Modify use on unpaved LNF roads

How does this effect C/R and/or citizens:
Road use restrictions can prohibit green sticker vehicles from having a seamless riding opportunity between riding areas.  Gravel surfaced roads can legally connect one riding opportunity with another and promote better recreational OHV opportunities. Anytime this use is dispersed to other areas it has an effect on the revenues of the City of Redding.

Research completed:
Off highway use on unpaved forest roads has been historical use since the invention of the machines.  Many people live in this area for the recreational opportunities they find on the public lands.  During the period of time that the Travel Management Plan was being created many people commented on the disparity the closure of these historically used unpaved roads but they continued to be closed with the rational that this use is not acceptable on forest ‘highways’ and the CVC was cited.  Since that time CHP has written letters (2007) stating that:

38001. (a) Except as otherwise provided, this division applies to off-highway motor vehicles, as defined in Section 38006, on lands, other than a highway, that are open and accessible to the public, including any land acquired, developed, operated, or maintained, in whole or in part, with money from the Off-Highway Vehicle Trust Fund, except private lands under the immediate control of the owner or his or her agent where permission is required and has been granted to operate a motor vehicle. For purposes of this division, the term “highway” does not include fire trails, logging roads, service roads regardless of surface composition, or other roughly graded trails and roads upon which vehicular travel by the public is permitted.  

Forest roads were created by and for logging and mining purposes so fall under CVC 38001 regulations.

Liability is also a concern of the Forests, however, when the Regional Office in Vallejo compiled a fifteen-year accident history it showed a total of 11 mixed use accidents in that time span, four of which involved either forest personnel or a deputy sheriff.  This does not warrant as valid the rational of liability. (Attachment – R5 Mixed Use Accident Data, January 16, 09)

This past year Shasta County PWD, Pat Minturn, drove every ML 3 road inside the STNF and Shasta County and prepared a report.  The STNF attended a Board meeting where a power point was presented. The outcome result was the STNF has agreed to look at each of the roads in question and, if possible, lower the maintenance level to a 2 to accommodate mixed use.

In researching the USDA FS Handbook and Guidebook and the Highway Safety Act, nothing could be found that precluded the use of non-highway legal vehicles from using forest roads.  Multiple-use has always been the mantra of this agency.  (Attachment- A Case for Establishing and Utilizing Lower Levels of Maintenance on NFS Roads. September 2011)

Findings:
It is the findings of this committee that the unpaved roads in the LNF are acceptable for off-highway use and therefore should be reopened to this historical use.

Rational for priority:
This issue should be top priority because until these roads are reopened off-highway vehicle travel is greatly restricted and people are choosing to recreate in other areas.  This loss of opportunity reduces the revenues provided to this City.

Additional Information:
With the development of the Potato Buttes OHV area, allowing for off-highway use on unpaved forest roads could be of benefit for getting from one riding area to another and would be a draw for OHV recreation in this area.

The Share the Dream Trail proposal is another potential opportunity to draw OHV recreationist into the area but without the use of the unpaved ML 3 and 4 roads non-highway legal vehicles would not be able to enjoy this experience.

All unpaved roads in the LNF are acceptable for historical mixed use.  There is no accident history on this Forest to justify the restriction of this use.  (Attachment – R5 Mixed Use Accident Data, January 16, 09)

A list of specific LNF roads is attached.

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