Tearing out road barriers isn't the answer, Forest Service says

At least some of the barriers put up last year to close illegal roads and routes on the Inyo National Forest have been torn out since the snow melted.

“Forest-wide, we think about 10 to 20 percent of the barriers have been damaged or removed,” said Marty Hornick, the forest’s travel management plan coordinator.

He is hoping that residents and visitors remember that the entire, mandated travel management process (all national forests in the country are required to do a comprehensive road and route plan during the next few years) took seven years and was the product of dozens of locals and local groups compromising on how to come up with a final system of legal routes and roads on the forest. People like Wilderness Society member Sally Miller and motorized-use advocate Bill Sauser worked side-by-side for years.

Through dozens of public meetings, the group came up with the plan, which was adopted by the Inyo National Forest in 2009.

Now that the plan is being implemented (a three-year process that started last year), some other groups and individuals are realizing they don’t agree with the final decisions.

“I understand that they might be frustrated,” Hornick said. “But tearing out the barriers is not going to solve their frustrations in the long run.”

The alternative is to contact the forest service with concrete examples of specific issues that should be addressed.

“I would be happy to talk to anyone,” he said.

Hornick can be reached at 760-873-2461 or at mhornick.fs.fed.us.