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U.S. Forest Service Releases Plan Restricting the Use of Motor Vehicles in the Kaibab National Forest

Friday, February 19, 2010

The U.S. Forest Service released a Travel Management Project (TMP) for the Williams Ranger District within the Kaibab National Forest.  The TMP will determine the future use of roads and trails for motorized access into the forest and can be viewed on-line at http://fs.usda.gov/goto/kaibab/projects.

Public comments are being accepted until Sunday, March 7 and can be emailed to: comments-southwestern-kaibab-williams@fs.fed.us or mailed to Martie Schramm, Williams District Ranger, 742 South Clover Road, Williams, AZ 86046.

The TMP will affect what is labeled as Motorized Big Game Retrieval (MBGR).  The TMP states that motor vehicles could be allowed within a specified distance of certain designated routes and within specified time periods solely for the purposes of retrieving a downed big game animal by an individual who has legally taken that animal.  However, motorized off-road travel for other hunting activities, such as scouting or accessing a favorite hunting site, would not be allowed. Any game retrieval that is not specifically allowed in the final TMP would require non-motorized methods.

Four management alternatives are described and all address MBGR.  Alternative 1, the No Action Alternative, would allow big game retrieval to continue to be allowed across the Ranger District.  Alternative 2, the alternative supported by the Forest Service, would allow MBGR with restrictions.  Alternative 3 would increase the MBGR restrictions.  Alternative 4 would prohibit the use of motor vehicles for MBGR off the designated road system.  The TMP addresses the impacts of the alternatives on camping as well. 

It is important for those sportsmen and women who depend upon the Kaibab National Forest, and particularly the Williams Ranger District, for big game hunting to review the TMP and comment on the four alternatives.  The Forest Service needs to know how the alternatives would affect your ability to hunt on these forest lands and which of the alternatives, if any, you support. 

The Forest Service will be hosting two meetings on the TMP.  The first will be held on Wednesday, February 24 at the Williams Ranger Station from 6-8 p.m. and the second will be held at the Williams Recreation Center (301 W. Railroad Ave., Williams) on Saturday, March 6 from 1-3 p.m.  For further information, please call 928-635-5614.

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