The proposed action would:
• Change 1.8 miles of currently closed yearlong routes or user-created routes to open with seasonal restrictions
• Change 5.1 miles of seasonally restricted routes to having a different seasonal restriction
• Change 6.7 miles of currently closed yearlong or user-created routes to being open yearlong
• Change 9.4 miles of seasonally restricted routes to become open yearlong
• Put 82.1 miles of currently open routes into storage (where routes are self-maintaining in non-use status for up to 20 years by re-contouring access points, and removing culverts)
• Change 2.5 miles of open seasonally or open yearlong routes to closed yearlong
• Close 7.9 miles (estimated) of user-created routes
• Create 41.4 miles of new motorized trails from currently seasonally restricted, open yearlong, user-created, and previously decommissioned routes
• Create 1.5 miles of single-track motorized trail from currently double-track motorized trail
• Construct 1.6 miles of new road
• Place 65.5 miles of currently closed routes into storage
• Obliterate 8.1 miles of closed yearlong, open yearlong, or user-created routes
• Create 5.5 miles of non-motorized trails from currently closed or user-created routes
• Create 1.5 miles of non-motorized trails from currently open or seasonally restricted routes
• Create 13.7 miles of non-motorized trails from currently single or double-track motorized routes
• Create 33 miles of mountain bike trails on National Forest (may also include non-motorized or motorized uses)
Alternative 3:This alternative is being developed in response to the 2010 scoping process in conjunction with continued collaboration with individuals, groups and organizations. It takes into account input regarding water quality and fish habitat, wildlife security and wildlife habitat improvements, and enhanced non-motorized recreation opportunities while still providing for a motorized recreational experience both on and off the trail.
Forest Plan Consistency:Preliminary analysis indicates this proposal may require a programmatic amendment to the HNF Plan for the project area regarding the standard for the hiding cover/open road density index. The proposed programmatic plan amendment would establish a new standard for elk security for those herd units within the project area. As a result, the Forest Plan standard would be amended specifically at this time and place as it relates to the Blackfoot travel planning Area. A separate decision would be signed for this programmatic plan amendment.
Responsible Official:The Responsible Official is Kevin T. Riordan, Helena National Forest Supervisor.
Nature of the Decision to Be Made:The responsible official will decide whether to implement the proposed action, no action, other alternatives, or any combination of the analyzed alternative components considered under analysis. He will consider the comments, disclosures of environmental consequences, and applicable laws, regulations, and policies in making the decision and stating the rationale in the Record of Decision (ROD). Since this proposed travel plan includes the implementation plan, upon completion, the plan would be implemented as per the ROD.
Possible Permit/License Requirements:Any project activity that involves placement of fill in a jurisdictional body of water would require a Clean Water Act section 404 permit (US Army Corps of Engineers issuing agency) and a related Montana Stream Protection Act 124 permit (Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks issuing agency). Any construction of new road/trail could potentially require a National pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permit, depending on the area of disturbance and proximity to a water body (Department of Environmental Quality issuing agency).
Scoping Process:This revised NOI guides the development of the EIS and Programmatic Forest Plan Amendment. Public comments received to date were taken into consideration in developing the above alternatives. These comments do not need to be resubmitted; the HNF requests that only new or additional comments be submitted if desired, specific to this new information. Public meetings will be held when the Draft EIS is released.
Dated: October 1, 2012.
Kevin T. Riordan,