For Immediate Release, July 10, 2008
Contact: Cyndi Tuell, Center for Biological Diversity, (520) 444-6603
Santa Fe's Off-road Vehicle Plan Provides First Good Steps
Toward Protecting Wildlife and Natural Resources
SANTA FE, N.M.— The Santa Fe National Forest has released its initial plan to determine the places and habitats to be protected from damaging off-road vehicles.
“The proposed travel plan is a good first step toward protecting wildlife and natural resources from off-road vehicles,” said Cyndi Tuell at the Center for Biological Diversity. “But we think protecting imperiled species will require going beyond what’s been proposed.”
The travel plan will reduce roads in the forest by 47 percent, protecting habitat for the Mexican spotted owl, goshawk, Jemez Mountain salamander, and Rio Grande cutthroat trout. The Santa Fe currently has one of the highest road densities of any forest in New Mexico.
“There are motorcycle trails in the Jemez mountains that were built illegally, with trees cut and streams polluted,” said Tuell. “This is contrary to common sense for the Forest Service to reward those who broke the law by planning to designate those trails for legal use.”
The Center is also concerned that the Forest plans to increase the number of roads allowed in certain areas under the Forest Plan. “We believe the Forest should adhere to the road densities in the Forest Plan, which will best protect species habitat and wild areas. Too many roads fragment habitat and destroy watersheds. In a world of growing urban populations, we need to protect our public lands as refuges for clean water and places were wildlife can live.”
This travel plan will leave open over 2,300 miles of roads to all motorized vehicles and 247 miles of off-road vehicle trails. A series of 13 public meetings will be held July 28 through August 20 to get further input from the public.
To read the plan and find out specifics about meetings, please visit http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/travel-management_planning/updates.html#santafe.