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ATVs need a place on forest service roads

July 28, 2012
The Inter-Mountain


I am dedicated to working with the management of the Monongahela National Forest for opening existing forest service roads to ATV access. To my knowledge, all of the other national forests have done so, even establishing dedicated trails for ATVs.

I have recently purchased an older Jeep Wrangler with big knobby tires so that I can legally access open forest service roads. In all practicality, it is an all-terrain vehicle.

The last time I was on a forest service road, seven trail bikes passed me. They were totally legal because they had a highway license.

It makes no common sense to ban an ATV from the same road.

In the last meeting with Clyde Thompson, the Mon Forest supervisor, he stated that they cannot do anything until another Monongahela Forest Land and resource Management Plan is drafted with public input. This statement is not correct.

In the cover letter that comes the Forest Plan, it states that they will "continue to update the plan as needed through corrections, amendments, or even revisions."

After reading the management plan, I have found nothing that prohibits off-highway vehicles from using existing forest service roads. This ruling is apparently something adopted by Clyde Thompson without public input.

I have contacted the offices of Sen. Joe Manchin and talked with Keith Macintosh, an aide to the senator. I have not gotten a response as to whether Sen. Manchin is willing to persuade Monongahela National Forest management to be reasonable in their decision making.

Please call Macintosh, 304-264-4626, and ask him to brief Sen. Manchin on this topic.

Doug Cooper

Valley Head



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