- Photo courtesy of www.oregon.gov
The U.S. Forest Service has made a decision on the proposed 137 miles of off-highway vehicle (OHV) trail system in the Ochoco National Forest, an hour's drive east of Bend.
According to the Record of Decision from Forest Supervisor Stacey Forson, "My decision includes adoption of some appropriately and sustainably located user-created trails, establishment of trails on existing road beds and new trail construction for a total of 107 miles of designated trails, plus 30 miles of connecting high-clearance roads for a total of about 137 route miles within the designated trail system and OHV Management Areas."
The Forest Service began developing the project in 2009, with a Final Environmental Impact Statement and a Draft Record of Decision in 2014. Following a forest fire, these documents were withdrawn. Approval of the Summit Trail System doesn't come as an end to the battle for the Ochocos.
In response to the Forest Service's decision, WildEarth Guardians, Oregon Wild and the Sierra Club have formally filed a complaint.
"This is about balancing uses on the forest consistent with America's bedrock environmental laws," said Marla Fox, Rewilding Attorney at WildEarth Guardians. "As the Trump Administration ramps up its attack on our public lands, defending wild places like the Ochocos is even more important."
The groups seek a declaration that the Forest Service's authorization of the Ochoco Summit Trail System violated federal law.