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Comment Now on the Carson Forest Management Plan

Deadline to comment is November 7.

The Carson National Forest (CNF) is nearing the end of the comment period regarding its Revised Forest Plan. This is the first update in thirty years, so not only is this update long overdue, but it is desperately in need of updates regarding Mountain Biking – a sport that was barely in its infancy when the last plan was passed.


TMBA has been working hard to ensure that the interests of mountain bikers are considered and represented. While the planners have accepted many of our proposed changes on previous drafts – helping to ensure mountain biking is a priority for forest management – the current draft still falls short of meeting the growing needs of the mountain bike community.

Forest managers are eager to hear public input, so this is where YOU, the MTB enthusiast, can help make a difference.

Taos area mountain biking needs you to send a letter to the CNF in support of TMBAs recommended changes to the plan: TMBA Comments on CNF Proposed Forest Plan – DRAFT

Among the areas that need improvement are:

  1. Wilderness areas in the proposed alternatives will close access to mountain bikes along the beloved Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.
  2. Proposed maintenance and construction of new trails does not adequately meet the increased demand for more purpose-built mountain bike trails.
  3. Proposed partnerships and community-based management programs are not robust enough to take advantage of the strong base of passionate volunteers.

We have drafted a final letter proposing changes to the forest plan, but is important that you, individually, are also heard on these issues.

This is the last opportunity for the public to provide input. 

Below is a template for your comments. You are encouraged to change / combine / modify these suggestions as you see fit to meet your particular concerns as planners give more weight to a personalized letter. However, if you are pressed for time, please don’t hesitate to send the form letter as is.

We have also provided three shorter templates below, as well as detailed options for submission.

Dear Plan Revision Team,I am writing in regards to the proposed updates to the Forest Plan Revision for the Carson National Forest. As an avid forest patron and stakeholder, I support the comments submitted by Taos Mountain Bike Association.

I believe mountain biking is a significant contributor to several important aspects of our community including health, social opportunities, and sustainable income through tourism. These benefits have been clearly demonstrated and well-documented in other National Forests.

To that end, please consider the following comments:

I am opposed to any management changes that would reduce the amount of existing mountain biking opportunities on the Carson National Forest. Specifically, I am opposed to the creation of the Olguin, Canjilon Meadows, Comanche and Brazos Ridge Recommended Wilderness Management Areas areas as proposed in alternatives 4 and 5.

The newly completed Continental Divide National Scenic Trail runs through these areas, and designating them as Wilderness would cause a significant loss to current recreational mountain biking on the Carson National Forest.

In considering the future management of RWMAs, I respectfully request the following changes be made the Plan:

– Please modify Standard #2 of MA-RWMA-S to read, “Mountain biking shall be the only form of mechanized recreation allowed in a recommended wilderness management area,”
– Please modify Guideline #3 of MA-RWMA-G #3: “Motorized equipment or mechanized transport for management activities (e.g., chainsaws or wheelbarrows), and mechanized transport for recreation activities (e.g, mountain biking) should be allowed in recommended wilderness areas if they do not permanently degrade wilderness characteristics of the area.”

Further, I support the creation and maintenance of purpose-built mountain bike trails on the Carson National Forest, and respectfully request the following changes be made the Plan:

– Please add and modify Objective #8 (from Alternative 3) to FW-REC-O: “Redesign existing trails, or construct new trails to create several purpose-built mountain biking trails as part of multi-user trail systems.”
– Please add the following objective to FW-REC-O: “In response to increasing recreation demand, develop a minimum of three new non-motorized multi-use trail networks to provide increased opportunities for recreation activities including hiking, mountain-biking and horseback riding, within 10 years of plan approval.”
– Please add the following guideline to FW-REC-G: “Development of new recreational trails should consider current and growing recreational use groups including hikers and mountain bikers.”
– Please modify Objective #3 of FS-TFA-O to read: “Maintain all existing and future trails (including motorized) on a rotating basis, with at least 200-400 miles of non-motorized, and 30-45 miles of motorized trails maintained annually.”

Finally, I support the creation and management of a robust community engagement program to help develop and maintain mountain bike trails on the Carson National Forest, and respectfully request the following changes be made the Plan:

– Please add the following objective to FW-REC-O: “Establish and utilize community-based partnership programs to address up to 25 percent of the deferred maintenance for core infrastructure needs such as water, sewer, roads, and trails within 10 years of plan approval.”
– Please add the following objective to FW-REC-O: “Establish and maintain an adopt-a-facility program that engages specific user groups in the sustainable maintenance of trails, campgrounds and other recreation facilities within 1 year of plan adoption. Provide adopters with access to tools, resources and expertise needed to accomplish the sustainable maintenance of existing infrastructure.”
– Please add the following Management Approach to FW-REC: “Consider partnering with volunteers, mountain biking organizations, other government agencies, cooperators, and permit holders to help co-manage sustainable mountain biking opportunities, including planning, design, implementation, operations, and maintenance of mountain biking trails.”

Thank you for your consideration.

