Recreation requires Collaboration
QUESTION FOREST SERVICE TRAIL
CLOSURES OR PROPOSED CLOSURES
Ask under what authority a trail has been closed. Ask to see the
documents supporting the closure. Ask to see the public process
documents (NEPA) that reviewed the closure options. Forest
Service should have posted notices in the papers & had a public
comment period. In many cases where trails are closed without
the above you can get them reopened just by asking. It is
illegal to close a trail without the above unless it is a
temporary closure for health, safety or resource damage. If you
get no response when you ask questions or feel you are being
blown off, then write a letter to your District Ranger &
politely ask the same questions. If you get no response or an
inadequate response, then write a letter to your Forest
Supervisor. If that does not work then write to the Regional
office. If that does not work then contact your elected
officials, usually your Senator.
Suggested Challenge Procedure
if you are challenged regarding the legality of your recreation
activity by an agent or representative of a government agency or
MEET WITH YOUR LAND MANAGERS
Get to know your local forest service &/or BLM land managers.
These are the folks who make decisions on what roads & trails to
keep open. They are far more likely to keep a trail open if they
know you are using the trail & why you want it left open.
Perhaps it is part of a loop, or goes to a point of interest, or
just is a great trail. Get to know your District Ranger. He
makes the final decision, but often is too busy to be able to
get out in the field & see things for himself. Be his eyes & let
him know what you are seeing on the trails & why the trails need
to be kept open.
JOIN A CLUB IN YOUR AREA OR FORM A CLUB
You have a greater chance of being heard if you are a group
instead of one person. You can bring to the table many positives
in terms of added volunteer hours & public cooperation. However
some land managers may be skeptical & not very responsive to
your needs. Do not let it stop you. Keep trying. If you are not
in a club you can still follow these suggestions. One person
speaking up in your area can make a big difference.
JOIN A STATE & NATIONAL ORGANIZATION
This will increase the clout of these groups & that means
keeping trails open. In California a good group to join would be
CORVA California Off Road Vehicle Association. Nationally Blue
Ribbon is a good multi use group.
VOLUNTEER WORK & TRAIL ADOPTION
Organize volunteer days through your local land manager on the
trails you enjoy. Make sure that all of your
volunteer trail work hours
are documented by your land manager & appear in the official
year-end reports giving your group credit. Better yet adopt a
trail that you enjoy. This normally entails doing two days of
trail work on it each year with your group. Make sure you get
credit for this in the year-end report. This not only keeps the
trail in better condition, but also is documented proof that you
care about a trail. This makes it far less likely that the trail
will be closed.
MEET YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS
Meet your elected officials & let them know that you care about
your trails & that they should too if they want your vote. Tell
them about yourself, your family & your recreation. Tell them of
the need to keep trails open & to open more trails to reduce the
impact on the land & to provide adequate recreation for families
& children. Tell them how great your land managers are if you
have a good working relationship with them. If not tell them how
unresponsive your land manager is & that you want your elected
official to look into trail closures or blocking of volunteer
efforts. The squeaky wheel often gets the grease.
This may seem like a lot of work to keep your trails open.
Regrettably it is necessary because there are some motivated
people who are actively working to close our trails to multiple
use. Do not get discouraged. Just do what you can to keep your
trails open & speak up when there are closures or proposed
closures. You can make all the difference.
How You Can Help