CRITIQUE OF 2006 LAND MANAGEMENT PLANS FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA NATIONAL FORESTS
Management plans for the four southern California National Forests suffer from the following major flaws:
• The plans encourage increased use of noisy, polluting off-road vehicles that damage streams and rivers, rip up wildlife habitat, increase fire risk, and interfere with the enjoyment of the forests by the 95 percent of visitors who do not use off-road vehicles.
• Many ecologically sensitive areas are not designated as “critical biological zones.”
• Wilderness is scaled back from that proposed in the draft plans. For example, Morrell Canyon in the Cleveland National Forest was dropped from wilderness consideration, paving the way for a highly destructive hydroelectric project.
• The standards – the heart of a forest plan – are vague, weak, ineffectual, riddled with loopholes, and provide no guidance to local managers and no assurance to the public that soil, water, biological, air, and heritage resources will be protected as mandated by law.
• The primary slant of the final plans is to maintain and gradually expand motorized roads and trails and recreational and commercial uses of the forests, and to conduct widespread logging throughout the forest. Avoidance of harm to imperiled plants and animals and their habitats is discarded in favor of attempts to “mitigate” damage caused by land-disturbing activities.
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