Read page 30 and take a look at the schedule on page 43.
They will close all access roads off of 33 from reading that proposal. It will also limit access into the National Forest if the city and county goes forth with the proposed plan.
Most of GWNF is part of the US Forest Service.
However, there is a part of it that we all consider part of the forest that is actually owned by the city. That is part of the Dry River (Dry Run on the maps) section of trails. More specifically the area that we know as Salt Shed (which includes the mud pit known as the Bathtub) is owned by the city. Think it's pretty much once you cross the river that it becomes part of the National Forest.
With Kephart closed down (the good parts), this has become the most popular trail in the area. The mud pit is being abused and the area is being ruined with trash. Some people even think of the area as a "do whatever you want" kind of place, because it is not under control of the USFS. As I understand it, the city does nothing to patrol that area.
The city considers Dry River as part of it's water supply, and obviously would think of the area surrounding it (what they own) as affecting it. That's why it is currently being targeted for closure.
Paul Provencher has been a leading advocate for the Dry River Ranger District working in conjunction with VA4WDA's Land Use rep for awhile now.
His thoughts from a GWNF listserv:
Originally Posted by ppro1
Don't get me wrong -it's a beautiful area and I really enjoy driving out there. But right now the city doesn't have the means to operate it as a park and provide the kind of management that would enable a healthy balance of use and protection. Maybe it's time for us to build a schedule (24 hours x 7 days a week) of volunteers that would be willing to operate gates and patrol the trails to enforce the rules? That's what the city is up against. That would be a solution they'd love to see. I can take the 1pm - 4pm slot on the third Saturday in August 2009. Problem solved! (NOT!)
When you were there where did you go? Up by Switzer Dam? Down by the Reservoir? The rocky river bed for a short stretch is actually the trail to the reservoir that gets flooded by the stream - technically OK to drive. Elsewhere the riverbed is NOT trail and of course as we know, NOT OK to drive. I received stern correction from the city enforcement on that so I have learned. I was happy not to drive in the stream anyway as it generally wasn't worth the little bit of fun balanced against the risk of ingesting water in one way or another.
Farther east down the stream in the woods where the trail loops back on itself is a huge trash field created by groups not associated with hunting or ORGANIZED OHV groups that represents the problem they're trying to address.
Their problem is difficult - how do you gate access and limit access only to responsible users and keep the riff-raff out? We know there are ways but they cost money and require an enforcement presence. All these cities are up against budgetary constraints and so seek the path of least cost/biggest effect.
I agree that simply gating it and running spot checks is not likely to substantially keep out the riff-raff (gates are fairly meaningless) but it will reduce traffic enough that the constituents will feel SOMETHING is being done.
If it is your drinking water, and you had seen all the different areas and forms of abuse, I am not sure you'd support leaving it open under current conditions.
Here is a link to map for those interested with waypoints of the areas, (also from Paul): Skidmore Fork/Dry Run
This is in my backyard man...... I have voiced my opinion to Mrs. ALexander who is the Special Projects coordinator for the city of H'burg and she just sends the same generic email to me as she has sent to everyone else that has sent her one. The meeting they scheduled to have opinion voiced on the new management plan is conviently during the middle of the work day on the 22nd.
XJ 35's locked Gas Tank in the Trunk Shox Hoops in the rear.
'13 RZR 570
Update, From Gregg Jackson VA4WDA Land Use coordinator:
Originally Posted by Gregg Jackson
With things happening at home, and the economy effecting work, I have not been able to make the last to planning meetings with the forest service. So we need everyone to comment on the plan revision.
Go to the forest service link below and fill out the forms, write down every trail that should be kept open, get a map and note the FR number or name, not what you know it as.
Say you want more high clearance technical challenges added to existing road structure. The addition of these challenges would alleviate the illegal activity. It would also help to enforce the present structure to handle increase traffic needs.
How Wilderness ties the hands of F.S. management.
If you can think of specific areas where you would like to see something write it down.
Do some research and comment please. They have maps up for download, the plan and the comments are there. You just have to spend a little time and dig them up.
PLEASE DO THIS NOW, DON’T WAIT.
Also, post it up on every web site you can. The more good comments the better.
Im going to be working with Gregg Jackson here shortly...in fact I will be contacting him personally here shortly. I have a mentorship project about some stuff dealing with the said closing, and ALL JEEP TRAILS IN GWNF.
Their will be an OFFICIAL CLEAN UP sponsored by the Forestry Service for these trails and many others on April 25th. Contact me to get the contact to sign up. Last years cleanup consisted of 4200 lbs of trash, 88 tires, 17 appliances There was 28 volunteers representing 6 different clubs and 2 independent members from VA4WDA.
I was up their at the forestry office today, so this information is official.
This is awful. Their solution to everything is close it to off road vehicles. I think there is nothing you can do they got it in their head off roading is bad, Thanks to a few *******s who make us all look bad, and that is that nothing you can say or do will change there minds. they talk about pull offs along side route 33 being a problem because how close they are to the water, but no where in their schedule do they have a plan to change their location. Because they just don't want jeeps driving back there anymore thats it. The rest they don't care much about once they get people to stop driving jeeps back their they will never do anything eles with to property. I know for a fact that there is a way for everyone to be happy there has to be. If the people in the goverment would open their minds and listen to our Ideas we could all come up with a solution to the problem that worked for everyone. The people that dump trash are going to continue to dump trash whither or not the property is closed to off roading, because they are *******s and will continue to be *******s those *****.
Sorry this got a little off at the end there but those people piss me off. They are always getting me kicked out of my favorte places to off road mountain bike, hike, camp, hunt, you get the Idea.
I know this has been a building issue over the last few years. I'm 3 years back from Colorado which I believe VA could take some lessons from but this is another issue all together. Rapidan Reserve shut down two years ago in Madison, VA which ticked me to no end, Shoe creek area is spreading rumors of closing also and that's no wonder with the amount of ignorant "campers" that leave trash and waste all over the place. GWNF is 40 min from my house and even though I've only stopped by since moving back I'm appalled at the amount of trash that litters the creek-side.
I'm game for help of any sort of help. My schedule through the summer months is mostly free and my rig is decent enough to pull a small trailer for trash with the hands-on side. Legal; I'm sure I can draft a few letters and get some petitions done from the East side of the Blue Ridge. I could also brush-up on the trail maps for some guiding.
98 TJ ,4.0, 44 rear LS, OME (LJ HD Rear WJ HD Front) 2.5", OME Shocks, homebrew Highline, JKS MML, 33" MTR's, more Homebrew bumpers and such and a 9 vehicle history of wheeling (only a few rolled)!