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View Full Version : McGrew trail endanger of being closed!



Rupe
01-07-2009, 07:52 PM
I got this of a 4x4 site. So for you that do alot of wheeling as well as Ghost towning pass this on to others. As a disabled person if they close this trail, I will never get to see it without being in a motorized vehicle. This isn't fair the the eco groups have so many forests and deserts set aside for them, yet they don't set aside trails for disable Americans that can't hike into these beautiful areas. We need these trails, they are part of our enjoyment of life. Are we second class citizens so we don't get the right to drive these trails? Well any way here it is.

I'm sending this out to all the off-road clubs and organizations I can think of. Just in case you haven't heard, one of the premiere off-road trails in Oregon is being targeted by the enviro-nazis. I'm trying to make sure that we don't let them blind-side us and get this trail shut down without input from our side. To learn about the McGrew trail, check these sites: http://www (http://www/)..highway199.org/siskiyou-mountains-oregon/mcgrew-trail-siskiyou-mountains/mcgrew-trail-siskiyou-mountains-oregon.htm http://www.oohva.org/ohv%20area%20pages/mcgrewtrail.html (http://www.oohva.org/ohv%20area%20pages/mcgrewtrail.html) If you want to barf, read the tripe from this site: http://northcoastcnps.org/mcgrew.txt (http://northcoastcnps.org/mcgrew.txt) Here it is: McGrew Trail Petition Summary

The Siskiyou Project and others are petitioning the
Forest Supervisors of the Siskiyou and Six Rivers
National Forest to close the McGrew Trail (FS Roads
4402-019 and 4402-450) to motorized vehicle traffic.
The McGrew Trail traverses the inventoried South
Kalmiopsis Roadless Area, which is proposed for
Wilderness designation by over 100 organizations
throughout Oregon. This closure action is needed
immediately because motorized vehicle use on this route
and off-route is causing unacceptable and significant
damage to (1) National Forest lands and resources, (2)
habitat of Arabis macdonaldiana, an endangered plant
listed under the Endangered Species Act ("ESA"), and
other rare and endemic plant species (3) important
recreation and scenic values, and (4) has a high risk of
introducing the non-native pathogen, Phytophthora
lateralis, also known as Port Orford cedar root rot
disease.

Currently, most motorized vehicle use on or in the
vicinity of the McGrew Trail is unregulated. The McGrew
Trail is increasingly being used, both on and off route,
by four-wheel drive, off-highway and off-road vehicles
("ORVs" or generally "vehicles"). Both regulated and
unregulated use is causing unacceptable and significant
damage or may cause irreversible impacts through the
introduction of P. lateralis into an area or watershed
containing Port Orford cedar. Introduction of the
pathogen has many ecological consequences such as
adverse impacts to stream, riparian, and rare plant
habitat and to biological diversity. Many vehicles are
being driven off the designated route and onto sensitive
ultramafic rock outcrops, serpentine barrens, fragile
serpentine soils, and sensitive forest and rare plant
habitat. Accordingly, we hereby petition you to
immediately close the McGrew Trail to motorized vehicle
use.

Motorized use of the McGrew Trail is increasing
significantly. The Forest Service ("USFS"), in
partnership with 4-wheel drive organizations, has
increasingly promoted the motorized use of the McGrew
Trail. However, until this year no plant surveys had
been conducted on the Trail. The USFS has also failed to
heed concerns expressed by their own scientists about
the risk of high risk of introducing P. lateralis. The
USFS has not done an adequate job protecting the Forest
against inappropriate motorized vehicle use. As a
result, motorized vehicle use has caused and continues
to cause unacceptable and significant damage to National
Forest lands and resources. Motorized vehicle use is
also destroying the natural resource values along and
adjacent to the McGrew Trail. The attached photographs
document some of the damage that has occurred.

Increasing Off-Highway/Off-Road/4x4 Vehicle Use

Increasing use of off-highway, off-road and 4x4 vehicle
use off roads and in sensitive areas represents one of
the fastest growing threats to the natural integrity of
our National Forest lands. The increased popularity of
ORVs/OHV and 4-wheel drive vehicles has coincided with
technological advances that have enabled these machines
to travel cross-country and on rugged trails at an
alarming rate. While the use grows and the range of
vehicles increases, the Forest Service has largely
ignored resulting resource damage and user conflicts.

