Recreation – July 2010 concepts

The high value placed on recreation has been a common theme throughout the collaborative process to develop the 2011 planning rule: many people told us that they felt we were ignoring recreation as a stand-alone issue area, and they wanted to see it treated separately.

We view the experiential, educational, spiritual, health and economic (among many others) contributions of recreation, and the value of recreation for connecting people to our lands, as extremely important.  Few other activities provide people a sense of place like recreating in the outdoors.  It is critical for the Forest Service to understand and plan for (ecologically and fiscally) sustainable recreation.   

With this new rule, we expect to build an understanding of recreation uses and infrastructure needs that will guide planning for sustainable use.  Our proposed intent is that the rule address: assessing recreation values, opportunities, settings, landscape character, and needs within the broader landscape context;  planning to provide suitable and sustainable recreation opportunities and infrastructure; and monitoring visitor use and changing conditions to provide feedback to managers and the public.

We have taken an approach that integrates recreation concerns throughout the rule, including in each of the issue areas addressed by the other blog posts.  In particular, we ask you to look to  the “people and the environment” post for a discussion of how the planning framework might build in consideration of sustainable recreation,  along with other values and contributions of NFS lands to people and communities.   

Again, we want to affirm that we value recreation highly, and appreciate and have incorporated feedback from previous meetings.  We look forward to continuing to receive your feedback.

9 Responses to “Recreation – July 2010 concepts”
  1. Michael Horne says:

    It looks like I’ve missed the boat on providing input for your future plan; however, this appears to be an excellent forum to express my thoughts regarding my own camping experiences and guidelines I would like to see in place. I’ve been camping for over 60 years with my first experiences taking place with my grandparents in a canvas tent in the high sierras of California. I car/tent camped into my 50′s when I purchased my first pull behind trailer. Today I have two trailers: a 34′ 5th wheel with multiple slides and a small 18′ pull behind with no slides. I enjoy both, but for different reasons and uses. It’s fun to take my 5th wheel to RV parks and large campgrounds primarily intended for RV use, but I believe the forest service must stop caving into the RV industry and RV lobiests that insist that, to sell more RVs they must be allowed in every campground and every camp site. There is a real need to limit some camping to walk-in/hike-in, limit even more to car/tent camping only and most of all establish and enforce size limit restrictions on RVs, mine included. We all have a right in this country to enjoy our natural resources and we all have that same right to camp in any public campground we choose. WE DON’T have the right to drive or pull masive RVs into areas that were never intended or designed for their use. I see tree limbs broken off that overhang primitive campground roads. I also see damaged vegetation, trees and campsite limit logs and timbers smashed and run over by RVs that don’t fit the campsites. (but the site is unoccupied and by golly its my right to pull my monster into it). What happened to size restrictions. There is nothing worse than sitting in a beatiful High Sierra Campsite that has views of mountains, trees, lakes or steams, only to have that view blocked by 40′ of white fiberglass from an out of place RV. I remember years ago reading government camping guides that included length restrictions. Now I read updated guides for the same campgrounds that don’t include length restrictions. Come-on, not all forms of camping fit all kinds of camping areas. Their are locations for my 34′ 5th wheel (mostly private) and other places for my 18′ pull-behind and tents. Most campgrounds and campsites limit how much room you can occupy by restricting the number of tents, vehicles, people and animals for very good reason. Stop the Giants from ruinning our beautiful camping areas by assesing our campgrounds and campsites and doing a better job of allowing what is compatible with the location. If it doesn’t fit – keep it out. Thanks for hearing me out.

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  2. Brian Hopper says:

    Since unmanaged or irresponsible recreation, especially motorized pursuits, have the potential to significantly impact natural resources in a negative manner, it is of utmost importance that the Forest Service stay abreast of current trends and local activities. However, recreation can be sustainable and foster a sense of environmental appreciation as well. There is also much opportunity for user groups to “give back” to their Forest. For these reasons, it was wise that the FS treated the realm of recreation as an issue important enough for special attention. Forest Service staff should continue to hold a separate forum for it and continue to foster open and positive dialog with the various user groups.

    Do FS recreation managers at each Forest or Ranger District prepare any sort of annual or biannual review of positive and negative effects of the major recreational pursuits and/or document any observed changes in new or existing activities? …just a basic & informal report?

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    • jcall says:

      Response from the Planning Rule Team:
      National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) data is collected at five-year intervals for national forests. This long-term dataset contains visitation volumes, participation rates for 28 activities, spending profiles and satisfaction throughout the national forest system.

      Individual forests may also have site specific monitoring of recreational activities for special areas or circumstances, but this is not tracked nationally. Forests also prepare forest plan monitoring reports, which typically include information on the recreation objectives in the forest plan. The best way to get this information is to contact the particular forest or grassland of interest.

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  3. Nick says:

    I’m glad to see that recreation is being valued for using Forest Service properties. I agree that ATV use, ON ESTABLISHED TRAILS, should be permitted on Forest Service land. I’m happy to see that people appreciate the Forst Service for what they do: preserve forests and land for all to enjoy.

