We cannot postpone the completion of the Environmental Assessment (EA) and a Decision Record (DR). We held public scoping meetings in November 2009The TRUTH is: they CAN and they SHOULD! In fairness to Chuck, neither the precedent set by the Havasu BLM field office in granting an extension nor any of the inadequacies with the maps they produced were cited in the request for extension. But, his response was a "cookie cutter" reply which couldn't be seen as anything but patronizing. His response failed to give any legal rational for snubbing the request.
to get input in the development of the Proposed Action and Alternatives, conducted a complete route inventory in the summer of 2010 to develop the alternatives, and are accepting public comments until March 24, 2011 for the development of the EA.
Chuck Patterson, Outdoor Recreation Planner
Pocatello Field Office
4350 Cliffs Drive
Pocatello, Idaho 83204
Demands for extensions should be granted on the grounds that:
1) There is BLM policy precedence for doing so;
2) "scoping meetings," even though held a year ago, DO NOT GIVE CITIZENS ANY INFORMATION ABOUT BLM INTENDED CLOSURES so DO NOT begin citizen comments;
3) The map resources the Pocatello BLM field office produced are severely flawed, and unusable for citizen comment;
4) Geo-referenced maps, which are publicly usable, were not supplied on a public forum but only upon request;
5) THERE ARE NO TRAIL LABELS SUPPLIED, which severely compromises the required public comment mandated by law; and
6) The decision making was planned to be done when the trails were closed by weather - thereby, disenfranchising seniors and the riding public from the comment process!
ORH still calls for readers to demand an extension, as was done in Havasu for their TMP, to allow time for the BLM to produce an accurate map of their intended closures! Without flaws, and with adequate geo-location.
Remember, the map we produced which shows how inaccurate the BLM data was presented is at: [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Bear Lake Trail Closure Map.]