The McGrew Trail is no exception. The trail is listed
and/or described on more than 20 ORV websites. (Some
excerpts from a few of the websites are attached to this
petition as Appendix B.) Many of these sites show photos
of vehicles climbing rock outcrops and huge boulders
along and adjacent to the road. The narrative on these
websites provides documentation of user-created routes
and the widening of routes to get around certain
"hazards". In addition to documentation from the
Internet, hikers on the trail report encountering as
many as twelve vehicles in a group. Hikers have also
noted areas where vehicles have left the main track.
USFS records document that groups of 100 or more
vehicles use the McGrew Trail annually.

The Oregon Creek Trail is an example of high volume use
that has occurred for many years. Currently, at least
100 high-clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicles travel the
route in an annual event, testing their driving skills
as they crawl over huge boulders and other "obstacles".
However, it was not until 2002 that the Forest Service
undertook surveys for sensitive and endangered plants
along the route or documented impacts to these plants
from motorized use. This organized event is but one
example of the ongoing and increasing use of the McGrew
Trail by motorized vehicles. Although some mitigation
measures were put into place for the Oregon Creek Trail
in 2002 (like driver education and staking around
sensitive plants), there is no mitigation for the
hundreds of other motorized vehicles that travel on and
off the route each year. Additional organized events
are planned in 2002, including a Labor Day event for 50
vehicles, and the number of vehicles traveling the route
is likely to increase in the future.

Habitat for the endangered Arabis mcdonaldiana and
Sensitive and Endemic Plants

The McGrew Trail traverses rocky peridotite/serpentine
soils, much of it habitat for rare and endemic plant
species that are unique to the Siskiyou/Klamath range.
Such serpentine environments are globally rare. Their
distinctiveness and the high concentration of rare flora
warrant special management considerations.

A recent botanical survey of the trail by a Siskiyou
National Forest botanist conclusively determined that
several sensitive and/or endemic plant species occur
within the McGrew Trail road prism or within site
distance from the roadside. These plants include:
Bolander's Onion (Allium bolanderi), Waldo Rock Cress
(Arabis aculeolata), Oregon Bleeding Heart ( Dicentra
formosa ssp. oregana), Opposite-leaved Lewisia (Lewisia
oppositiolia), Howell's Microseris (Microseris
howellii), Howell's Streptanthus (Streptanthus
howellii), and Siskiyou Mountain Pennycress ( Thlaspi
montanum var. siskiyouense). Of these, Opposite-leaved
Lewisia, Howell's Microseris, Howell's Streptanthus, and
Siskiyou Mountain Pennycress were found along areas of
the trail that have been impacted by motorized vehicle
use or in the roadbed itself.

McDonald's Rock Cress (Arabis macdonaldiana) was listed
as endangered under the ESA on September 28, 1978 for
its entire range. This plant prefers serpentine soils
and rocky habitat, but it is also found in dry, open
forests. During the 2002 botanical survey,
approximately 40 plants were found in crevices on a
serpentine rock outcrop and along the road edge.

Rare, sensitive and endangered plants have been or will
likely be adversely impacted as motorized vehicle use
continues and increases on the McGrew Trail and as
technological advances allow more motorized vehicles to
travel off the trail. The 2002 Botanical Biological
Evaluation notes that without consistent management, we
may lose sensitive species like Streptanthus howellii,
as well as members of Arabis macdonaldiana, however, the
Forest Service has yet to prevent off road vehicle
damage even in designated Botanical Areas with road
access. In fact, damage to rare plant habitat in
Botanical Areas such as Eight Dollar Mountain and Days
Gulch by vehicles off roads is increasing.

