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NMAC passes resolutions on USFS travel management plans

The New Mexico Association of Counties Board of Directors passed a resolution "opposing any U.S. Forest Service travel management plan, proposed plan that does not adequately reflect the required collaboration with New Mexico county governments."

The NMAC Commissioners Affiliate passed a similar resolution stating: "The County Commissioners Affiliate compels the U.S. Forest Service to terminate the current proposed travel management plans in New Mexico because the full impacts of the closing national forest roads are not known...." The resolution also states the CCA "compels the U.S. Forest Service to comply with federal lwas and regulations to coordinate with the affected county commissions to strive to the maximum extent possible for consistency and overall public health, safety and welfare, as well as for overall forest health...."


The full resolutions are posted below.

 

NEW MEXICO ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES
BOARD OF DIRECTORS

RESOLUTION 2013-XX

U.S. Forest Service Proposed Travel Management Plans
on the National Forests in the State of New Mexico

WHEREAS, the New Mexico Association of Counties Board of Directors is elected to represent the needs of New Mexico’s 33 counties; and,

WHEREAS, NMSA 1978 §4-37-1 grants to counties those powers necessary and proper to provide for the safety, preserve the health, promote the prosperity and improve the morals, order, comfort and convenience of any county or its inhabitants.; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Forest Service has proposed changes to travel management plans throughout the State of New Mexico that will have significant impacts on public access for New Mexico citizens and communities; and

WHEREAS, public access to routes of travel is essential to New Mexico’s transportation systems; for emergency purposes; for protection of the rights and values of private property owners; for natural resource management; for economic and social well-being, for recreation, and the customs and cultures of the communities and citizens of New Mexico; and

WHEREAS, the travel management rule (36 CFR 212.53) and its implementing directives (FSM 7702, para. 5, and 7715.3) require the responsible U.S. Forest Service official to coordinate with appropriate Federal, State, county, and other local governmental entities, which may include local law enforcement agencies and emergency service providers, as well as tribal governments in designating routes and areas for motor vehicle use; and

WHEREAS, this directive also states that the U.S. Forest Service believes that a well-planned, well-designed system of designated roads, trails, and areas, developed in coordination with Federal, State, local, and tribal governments and with public involvement, offers better opportunities for sustainable long-term recreational motor vehicle use and better economic opportunities for local residents and communities; and

WHEREAS, this cooperative evaluation is necessary to assess New Mexico’s U.S. Forest Service transportation systems that are co-mingled with New Mexico county transportation systems, policies, and road responsibilities; and

WHEREAS, New Mexico county government input on public health, safety and welfare; route designations for motor vehicle use; economic and environmental impacts must be appropriately reflected in New Mexico travel management planning Environmental Impact Statements.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the New Mexico Association of Counties shall oppose any U.S. Forest Service travel management plan, proposed plan that does not adequately reflect the required collaboration with New Mexico county governments.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the New Mexico Association of Counties urges the U.S. Forest Service to accurately evaluate the impacts of road closures on the health, safety and wellbeing of New Mexico citizens and local government economies in environmental impact statements.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the New Mexico Association of Counties request that the U.S. Forest Service coordinate with county elected officials on local planning efforts to the maximum extent possible for consistency and overall public health, safety and welfare, as well as for overall forest health as it relates to transportation planning and U.S. Forest Service proposed travel management plans.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, the New Mexico Association of Counties Board of Directors request that this resolution be communicated to the New Mexico Congressional delegation, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, and the Governor of the State of New Mexico.

------

New Mexico Association of Counties
County Commissioners Affiliate


A RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE PROPOSED TRAVEL MANAGEMENT PLANS ON THE NATIONAL FORESTS IN THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO


WHEREAS, public access to routes of travel is essential to New Mexican’s transportation and public access systems; for emergency purposes; for protection of the rights and values of private property owners; for natural resource management; and, for the economic and social well-being, and the customs and cultures of the communities and citizens of New Mexico; and,

WHEREAS, the County Commissioners of New Mexico realize that the use of our national forests has been a part of both rural and urban county resident lives for many generations, predating the national forests in New Mexico; and,

WHEREAS, Rule 36 Code of Federal Regulations 212.51 mandates a travel management plan to limit cross country travel, not the closing of any roads; and,

WHEREAS, the proposed Travel Management Plan (TMP) Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) prepared by the US Forest Service (USFS) for public comments are incorrect and incomplete because it does not contain all the roads in the forest; and,

WHEREAS, the USFS TMP EISs does not adequately address the historical, cultural recreational needs of the people of New Mew Mexico; and,

WHEREAS, the USFS TMP EISs does not adequately address the possible negative economic impacts on the people and communities of New Mew Mexico; and,

WHEREAS, the USFS TMP EISs arbitrarily restricts family oriented recreational camping to 300 feet access of roadways; and, discriminates against handicap recreationists  restricting access; and,

WHEREAS, the County Commissioners of New Mexico have repeatedly expressed concerns to the USFS about the significant negative effects of the USFS TMPs on New Mexican health, safety and welfare; and, upon the County Commission policies on health, safety and welfare, especially regarding public safety, emergency services; and,  

WHEREAS, USFS repeatedly failed to coordinate with County Commissioners, pursuant to federal laws and regulations; to evaluate their proposed TMP effects on county health, safety and welfare policies; and, to cooperatively assess the USFS transportation systems that are co-mingled with county transportation systems, policies and road and highway responsibilities.

 

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