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Old February 17th, 2008, 09:18 PM   #18
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Christopher Frederick
Interdisciplinary Team Leader
Baldwin/White Cloud Ranger District
P.O. Box D
Baldwin, MI

February 8, 2008

Re: Mast Lake Project Scoping Letter

Please accept the following comments on behalf of the Two Trackers Four Wheel Drive Club, the Great Lakes Four Wheel Drive Association, and the United Four Wheel Drive Associations.

Request 1
Place Scoping on HOLD and reissue the 30 day Comment Period on May 1, 2008.

It is inappropriate to release projects that involve the transportation system for Scoping immediately preceding or during the winter season. Snowfall obscures the transportation system, soil conditions, and most vegetation. This prohibits a reasonable investigation of the Project Area for the formulation of substantive comment.

Request 2
We suggest the National Forest Service review the road mileage calculation criteria to formulate a method that prevents a road segment from being counted more than one time.

Roads on the Project Area Boundary that have NFS ownership both inside and outside the Boundary are being counted twice. Once for the Project for which adjacent ownership is inside the Project Area and again for the future project that will include the adjacent NFS ownership outside of the boundary.

Request 3
Include road segment mileages in Scoping Letter.

It is not possible for the public to accurately comment about road density issues if the distance a roads is adjacent to NFS ownership is unknown. This can be accomplished by placing the corresponding mileage on the maps with the segmentís name or number (UC15 Ė 0.4 mile, Locust Ė 2.0 Miles, etc.), or in a list format.

While we are unable to issue substantive comments about conditions in the Project Area due to current snow cover, review of the included Transportation Maps indicates the following:

Map 1
  • UC27, FR9612, and FR9613 Make a continuous loop providing access throughthe Forest
  • Acquire a reciprocal easement for the eastern ľ mile of FR9613 if a current easement is absent.
  • FR5374, FR9613, and the unlabeled road traveling NW/SE between the two, represent a preexisting road that appears on many maps, including Garminís Mapsource.

Map 2
  • UC 18 appears on many maps, including Garminís Mapsource, as the southern end of Locust. Reinstating this road would greatly aid rustic access throughthe Forest.
  • FR9610 should access both Two Mile Road and Elm Street to aid access through the Forest.
  • The creation of Level 2 Roads from Locust through to 8th, from 8th through to M20, from M20 to Locust, and from M20 to FR9610 (As indicated on the included Map) would improve rustic access through the Forest.

Map 3
  • UC16 is a preexisting road that appears on many maps, including Garminís Mapsource. The western half falls on private property and is now obstructed to public use. UC42 and UC15 are now the only east/west access through this section of Forest. The intersection of UC42 with FR9430 improves travel by also allowing for north/south rustic access through the Forest.

The abundance of User Created Routes in the Project Area serves as a clear indication that the NFS is failing to provide enough rustic access to the Forest. Inclusion of the routes discussed above would serve to alleviate this situation, reducing illegal use, improving the publicís desired access (rustic), while allowing for the rehabilitation of the most degraded sites.

These comments are respectfully submitted by,

United Four Wheel Drive Associations
Great Lakes Four Wheel Drive Association
Two Trackers Four Wheel Drive Club

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