Meadow near FS 9721S destroyed by ORV abuse

Meadow near FS 9721S destroyed by ORV abuse
Recommendation:
Close Forest Road 9721S.

FS 9721S starts about 1/8 mile from private property near Pinetop. About 1/4 mile from the private property, it passes what used to be a beautiful meadow and an ugly cinder pit. OHVs have created thrill-ride trails down the cinder pit and into the meadow. This ORV use has destroyed the meadow.

  • The ground all around where wild flowers and tall grass once grew is now compacted soil ORVs use as a racetrack.
  • The FS recently put up Carsonite signs forbidding motorized vehicles at the edge of the drainage, but the meadow is still accessible and does not deter the ORV riders.
  • FS 9721S goes around Pat Mullen Mountain and breaks into a number of splinter OHV trails that are deeply rutted, causing downhill erosion during monsoon rains and winter snow melt. These feed into the drainage that flows into Sky Hi Retreat subdivision, which may have contributed to our major neighborhood flood in August. This drainage likely affects our water table and our wells (the subdivision is on shared wells). With compacted soil in the meadow, the water may not percolate properly into our watershed, threatening our future water supply.
  • This road also leads to the cinder pit 1/4 mile from private property. Often residents hear shots coming from the pit. Casings often litter the road outside the cinder pit. Shooting this close to a subdivision is dangerous for residents and produces excessive noise. The shots ring through the air almost every day with some shooting from semi-automatic weapons.
  • A hawk nests on top of this cinder pit. The OHV traffic and shooting disturbs and threatens the hawk babies.
  • Elk that formally frequented the meadow now rarely appear. There’s no grass for them to eat, human trash covers the area, and the noise disturbs them. This was a water source for the elk with melting snows and monsoon rains creating pools.


Comments must meet the requirements at 36 CFR 215.6. Those who provide comments during this comment period are eligible to appeal the decision. Name and address of comments will become part of the public record.

Mail written comments to:
ASNFs Travel Comments
PO Box 640
Springerville, AZ 85938

Fax to: 928-333-5966

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Questions: Travel Management Hotline 928-333-6267

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