VVDailyPress.com-PHELAN • U.S. Rep. Paul Cook, R-Apple Valley, reached out this week to forest officials in an effort to bridge the divide in a controversial off-highway vehicle project located south of Phelan.
In a letter on Wednesday to San Bernardino National Forest Supervisor Joy Neuron, Cook asked that forest officials “continue an open dialogue with local residents who will be impacted by this proposed designation.”
Neuron authored last year the decision to construct 13.4 miles of 50-inch OHV trails, designate and maintain 9.6 miles of trails temporarily specified for OHV use and remove OHV use on 1.2 miles of road in an area north of Highway 138 near Interstate 15.
The Baldy Mesa OHV Trail and Staging Project has since caused strife among local residents, who say offroad vehicles don’t mesh well with the area’s hiking and equestrian enthusiasts. Six appeals to the project were previously rejected.
On Tuesday, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints in Phelan revealed Mormon Trail.com, an online petition to relocate the project, amid concerns that it twice crosses the historic Mormon Trail.
“These constituents feel as though the Forest Service did not adequately consult with local governments and entities during the process and would like continued consideration of their arguments,” Cook wrote.
An attempt on Thursday to reach a National Forest spokesperson was not successful.
Meanwhile, officials are seeking more than $2.4 million in OHVspecific grants to care for the project, according to five preliminary applications filed with California State Parks before a March 3 deadline.
The public comment period on preliminary applications for state grant funding ends April 7. Comments must be submitted to both Al Colby at acol email@example.com and to California State Parks by using the “Grants” tab at www.ohv.parks ca.gov, according to a news release. Story Source>LINK
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