Every day, more roads and trails used by the public for motorized
vehicle travel are being closed and even more areas are threatened.
For the most part, there are few answers about why trails are closed.
THE USDA Forest Service often uses the general statement that a
specific road or trail is not part of the Travel Management Plan, that
an area is part of a vital watershed or a threatened or endangered
species lives in the area. But most often there is no explanation.
In the last few months, the local Travel Management Plan has begun
implementation by the Mountaintop Ranger District in the San
Bernardino National Forest , which includes the area surrounding
Big Bear Lake. The funding for this has come mostly from the
Recovery Act funds, and the materials used for blocking roads and
trails as well as other formerly open areas popular for camping and
relaxing are large boulders from the new bridge project next to the
Big Bear Lake dam.
Some of the work has been undertaken by the Forest Service while
much of it has been completed by private contractors. These
contractors have used red dayglo paint on living trees to mark areas
where roads are to be blocked. Trail access is then blocked with
boulders, the ground along the trail is chunked and covered with
brush in order to camouflage the old road. The problem is that the
camo does not hide the old road and the brush used in hide the road
is cut from living trees, a procedure that is apparently sanctioned by
the Forest Service. Once the work is completed, and presumably
after many citizens complained about the dayglo red paint on tree
trunks, the contractors have gone back to paint over the red paint
with brown paint, which shows up only slightly less then the red paint
since it does not match. This methodology likely causes more
damage to the forest than motorized vehicle user could cause in 20
years, especially from those users who travel on public lands
responsibly. It seems that our grandchildren's money could be more
Some the road closures are old, historic roads that should never
have been closed. The problem is that the USDA Forest Service,
when the local travel management plan was created, held several
meetings for public input and provided a period for public comment.
And the public land users who travel via motorized vehicles were not
vocal enough. Which is why we have created tis section on the
SoCal 4x4 trails web site. We cannot let this happen again and we
must do what we can to get some of these important and historic
roads and trails reopened.
Below are important links to more specific information, who to
contact and important document downloads. Being informed makes
taking action easier. And taking action will help preserve OUR
access to our lands. But the most important factor for the land users
is to use the land responsibly.
Motorized Vehicle Use on Public Lands
Information & Issues Vital for Continued Access to OUR Lands!
Copyright 2013 Don Alexander
LINKS TO IMPORTANT
INFORMATION WEB SITES