Issue specific templates. (click to open one):

I oppose the reduction of mountain bike access
Dear Plan Revision Team,

I am writing in regards to the proposed updates to the Forest Plan Revision for the Carson National Forest. As an avid forest patron and stakeholder, I support the comments submitted by Taos Mountain Bike Association.

I believe mountain biking is a significant contributor to several important aspects of our community including health, social opportunities, and sustainable income through tourism. These benefits have been clearly demonstrated and well-documented in other National Forests.

In particular, I am opposed to any management changes that would reduce the amount of existing mountain biking opportunities on the Carson National Forest. I am opposed to the creation of the Olguin, Canjilon Meadows, Comanche and Brazos Ridge Recommended Wilderness Management Areas areas as proposed in alternatives 4 and 5.

The newly completed Continental Divide National Scenic Trail runs through these areas, and designating them as Wilderness would cause a significant loss to current recreational mountain biking on the Carson National Forest.

In considering the future management of RWMAs, I respectfully request the following changes be made the Plan:

  • Please modify Standard #2 of MA-RWMA-S to read, “Mountain biking shall be the only form of mechanized recreation allowed in a recommended wilderness management area,”
  • Please modify Guideline #3 of MA-RWMA-G #3: “Motorized equipment or mechanized transport for management activities (e.g., chainsaws or wheelbarrows), and mechanized transport for recreation activities (e.g, mountain biking) should be allowed in recommended wilderness areas if they do not permanently degrade wilderness characteristics of the area.”

Thank you for your consideration.

I support the creation and maintenance of purpose-built mountain bike trails

Dear Plan Revision Team,

I am writing in regards to the proposed updates to the Forest Plan Revision for the Carson National Forest. As an avid forest patron and stakeholder, I support the comments submitted by Taos Mountain Bike Association.

I believe mountain biking is a significant contributor to several important aspects of our community including health, social opportunities, and sustainable income through tourism. These benefits have been clearly demonstrated and well-documented in other National Forests.

In particular, I support the creation and maintenance of purpose-built mountain bike trails on the Carson National Forest. I respectfully request the following changes be made the Plan:

  • Please add and modify Objective #8 (from Alternative 3) to FW-REC-O: “Redesign existing trails, or construct new trails to create several purpose-built mountain biking trails as part of multi-user trail systems.”
  • Please add the following objective to FW-REC-O: “In response to increasing recreation demand, develop a minimum of three new non-motorized multi-use trail networks to provide increased opportunities for recreation activities including hiking, mountain-biking and horseback riding, within 10 years of plan approval.”
  • Please add the following guideline to FW-REC-G: “Development of new recreational trails should consider current and growing recreational use groups including hikers and mountain bikers.”
  • Please modify Objective #3 of FS-TFA-O to read: “Maintain all existing and future trails (including motorized) on a rotating basis, with at least 200-400 miles of non-motorized, and 30-45 miles of motorized trails maintained annually.”

Thank you for your consideration.

I support developing lasting partnerships with community-based organizations
Dear Plan Revision Team,

I am writing in regards to the proposed updates to the Forest Plan Revision for the Carson National Forest. As an avid forest patron and stakeholder, I support the comments submitted by Taos Mountain Bike Association.

I believe mountain biking is a significant contributor to several important aspects of our community including health, social opportunities, and sustainable income through tourism. These benefits have been clearly demonstrated and well-documented in other National Forests.

In particular, I support the creation and management of a robust community engagement program to help develop and maintain mountain bike trails on the Carson National Forest. I respectfully request the following changes be made the Plan:

  • Please add the following objective to FW-REC-O: “Establish and utilize community-based partnership programs to address up to 25 percent of the deferred maintenance for core infrastructure needs such as water, sewer, roads, and trails within 10 years of plan approval.”
  • Please add the following objective to FW-REC-O: “Establish and maintain an adopt-a-facility program that engages specific user groups in the sustainable maintenance of trails, campgrounds and other recreation facilities within 1 year of plan adoption. Provide adopters with access to tools, resources and expertise needed to accomplish the sustainable maintenance of existing infrastructure.”
  • Please add the following Management Approach to FW-REC: “Consider partnering with volunteers, mountain biking organizations, other government agencies, cooperators, and permit holders to help co-manage sustainable mountain biking opportunities, including planning, design, implementation, operations, and maintenance of mountain biking trails.”

Thank you for your consideration.

 

In addition to the above comments, we encourage you to choose any that resonate with you from our full comment letter, or add your own concerning any other issue important to you. For example, sections of Alternative 4 include the creation of Wetlands Jewels Management Areas which you can include in your comment letter. You are not required to go “all in” on any particular Alternative, and instead we recommend you encourage Carson NF planners to take a holistic approach that meets the needs of a growing recreation economy while also addressing important conservation needs.

There are four ways you can submit comments:

  1. Submit through the Forest’s comment form
  2. Via e-mail to: carsonplan@fs.fed.us
  3. Via post to:
    Plan Revision Team
    Carson National Forest
    208 Cruz Alta Rd.
    Taos, NM 87571
    (must be postmarked by Nov. 7)
  4. Submit comments directly to your Forest Service District Office

More information about submitting comments can be found here.

Thank you for taking the time to support your public lands. If you have questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact us.