The U.S. Forest Service is seeking public comment on the proposed May Valley non-motorized trail project for the San Jacinto Ranger District.
“The May Valley area is an important area for non-motorized trail recreation users on the San Jacinto Ranger District. May Valley contains approximately 50 miles of both unauthorized non-system and authorized National Forest System (forest system) roads and trails that are popular with mountain bikers, equestrians and hikers,” begins the agency’s planning proposal (available here: MayValley_scope_doc).
The San Bernardino National Forest proposal analyzes adding non-motorized trails to the National Forest Transportation System, and closing and rehabilitating unauthorized trails on the San Jacinto Ranger District.
The area is limited to Hurkey Creek County Park north to Idyllwild and west to McCall County Park.
The proposal would expand the existing 3.2 miles of authorized forest system trails to include 23.6 miles of currently unauthorized trails or roads and another 2.6 miles of reroutes or new construction.
The resulting action would provide about 10 miles of class 2 trails (used by mountain bikers and hikers) and 20 miles of class 3 trails (wider and used by pack and saddle stock, as well as mountain bikers and hikers). Nearly 24 miles of these trails are not currently authorized as system trails.
Some do not view the pending changes as totally positive. Simon Barnes of Idyllwild said, “If this is passed, we will lose about 40 of the current 50 miles of single-track trails that are being ridden by locals and visitors to town. Thirty miles of the 50 will be widened to 4 feet using a small bulldozer. These are designed for horses. Of the remaining 20, 10 will be closed. If this does go through, it will effectively impact our economy and the viability of promoting Idyllwild as a mountain biking destination.”
The availability of these trails could take up to 10 years depending upon the funding, according to the Forest Service. In addition, the agency implementation is also dependent upon partnerships for construction, maintenance and management.
Electronic comments may be submitted in common doc, pdf, rtf or txt formats to: [email protected] with Subject: May Valley Trail Project. Comments may be mailed to: San Jacinto Ranger District, P.O. Box 518, Idyllwild, CA 92549, or delivered to 54270 Pine Crest Ave., Idyllwild, during business hours 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed noon to 1 p.m.).
This document and others associated with the project may also be accessed on the San Bernardino National Forest website (http://data.ecosystem-management.org/nepaweb/nepa_project_exp.php?project=15568).