The goals of this project are to reduce resource damage and unsafe activities occuring along roadways and trailheads in the North Elkhorns Mountains. Monitoring completed by Helena National Forest personnel has identified several non-system routes, which are in violation of the Department of Agriculture’s regulations regarding travel management and motor vehicle use on National Forest System lands (36 CFR 295). Additionally, monitoring has identified several dispersed campsites, parking areas, trash dumping areas, and target shooting areas that are causing damage to meadows, streams, riparian areas, and wetlands.
Due to the open nature of the Elkhorns landscape, areas closed to motorized uses have experience unauthroized public use, with accompanying resource damage. These routes will likely continue to see unauthorized use and resource damage unless they are more effectively managed (e.g. by road decommissioning or installation of barriers). Without proposed closures, the purpose and need of the Elkhorn Mountains Travel Management Plan Environmental Assessment (EA) cannot be met. Specifically, the need to enhance wildlife habitat primarily for big game, and the need to reduce soil erosion, native vegetation loss, and sediment delivery to streams are not being fully met under existing conditions.
More detailed information regarding the proposal is available on the Helena National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/helena/landmanagement/projects.
Members of the public can submit comments to the Helena District Ranger at 2880 Skyway Drive, Helena, MT 59602. Electronic comments should be submitted to the Helena Ranger District at firstname.lastname@example.org. All comments must be submitted or postmarked by January 22, 2013. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Heather DeGeest at 406-495-3924.