DECRY TELLICO CLOSURE
October 15, 2009 - Conservation groups
dedicated to active and sustainable management
of the Upper Tellico OHV Area expressed deep
disappointment with the U.S. Forest Service
decision to permanently close the Tellico
trails. The decision, which follows an
earlier "temporary" closure, was announced in
documents published by the USFS yesterday
Gary Parsons, President of the Southern Four
Wheel Drive Association, reacted by saying, "The
Forest Service is simply wrong in this decision.
This public agency has ignored an independent
study by Caliber Engineering and the
recommendations of its own Trails Unlimited
Team, which demonstrated effective management is
attainable and offered specific suggestions to
achieve that goal."
The agency announcement by Forest Supervisor
Marisue Hilliard again parroted the water
quality issues long favored by preservationist
special interests as the excuse for closure.
Jay Bird, Chairman of the Rescue Tellico
Committee, noted, "The Tellico River is in
excellent shape and complies with all legal
requirements. Only through blatant
modification of proper methodology, such as
measuring turbidity levels during peak runoff,
can the Forest Service claim there is legal
basis to take any action, let alone closure."
"Sadly, we are not surprised. It now
appears the Forest Service knew it would close
the Area years ago, and undertook the
intervening 'public process' to justify a
decision already made," said Greg Mumm,
Executive Director of the BlueRibbon Coalition.
"We are sorely disappointed that the Forest
Service has determined it cannot effectively
manage the Upper Tellico OHV Area that users
have supported with millions of dollars in fees
and thousands of hours of volunteer labor.
With our recreational partners, we will evaluate
all options that may change that determination."
About The BlueRibbon Coalition
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national
recreation group that champions responsible
recreation, and encourages individual
environmental stewardship. It represents over
10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization
and business members, for a combined total of
over 600,000 recreationists nationwide.