An environmental analysis is under way to determine whether portions of 42 routes in the Eldorado National Forest that were closed by a court order will be reopened to public wheeled motor vehicle use.
The forest supervisor's decision is expected by July, according to a Forest Service news release.
Forest Supervisor Kathy Hardy said she began the analysis by proposing to keep all of the 42 routes open, except for parts of two routes.
"I know how important these routes are to many people, and I've given a lot of thought to my initial proposal," Hardy said in a written statement. "All of the 42 routes were designated in 2008 after an environmental impact statement was completed. We are supplementing the original EIS with a review of those portions of routes that cross meadows as directed in our Forest Plan."
Upon completion of the analysis, the forest supervisor has the authority to amend the Forest Plan to allow exceptions to the standards and guidelines if she determines it is necessary, according to the news release.
The U.S. Eastern District Court of California ruled in 2012 that the Forest Service erred when it failed to analyze 42 routes that appeared to cross meadows for their consistency with direction in the Eldorado National Forest Plan.
Hardy said her staff has already started reviewing segments of the 42 routes for consistency with the plan's standards and guidelines for meadows. This information, along with facts gained through a review of public comment in the 2008 travel management environmental impact statement, helped frame the proposed action, Hardy said.
The public has until Nov. 7 to comment on this proposal.
People will have an opportunity to meet with Hardy and other Forest Service employees during three open houses. They are scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 22 at Turtle Rock Community Center in Markleeville; from 3 to 8 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Placerville Inn in Placerville; and from 3 to 8 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Civic Center in Jackson.
The proposed action, maps and other environmental information are available on the Eldorado National Forest's website at www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado.
Copies of the documents also can be obtained by contacting the Eldorado National Forest supervisor at 100 Forni Road, Placerville.