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  4. The New Planning Rule seems to be one sided for recreational use. All Terrain Vehicles and Off Highway Vehicles are being left out. As prior to this New Planning Rule the recreation for ATV and OHV was where one could use trails and roads that were existing from over 20 years and had no problems. Since 2005 many things are changing for the worst in recreation.
    People who are handicapped or medically challenged have a much harder time recreating in the forest with out the use of motorized vehicles. New Planning needs to involve The People as much as possible. “Rules” are just that and should not be set to exclude certain groups or people as the proposed New Rule seems to be heading to. Any and All New Rules need to be in a way as to improve the existing Rules, not take away a certain groups recreation.
    According to the USFS web site the New Rules are to be out by December. I can now see that The People are Not involved in this decision of our own forest.
    It would be detrimental to the recreational groups if changes were made and become prejudice of certain groups as in ATV and OHV’s. Not to mention other groups that are not speaking up as much. Equality must be applied to the New Rules and The People need to be a part of this decision as well.

    I propose that the date of December be delayed at least by one year in order to give The People opportunity to evaluate the contents of the New Rules with Comments and opinions to help make for a better system of rules.
    Many groups have not been given the same information as to what USFS is basing the decisions on for the New Rules. Such should be available to All of The People in order to unite as one……… Americans coming together to make the right decision for rules that will impose loss to many in some way.
    Blue Ribbon Coalition has made Comments about this subject and I feel I need to back them as much as I can. I am requesting the same information for me to revue as USFS has for this so I may make an educated.
    decision. According to President Obama this is an acceptable request. By having a 30 day Comment Period or such for The People is knowing that no one can obtain the required information in that short period of time. Thus, an un-educated decision will follow. It has taken USFS since 2005 to acquire the information they needed to develop the Rule Changes that are being proposed to The People. So it shall only be appropriate for at least One Year to be given to The People to do what USFS has had five years to do.
    I await the same information as I have requested;
    All Test
    Interior Comments
    Deciding Groups notations
    Info from other departments inputs

    This is not an exhausted request of the above, it is the primary information to start with.
    Thank you and I shall look forward to the information USFS will be sending promptly.
    Contact my e-mail for a physical address for information to be sent to.

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    • jcall says:

      Response from the Planning Rule Team:
      There will be a public comment period once the proposed rule comes out in late December or early January. During the comment period we welcome comments on the proposed regulations and the draft environmental impact statement. We’ll then use the comments we receive to make any needed revisions to the regulations before they become final.

      Information on how to comment will be posted to our website and blog once the proposed planning rule is published. To receive an email notification when this information is posted, please join our planning rule listserv at

      The Planning Rule Team

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  5. I am pleased that recreation is being recognized as an integral piece in the Planning Rule puzzle. At the NW Roundtable meeting I attended in Portland, OR recreation was originally not on the agenda. At the last minute this oversight was addressed and a table was set up to represent all aspects of forest recreation. The table was by far the most populated in the room. Hikers, Horsemen, Kayakers, Snowmobilers, Motorized-users, Skiers, Hunters, etc. all shared a common need. “Include us!”

    Responsible motorized recreation is taking huge concessions already with the implementation of the Travel Management Rule. Every day, more Americans are discovering the wonder of this country’s public OHV trail systems yet the trend in Travel Management designation is to drastically reduce OHV trail to less than ever before. The Planning Rule must consider the implications of denying the public of what they are entitled to. To be sure, the big picture of forest management is complex and updating the Planning Rule is necessary for sustaining the heritage of our National Forests. I emphasize again that we build into this Rule language that allows for public recreational access.

    Thank You

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  6. Min Choi says:

    I am living in Los Angeles Metro area, and Los Angeles NF is just 30-minute drive away from me. I really do appreciate and thankful for what I have in here. I think what many of us need to know is difference or what seperates, National Park, BLM, and NF. If you ask anyone, including myself, the function of these 3 agencies are not so clear. General public is aware of National Park system due to their “tourist attraction” value. However, I found all NP, BLM, NF has all same quality, I actually do prefer a lot of BlM and NF places due to having solitutue.
    So, when general public goes to NP or even state parks, understanding is that all fees (or almost all fees) will be used for parks’ operation. (and we hear stories about issues NP or state parks facing due to ever reoccuring budget crisis. In fact, there was almost 100% increase for CA state parks’ annual pass than announcement of almost 70% of parks’ closure for CA budget crisis past a few years.: So we hear these stories all the time from news media.)
    Collaboration works when everyone who’s involved in the issue mutually understands or awares what is going. Publics are using NF land for many usages, and if we do not know the basic concept of NF(why it’s here?), publics won’t response for what we have here. (developement of new planning rule.)
    I know for sure there so many group’s and individuals to have nature classes(and specially native plants and herbs) or art classes. Letting people know about how to apply for permits(easily)and offering incentives for people to involve can be highly affective. (having more nature classes is one the natural way for enforcing sustainability. Appreciation of knowing will create purpose to protect and keep what we have.)

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  7. Garie Henry says:

    I think recreation has to be considered along with all of the rest of the multiple uses of Forest Service lands. I do not think any one use should out weight another. However I do not understand why I am not allowed to recreate on established ATV trails with my friends when my grazing allotment permits me to use an ATV to maintain, check, and doctor my livestock and keep fences in repair. My friends tell me of some spectactular sights and views they see that I am not allowed to ride to see. I pay taxes to maintain the forest just the same as the next, but because I have to pay for the privilege of using my livestock to help control the threat of wildfire, I can not recreate with my friends. Sure I usually make enough money off my livestock to pay my grazing fee, but that is about all the pleasure I get from the grazing allotment.

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