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#40153 - 11/27/17 09:01 AM Allegheny National Forest Hosting Open Houses on ATV Trail System Proposals
topgun Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/29/10
Posts: 40
Loc: W PA
Allegheny National Forest Hosting Open Houses on ATV Trail System Proposals

Release Date: Nov 15, 2017

The Allegheny National Forest (ANF) will hold open houses at the Marienville Ranger District on November 29 and December 6, 2017 to present information and gather feedback on proposed changes to managing the ATV trail network. The meetings will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. each night. These changes include:

An upcoming proposal to add approximately 12 miles to the Marienville ATV Trail with a connector to a new trailhead north of the Marienville community.
A potential change to restrict the size and class of machines permitted to use the various ATV trails.
The feasibility of increasing the permit fees for the ATV trail network.

Working with Jenks Township in Forest County, the ANF is developing a proposal that would establish a new trailhead five miles north of Marienville that would allow ATV users to link to a proposed township parking and information area in downtown Marienville via the Greeley Farm Road (T-356). From this trailhead, the ANF is finalizing a proposal to develop a 12-mile connecting trail to the Marienville ATV trailhead, located 10.7 miles north of Marienville on State Highway 66. The proposed connector trail would be developed on new and existing routes on National Forest System lands within the Intensive Use Area designated in the 2007 ANF Land Resource Management Plan for potential expansion of ATV trails.

The ANF is also examining options to restrict machine type, size and/or weight on the various ATV trails within the network to enhance the user experience, keep rising maintenance costs in check, and assure sustainable trail standards.

In addition, the ANF is considering the feasibility of increasing ATV permit fees to provide sufficient funds for maintenance, periodic upgrades, and other trail enhancements (signing, bridge replacement, parking areas, toilet facilities, etc.).

“The Allegheny National Forest is holding open houses on consecutive Wednesday nights to provide some flexibility to members of the public who wish to learn more about these proposals and provide feedback,” said District Ranger Rob Fallon. “However, it is not necessary to attend both open houses or to attend for the full length of either open house.”

“We intend to provide information and have conversations with those attending throughout the open houses, rather than make formal presentations. We are developing proposals for all of these issues, and we are doing some sensing to identify concerns before we finalize any proposed actions.”

The open houses will be held at the Marienville District Ranger Station at 131 Smokey Lane, approximately two miles north of downtown Marienville on State Highway 66.

Please note that there will be additional opportunities to comment on any proposed action regarding the ATV trail network. For members of the public who cannot attend either of the open houses, but would like to receive information on any proposed action related to the ATV trail network and submit comments at a later date, please contact Jenny Monroe at vlmonroe@fs.fed.us or 814-927-5742.

For more information about the open houses, please contact the Marienville Ranger District at 814-927-6628.

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#40165 - 12/11/17 05:24 PM Re: Allegheny National Forest Hosting Open Houses on ATV Trail System Proposals [Re: topgun]
topgun Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/29/10
Posts: 40
Loc: W PA
I ended up going to one of the open houses. Was very informative. Met with some of the rangers and Rob Fallon the head of the Marienville district. They had a nice presentation with lots of Q & A. Even some one on one afterwards. Here are the highlights off the top of my head:

1: The ANF is asking riders if the Bike Trail should be returned to Bikes only as it was originally designed. They are asking for feedback on the subject.

2: Jenks Twp. is planning on building a multi use trailhead / park in town next to the Train Station. It would be for hikers, bikers, horseback riders, snowmobilers, and ATV / UTVs. So an ATVer could fuel up at the UniMart, eat at the Kelly or Bucktail and be on your way. The route would cross rt66 on the township road headed west to some forest roads and new connector trails between forest road sections connecting with the existing network of trails at the main Marienville ATV trailhead along rt66. It will be approximately 17 miles from the existing ATV trailhead to town. There will also be another trailhead about 5 miles out of town along the new route so we would be gaining the parking in town + that of the new trailhead.

3: Discussing raising the permit fees. They have been the same price since the fee inception which was around 2004 ish. The state has cut back on moneys from the ATV fund that they had to work with so looking to make up for some of the shortfall to continue to maintain the trails. No change for the 2018 season but look for something in 2019 possibly based on machine size. They may also implement a snowmobile permit fee. What has happened is the new law changed how the money was divided up between snowmobiles and ATVs / UTVs. Something like 8-1 ATV vs Snowmobile so their moneys received was cut way back.

4: They will be installing over time gates at the trailheads to control the width of the machines used on the trails. The limit is 64" so if you do not fit through the gate, you can not ride. Currently there is no real obstacle to entry so this is somewhat of a change.

5: Talked about potentially increasing the available camping space at the Timberline trailhead. You would have to pay a small fee but could also reserve a spot instead of the free for all mess they have there now.

They are asking for people's opinions on any or all of the above topics. I was impressed with their dedication to try and get this stuff done. Most everyone in attendance was supportive of their efforts. Going to take some time to happen but at least things are moving in the right direction.

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