Eldorado National Forest is the first National Forest to complete the Route Designation project, which will eliminate 1,800 miles of trails in that forest. We are leading the battle which will come your way no matter where you live.
I will address specific trails later, but I had to add my two bits in an email to the forest service.
Hello my name is Michael.....
I love the outdoors. I love camping. I love sitting in the forest and listening to the birds sings and the squirrels romp.
Unfortunately I am also not in the best of health and the only way I can see the beauty of our public lands is via motorized vehicles. So yes, I love my Jeep as it is the only method in which I can enjoy what is left of unmolested, paved over parking lot the rest of our world has become.
I have to admit that after reading the new proposed road closures in El Dorado Forest, I have to question the motives and if the road closures will actually benefit the forest or accelerate its demise.
I have seen time and time again where those that are supposed to manage the lands have proposed and ultimately enacted closures to help the lands in general. But the part I find absurd about land use and road closures is that the problem doesnít lie with land use as it does in population. Here is some simple math the percentage may not be right but the principal is still the same.
If .001% of the population uses a motorized vehicle to visit and enjoy the outdoors and public lands and the population is 15 million (California in 1960) then 15,000 outdoor enthusiasts would be using public lands.
Now, today, if .001% of the population uses a motorized vehicle to visit and enjoy the outdoors and public lands and the population is 37 million (California in 2006) then 37,000 people or a 2.5 increase in population and more people are trying to utilize the same square mile of land, assuming there has been no decrease in usable public lands since 1960.
Now add in closures and restrictions and suddenly the public lands, has become no different than an inner city with too many people in too little space. Next there will be comments of over use and abuse. Of course there will be over use that is the logical and guaranteed result of putting more people in less and less area.
We donít need to decrease the lands available for recreation, if anything we need to expand them to match the growth in population. But we know that will not happen. So the alternative is through education and enforcement to educate people on smart and intelligent use of lands. To provide interpretive programs, for the knowledge of the people in the public lands and the betterment of the public lands themselves. To create awareness of fragility and to employ the potentially massive volunteer force to improve the conditions of the public lands.
We will not stop the growth in population. Even if the percentage of users remains the same percentage the amount of people using public lands will continue to grow. The management needed isnít in reducing the available public lands to specific uses but to manage the population that has a desire to use and visit the public lands.