to protect wildlife and clean water in the Verde River watershed.

Please attend one or both of these upcoming meetings in Williams, Arizona to speak out for quiet recreation in our national forests:
Wednesday, February 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Williams Ranger District, 742 S. Clover Road;
Saturday, March 6  from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at thedowntown Williams Recreation Center, 301 Railroad Ave.

In addition to attending the meetings, we also ask that you write a letter to the Forest Service and tell them that you care deeply about this forest, that only Alternative 4 protects the species you care about, and that they need to do more to protect this national treasure. Please use the letter below as an example. Note that it’s important to edit the letter to make it your own so the Service will know how much you care.

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*Fields marked with an asterisk are required. If you live outside of the U.S. or Canada, enter "other" for state/province.

Please submit comments by March 9, 2010.

ORV tracks photo (c) Cyndi Tuell.

The Forest Service plan would allow forest visitors to drive nearly the length of a football field off many miles of road to find a place to camp. We have asked the Service to designate camping sites and short routes to these sites to allow the continued use of these popular areas in a way that would protect fragile soils and vegetation. Despite our request and the fact that most camp sites are within 100 feet of a road, the Service plans to allow off-road driving for 200 feet. Please, tell the Forest Service this simply does not make sense.

Under Alternatives 2 and 3, hunters would have exclusive access to nearly the entire forest to pick up a downed elk. This will allow the continued destruction of our public lands for the benefit of a select group. Only Alternative 4 would prevent the continued spread of invasive species and protect plants and animals from being crushed under the tires of an off-road vehicle carrying an elk. Hunters don't need to drive an ORV to pick up their downed game; there are many alternatives to this destructive habit.

Responsible travel-management planning should include a list of unnecessary roads that will be permanently closed and restored to a more natural state. Unfortunately, the Williams Ranger District has no plans to remove a single mile of road and instead will place 380 miles of road in limbo, off-limits to public use and outside the maintenance schedule, but still part of the official road system. These roads will quickly erode, attracting the most irresponsible off-road drivers with deep ruts, steep slopes, and remote access. Illegal use of these roads will continue unless the Forest Service takes effective action to physically close these roads, which should be permanently removed from the official road system through travel planning, not simply placed on hold. Ask the Forest Service to permanently close all roads listed as "high risk/low value" in their project record and tell them you support the Center for Biological Diversity’s route recommendations.

Click here to visit the Forest Service's Williams Travel Management Project Web page.