March 11, 2009

Meetings planned on grassland travel management plan

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Watford City will be one of three sites where the U.S. Forest Service will be taking public comment on a new travel management plan that the agency is developing for the Little Missouri National Grasslands.
The purpose of this proposal is to identify and designate a system of roads and trails on the Little Missouri National Grassland that the general public is invited to use for wheeled motor vehicle travel. “Wheeled motor vehicle” includes all types of cars, trucks, pickups, motorcycles, and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs).
The Forest Service proposes to designate approximately 1,440 miles of roads and/or trails on National Forest System lands open to motor vehicle use. Currently, there are approximately 2,226 miles of roads on National Forest System lands open to wheeled motor vehicles on the LMNG.
Under this proposal, off-road travel would be allowed within 300 feet on either side of any designated open road to access a dispersed campsite, provided there are no other resource considerations, such as the adjacent land being a non-motorized area.
The Forest Service is seeking public comments to help identify issues, develop alternatives, and further clarify the proposed action. Anyone with an interest in motor vehicle travel on public lands is encouraged to comment.
The Watford City meeting will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. on Monday, March 16, 2009, at the Watford City Civic Center.
Additional meetings will be held on March 17 in Dickinson and on March 18 in Bismarck.
 The scoping notice, proposed action, maps, reference documents, and information on how to comment can be obtained by visiting the Dakota Prairie Grasslands’ web site, Information can also be obtained locally by calling or visiting the McKenzie Ranger District office, 701-842-2393.