Sunday, September 16, 2012

USFS Management plan for Cumberland District in KY

The USFS has been working on a long range management plan for the trail system in the northern half of the Cumberland District of the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky for going on five years.

On August 31 they revealed their alternatives and began a 30 day comment period.  This may be our last chance to influence the final outcome.  This is the USFS and comments may be submitted. by ANY US Citizen.

Currently, this area has over 110 miles of trails and gravel roads open to horse use and at least 80% of trail users in the area are equestrians. The AERC National Championship has been held on these trails twice in the last ten years.
Details may be viewed on the FS web site:

Once you get the FS web page: look on the left side and find "Land & Resource Management".  Go down and Click on "Projects".  A list will appear.  Go down to the sub-heading "Under Analysis".  Click on "Cave Run Non-motorized Trails Initiative".  There is a ton of stuff here but what you need is under "Analysis".  There you should find 7 maps and some narratives about the project. 

The FS "Alternatives" range from No Change (very unlikely) to reducing equine use to 19 miles (2 of the 5 alternatives) in the winter (months not specified but possibly six months of the year) and reducing equine trails by one third or more during the dryer months.  The trails taken from equine users would be given to the approximately 15% of users who ride mountain bikes.  Although the claim is made that the seasonal closures are to protect trails from excessive wear in wet weather, no science was applied to choosing which trails to close and no flexibility is provided.
Any reduction in trails available for equine use will result in greater impacts on the remaining trails, as well as a dramatically different experience.

Issues ignored or summarily dismissed by the USFS in the process (though brought up by equestrians) include; the Congressional mandate to the FS to foster local economic development, the fact that the vast majority of trail users are equestrians, the historical and cultural significance of local equine use, the fact that equine use is the ONLY predominately female activity in the forest while mountain bikers are the same 20 to 40 year old male group that makes up the majority of user groups in all other forest activities, equestrians also are older than any other user group, horse riding is the best means of access to back country for people with physical limitations, a reduction in bicycle use in the area since the only mountain bike shop in the area closed last year and Equestrians have a long history of cooperation and working with the USFS to improve trails while Mountain Bikers have openly flaunted regulations and even assaulted other users in an attempt to intimidate them into abandoning the trails.
There is room for compromise and we are not insisting on no changes, but the final plan must be reasonable!
Please send Comments calling for NO reduction in the total miles of equine trails.  These Comments will play a role in the selection of the preferred alternative.  Comments MUST be received by Friday September 28.
Written comments, or comments provided in person, must be submitted to Frank Beum, Forest Supervisor, 1700 Bypass Road, Winchester, KY 40391. Comments can be sent by facsimile to 859-737-3867. Electronic comments should be in a common digital format and sent to The office business hours for those submitting hand-delivered comments are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Oral comments via telephone must be provided during normal business hours to Becky Riegle, Project Leader at 989-724-9381.

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