Supervisors seek meeting with Forest officials
May 28, 2013 — A frustrated Bob Pyle, Lassen County’s District 1 Supervisor wants a face to face meeting with Lassen National Forest Service officials to discuss the service’s Travel Management Plans.
For the past several years the board has expressed its dissatisfaction with the plan that removes some roads from public use — and it created the coordination counsel to gather interested parties together to help resolve the issue.
Pyle brought the matter up during the unagendized reports portion of the Lassen County Board of Supervisors’ meeting Tuesday, May 21.
Pyle said he attended the Lassen County Coordination Counsel meeting May 22 and the members were concerned the time for the public’s comments will expire before the committee’s concerns regarding the plan are addressed.
Pyle said the Forest Service program will not allow any changes regarding off-highway vehicle use after Sept. 30, 2015. Forest manager Jerry Bird is leaving soon and Pyle expects it will take several months to find a replacement and by the time the changes get sorted out, the public’s opportunity to have input into the plan will have passed.
“After that, if we haven’t got our plan together how we want it, it’s done in concrete,” Pyle said.
Pyle asked the board to revisit two letters it has written to Kathleen Morse, forest service supervisor, and approve them as resolutions so they will carry more weight and be considered county policy.
Former District 3 Supervisor Lloyd Keefer signed one letter when he served as board chair in 2009, and Pyle signed the other when he served as chair in 2010.
“The coordination counsel needs county policy to back them up,” Pyle said. “All we have on travel policy are these two letters. That will give us a little more teeth … The coordination counsel needs to attack it eye-to-eye with these people, or the board of supervisors needs to do it or we need to do it all together.”
Pyle asked the two letters be placed on the board’s agenda as soon as possible.
“I’m tired of the playing games attitude of the Forest Service on this issue,” Pyle said. “We’re getting nowhere. This is the bridge to nowhere, so I want Jerry Bird here at this meeting here with the coordination council, the board of supervisors, and him and his staff — whoever he wants to bring — to figure out where we’re headed with this thing, what we’re doing and where we have to go. All of a sudden it’s going to be too late.”
District 2 Supervisor Jim Chapman suggested the board also invite the Lassen County Economic Development Committee because they’re interested in the discussion.
Pyle said Larry Millar, the county’s public works director and representatives from four other counties have met with the Forest Service, but it doesn’t appear any progress has been made.
“Basically this is just playing games, and I’m tired of it,” Pyle said. “I think it’s time the board of supervisors puts its foot down and says, ‘We want answers. We want action.’”
Chapman said as these travel management plans for 13 national forests began to circulate, they created a stir all across the north state. He said when the chief of the forest service toured the north state he met with him and local forest service personnel along with District 3 Supervisor Larry Wosick, and he encouraged the local staff to work with the community to resolve the access issue.
Chapman pointed out Tom McClintock, the county’s former representative in Congress, also championed the right of public access.
Chapman suggested the discussion might have to include forest service officials at the regional level.
Pyle said another concern was the possible listing of the black-backed woodpecker as an endangered species.
Wosick said he planned to meet with Randy Moore, the regional forester, and a congressman Wednesday, May 29 in Sacramento. He said representatives from other counties are expected to attend. He said similar meetings have been productive.
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