Risks to Port Orford Cedar

Port-Orford-Cedar, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (POC), is an
important component of forest ecosystems in Southwest
Oregon, Northwest California, with inland populations in
the Sacramento and Trinity River basins of California.
POC is a coniferous tree species that is endemic to
these areas. It is found along the McGrew Trail and the
watersheds below the trail including the National Wild
and Scenic North Fork Smith River and its tributaries,
Baldface and Diamond Creeks, and Rough & Ready Creek, a
candidate Wild and Scenic River, along with Baldface
Creek.
Continued next post.

Rupe
01-07-2009, 07:54 PM
POC is extremely susceptible to a fatal, non-native
pathogenic root rot fungus, Phytophthora lateralis, a
disease that has spread through much of the northern and
western extent of the POC range. P. lateralis is a water
mold that infects POC by dispersing through water and
contacting root hairs. P. lateralis quickly kills POC
trees of all sizes. Seedlings often die within a few
weeks of infection, while saplings die within a few
months, and larger trees in one or more years. No known
genetic resistance or chemical control has been
identified once a tree has become infected with this
disease.

A recent study, conducted in 1998-1999, in the Page
Mountain area of the Siskiyou National Forest, found
infection along 46% of the 63 km of creeks with POC.
72% of the infections began directly at locations where
roads cross creeks. Even Non-Road infections (those in
creeks without road crossings) were in creeks that had a
road uphill, above the creek. Only creeks above the
entire road system remained uninfected.

The consequence of the introduction of P. lateralis is
ecological disruption in sensitive habitats, including
riparian areas, wetlands and other rare plant habitat,
and loss of biological diversity. On ultramafic soils,
POC may be the only riparian tree species. Its loss may
have an immediate and drastic effect on stream ecology.
Once introduced, there is no practical means to
eradicate P. lateralis, and there are fewer and few
large, disease-free watersheds. The Baldface Creek and
Rough & Ready Creek Watersheds are two such large
watersheds, which are almost entirely free of roads
except for old mining tracks or travel routes such as
the McGrew, Biscuit Hill and Chetco Divide Trails and
road 4402-112.

The McGrew Trail provides access to uninfected POC
stands through infected areas. The North Fork Smith
Watershed ****ysis lists the McGrew Trail (section
4402-450) as one of four roads in the area that present
a potentially high risk of disease spread for the North
Fork Smith Watershed. The Watershed ****ysis also notes
that POC is abundant in the Baldface Creek Watershed and
that the risk of root disease introduction is increased
by the high percentage of four-wheel drive vehicles and
motorcycles using the area. In addition, the West Fork
Illinois River Watershed ****ysis places particular
importance on preventing the introduction of P.
lateralis into the Rough & Ready Creek Watershed noting
that most low elevation drainages are already infected.
The McGrew Trail also drains into uninfected tributaries
of Diamond Creek and Whiskey Creek.

Most experts agree that permanent road/motorized trail
closures are the best way to prevent the introduction of
Port Orford cedar root disease. A 1993 inter-agency
report prepared by experts from the BLM, the Forest
Service, and other federal natural resource agencies,
found that restricting further road construction and
closing roads in watersheds that contain uninfected
stands is critical for the conservation of POC as a
species. Therefore, the McGrew Trail should be closed
to motorized vehicle use in order to protect POC along
the route and throughout the watersheds that are
traversed by the trail.

Photo Documentation

Attached as an appendix to the petition are 25 photos
and a narrative is included in the body of the petition.
These photos show impacts to rare and sensitive plants,
user-created spurs along the trail, off-route
"playgrounds," and other types of damage on the McGrew
trail in California and Oregon.

Legal Authority for a Closure

The Forest Service has the legal authority and the
responsibility to issue an immediate closure of the
McGrew Trail. This authority, as well as the
responsibility, is provided by the National Forest
Management Act, Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning
Act, the Siskiyou and Six Rivers Land and Resource
Management Plans, two Executive Orders, 36 CFR 295,
Forest Service Manual 2355, the Endangered Species Act,
the Organic Act, the National Environmental Policy Act,
and a number of court decisions. Therefore, the Forest
Service should fulfill its responsibility and use its
authority to protect National Forest lands and public
resources from damage caused by motorized vehicles by
closing the McGrew Trail to such use.


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