More recently the primary focus of the Forest Service (FS) has been landscape restoration, but this time they are deviating from vegetation and riparian restoration. The FS presented a draft plan for the Summit Creek Landscape Restoration to the Blue Mountain Forest Partners (BMFP) environmental group for fine-tuning before publishing an environmental assessment to the public for another attempted public land take over. This restoration proposal is an attempt to draw public attention away from their intent to turn large areas of our forest roads and byways into non-motorized and some non-equestrian trails for cyclists.
Missing from this plan are provisions for trash receptacles/disposal and toilet facilities along what appears to be 132 miles of proposed bicycle routes. What part does this plan play in “restoration” when you will likely see piles of cyclists’ granola-laden waste, toilet paper, and trash decorating the landscape? Encouraging concentrated masses of cyclists to invade our forest lends little credence to the generic over-used FS excuse for access closures to restrict wildlife harassment and enhance watershed protection. Support for this “restoration” project is reportedly coming from questionable bicycle-oriented outside funding sources and environmental groups that obviously have no concept what “restoration” actually means for Grant County’s unique historical characteristics.
We need to be reminded that a previous plan to promote bicycle paths using historical railroad grades in Summit and Logan valleys met with defeat and strong opposition because of cyclists’ arrogant disrespect for motorists and private property. Other than groceries and campground rent, it is questionable whether cyclists contribute significantly to the general local economy.
I suggest Grant County residents and private property owners in the project area prepare to address this issue in the near future and watch the Blue Mountain Eagle for the scoping notice the Forest Service promised.