The Problem: The Mark Twain National Forest recently released a plan to increase the miles of ATV trails in the Salem Ranger District. This plan is presented as an effort to connect existing trails for safety reasons but it is really a plan to add 14.5 miles of ATV trails to the existing trail system of 25 miles.
The agency says that additional trail miles are needed to keep riders off road FH 56-1. Although the proposal claims that the new trail miles will connect existing segments so that ATV drivers will avoid using road FH 56-1 to get from one segment to the next, a look on the map at the proposed route of the new trail shows that these new miles are mainly additional ATV trails.
The trail system is located in the headwaters of the West Fork of the Black River at Sutton Bluff.
What you can do: Let the Mark Twain National Forest management know that Missourians want to preserve our natural treasures. We do not need more ATV trails. Please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Specify Sutton Bluff ATV Trails on your subject line.
Or you can write a letter and send it to:
Attention: James Turner
Comments, Salem Ranger District
1301 S. Main St
P.O. Box 460
Salem, Missouri 65560.
You can also call the office at 573-329-6656. Ask for James Turner.
Comments are due (sent by email, postmarked or called) by September 9, 2010.
Points to Include in the Message: Let Mr. Turner know that on the issue of new ATV trails at Sutton Bluff you support Alternative 1 - No Action. There should be no new ATV trails built.
Problems with ATV traffic in the Mark Twain National Forests are:
- ATV traffic is hard to control and manage so that riders remain on trails.
- ATV traffic contributes to soil erosion.
- ATV traffic contributes to wildlife disruption and noise pollution.
Trails that are already built need to be well maintained and monitored to make sure that the riders stay on the trail.