B-T Nat’l Forest taking comments on very important travel plan update near Jackson Hole

It’s called the “North Zone travel plan revision,” hardly exciting enough to make your heart pound. But the Forest Service has a very major revision of its travel plans for the area on the east side of Jackson Hole (and other prime wildlife areas) underway, and your comments are due on October 23.

The mighty Teton Range does not have dense wildlife populations, with all that rock and ice, but the more subdued mountains on the other side of the great valley of Jackson Hole do — moose, thousands of elk, deer, pronghorn, bighorn, wolves and both kinds of bears. Especially critical is the Gros Ventre/Shadow Mountain area and Togwotee/Blackrock area. Shadow Mtn/Gros Ventre proposed travel plan map. Blackrock/Togwotee proposed travel map.

On the surface it looks like a good idea because now these areas are open to all kinds of cross country vehicle travel, and the proposal will limit them to existing motorized roads and trails.

It is the reality of the situation on the ground that counts, however, not a nice-looking map.

I like to drive my truck around in the area, but each year I see more and more user-created trails, some of them even illegally constructed. The Forest Service would grandfather all of this, including some roads that have been closed for years due to unstable ground and past resource damage.

Here is an example

Here is what the Forest Service needs to hear from you.
1. No designation for motorized use of illegally constructed OHV roads or trails.
2. No reopening of roads that have been gated for years due to resource damage unless the damage can’t happen again.
3. Most important, no access to open ridgetops where OHVs can travel cross country with no fear of being stopped by a ranger. Remember that law enforcement for the Forest Service is grossly underfunded, a joke really.
4. If you know any of these areas near Jackson Hole, comment on them directly.

Send your comments to dwilkinson@fs.fed.us by Oct. 23.

When sending you emails to the Bridger-Teton National Forest, please state your name, address and map area or areas of concern.

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Added. Here is a photo of the off-road vehicle route, Bob Caesar, is talking about in his comment.

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This is looking eastward across Ditch Creek from a slope on Shadow Mountain.

Roadless rule good for Wyoming

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Way above timberline, looking across Meadow Creek Basin in the Francs
Peak roadless area. Shoshone National Forest. Photo copyright Ralph Maughan

Wyoming has many fine roadless areas that are not protected as designated Wilderness — 3-million acres in total.

Liz Howell of the Wyoming Wilderness Association writes in their defense and against Governor Freudenthals’ short-sighted views. Many of them are threatened by oil or gas development.
Guest opinion in Casper Star Tribune

Roadless facts for Wyoming. From the Wilderness Society