County asks for 60 more days to mull forest roads proposal

By Aaron West, Wescom News Service

The Board of Supervisors at its meeting on Tuesday voted to include a request for a 60-day extension to review the Smith River Restoration and Travel Management Plan. Originally the board had planned to only request 30 days.

"I do have some concern that the 30 days may not be enough - it's a lengthy document," Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen said during the meeting, referring to the 600-page Travel Management Plan's Environmental Impact Statement. "Sixty would be preferable, 30 would be acceptable."

The plan is in response to a federal directive to update the National Forest Transportation System and will ultimately address hundreds of miles of unofficial mining and logging roads in the Smith River National Recreation Area, decommissioning some forest roads, restoring some mining roads to nature and adding some others to the forest's motorized travel network.

The letter that the board ultimately voted to send to the Six Rivers National Forest will be amended to reflect the board's preference, even though the 30-day option will also be included in case the Forest Service should choose to grant the shorter extension.

County Planner Randy Hooper said that whether the Forest Service grants the extension or not is up to the forest supervisor, even though he said the original 30-day extension request was conservative.

"We could have asked for more," Hooper said.

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