To: Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell

STOP Timber Mountain OHV Area

STOP Timber Mountain OHV Area

Petition Text

We, the undersigned, in support of the residents of Southern Oregon who oppose the Timber Mountain Off-Highway Vehicle Area as an inappropriate area for OHV activities, inadequately designated, inadequately analyzed, improperly implemented and promoted, do hereby request the Secretary of the Interior to take the following actions:
Immediately order a Department of Interior Inspector General investigation of the Medford District BLM’s activities with regard to the Timber Mountain OHV Area since 1995;
Immediately stop all work on OHV activities in the area, including any Categorical Exclusions;
Rescind the “designation” of the Timber Mountain OHV Area in the Medford District BLM’s 1995 Resource Management Plan and remove all references to the area in BLM recreational information;
Review the entire record of Medford District BLM’s activities regarding this area, to include public notification and participation, descriptions of the area, and responses to landowner issues including trespass, trash, illegal activities, noise and erosion.
Require Medford District BLM to provide maps showing “existing roads and trails” in 1995.
Forbid Medford District BLM from further implementation of the OHV Area through the use of Categorical Exclusions.
Direct Medford District BLM to request the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to remove references to the Timber Mountain OHV Area from all State Parks literature.

Why is this important?

The 1995 Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the Medford District BLM included a listing of three areas “to be managed for OHV use.” (Off-Highway Vechicles) Thirty-eight characters describe the Timber Mountain/John’s Peak OHV Area (original name; it keeps changing). “Timber Mountain/John’s Peak, 16,250 acres.” Though a table describes these areas as “Limited to existing roads and trails,” the RMP contains no written descriptions of the areas, no maps showing area boundaries, and no maps showing existing trails.
Since 1995 the BLM has actively promoted the area, including getting Oregon Parks and Recreation to include it in their recreation materials. Area residents, dealing with trespass, noise, erosion, trash and illegal activity, found BLM totally unresponsive to complaints. BLM maintains the area was designated in 1995 and that BLM lands are “Open unless marked Closed.”
An uncontrolled surge of OHV enthusiasts increasingly carved out trails wherever they could, often trespassing on private land. In 2005 BLM began an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. It wasn’t until 2006 that area residents saw any maps of the area. (In Oregon most BLM lands are every other section of land, making it a checkerboard pattern interspersed with private lands.)
More than 1200 area landowners, registered voters all, submitted a petition to BLM requesting the area be removed for OHV use as an “inappropriate area.” BLM released a DRAFT EIS in 2009. It was heavily criticized and no official action has been taken since to manage the situation.
Recently, however, BLM issued a Categorical Exclusion (CE), an action that allows them to do work without requiring environmental analysis. The CE provides for the “rehabilitation/restoration” of 92 miles of trail over a period of five years. Some of the trails on the accompanying map don’t even exist.
The government has been like an unwelcome cousin that stands at the fence and yells, then invites all his buddies down to your house where they make noise, scorch the countertop, scar the coffee table, and leave behind a bad smell. Enough. This has been going on for twenty years. Please join me in asking Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to correct this situation. Thank you.