United States Forest National Forests and Sam Houston NF Department of Service Grasslands in Texas 394 FM 1375 West Agriculture New Waverly, Texas 77358 Phone 936-344-6205 File Code: 1950 Date: May 29, 2009 Dear Interested Citizen, In cooperation with the Greater Houston Off-Road Biking Association (GHORBA), the Sam Houston National Forest (NF) proposes to extend the Double Lake Mountain Bike Trail approximately 15 miles, in five sections. Double Lake Mountain Bike Trail consists of eight miles of loops surrounding the Double Lake Recreation Area, located in San Jacinto County, about two miles south of Coldspring (see attached maps). GHORBA currently maintains all of the Double Lake Mountain Bike Trail. GHORBA would construct the new portions of trail this winter. The work would mainly consist of creating a six to eight foot corridor for a two to four foot singletrack trail with natural surface. A combination of machinery, such as a small trail-building bulldozer, and handtools would be used to clear litter and understory vegetation, as well as construct the tread. No trees would be removed. Several crossings of ephemeral streams would be needed, which will be armored using appropriate materials, similar to existing features of Double Lake Mountain Bike Trail. All trail would be designed and built according to International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) and USFS guidelines to meet the following criteria: natural surface; sustainable; nonmotorized, multi-use. The trail would be designed using current best available practices. Trail construction methods seek to minimize natural and cultural resource impacts. Future maintenance of the proposed loops would be performed by GHORBA. The purpose of this action is to improve and increase recreation opportunities at Double Lake Recreation Area. The Double Lake Mountain Bike Trail is the only designated trail available to mountain bikes on the east side of the Sam Houston NF. This extension falls within the 1996 Revised Land and Resource Management Plan’s guidance for the Management Areas 1 (Upland Forest Ecosystems) and 9a (Developed Recreation Sites). In March 2009, GHORBA and IMBA Trail Solutions drafted a Master Plan for Mountain Bike Trails on the Sam Houston NF; this proposed extension is one portion of a phased mountain bike system expansion. A master plan for all trails, including mountain bike trails, will not be finalized until a facilitated Trail Coalition has been formed and has developed a visionary master plan that incorporates all user groups. This process is expected to be completed in late 2010. Providing Input We are about to begin the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, during which we will further analyze the potential consequences of the proposed actions in an EA. We are requesting your comments and concerns to help identify issues associated with this project, to Caring for the Land and Serving People Printed on Recycled Paper Double Lake Mountain Bike Trail Extensions Page 2 focus our analysis of effects, and to develop the basis on which to make an informed decision of whether or not to proceed with this proposal. Please be as specific as possible in expressing your concerns so that we can more effectively address them. Comments received in response to this proposal will be analyzed and addressed in an EA. Once the EA is complete, you will have an opportunity to review it and provide more comments prior to a decision. We value your interest and ideas for the management of the National Forest and Grasslands in Texas. Please accept this letter as a personal invitation to attend any Interdisciplinary Team Meetings to discuss this project at its various stages. If you are interested in attending Interdisciplinary Team Meetings for this project, please contact Cheryl Prewitt at 936-344-6205 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments received in response to this solicitation, including the names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record on this proposed action and will be available for public inspection. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, those who submitted comments anonymously will not have standing to appeal the subsequent decision under 36 CFR 215 or 217. Additionally, pursuant to 7 CFR 1.27(d), any person may request the agency to withhold a submission from the public record by showing how the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) permits such confidentiality. Persons requesting such confidentiality should be aware that, under the FOIA, confidentiality may be granted in only limited circumstances, such as to protect trade secrets. The Forest Service will inform the requester of the agency’s decision regarding the request for confidentiality, and where the requester is denied, the agency will return the submission and notify the requester that the comments may be resubmitted with or without name and address within seven days. Submit your comments to me at the address on the letterhead or on-line at: comments-southern- email@example.com. Although always welcome, comments received by June 29, 2009 will be most helpful. For additional information about this proposal, please contact Cheryl Prewitt, at the phone number listed on the letterhead. Thank you for your interest and participation in the activities on the Sam Houston National Forest. Sincerely, /s/ Warren L. Oja WARREN L. OJA District Ranger Enclosures The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
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