Over-Snow Grooming Environmental Assessment Released For Comment

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McCall, ID - The Over-Snow Trail Grooming Environmental Assessment (EA) on the Payette National Forest is being released for public comment this week. The document is available for comment for the next 30 days and analyzes the ongoing winter over-snow grooming program specific to groomed routes on the PNF in cooperation with Valley County and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR).

The agreement supports and maintains trail grooming in Valley, Adams and Idaho Counties. The agreement has been authorized on the Payette since 1995. Valley County is the lead county behind this program and assumes the responsibility for completing the grooming work under the direction of the Cost Share Agreement and annual operating plan. The Cost Agreement is for a 5-year period.

The EA is available for viewing on the Forest's webpage at http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/fs-usda-pop.php/?project=37513. The Forest works with IDPR and Valley County to groom snowmobile trails within the Payette National Forest.

The EA analyzes three alternatives. Alternative 1 would not authorize grooming on the Payette National Forest. Alternative 2 would authorize approximately 225 miles of trail grooming, similar to what has been authorized in the past, with an additional 12 miles of trail that would be groomed on the Council Ranger District. Alternative 3 would authorize approximately 261 miles of trail which would include the existing groomed system, the new trails in the Council area and new trails around the Lost Valley Reservoir area. The EA discusses all three Alternatives in detail.

The current Cost Agreement with Valley County and IDPR expired in April of 2012. Payette National Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom signed a one season extension for this agreement to continue through the 2013 over-snow grooming season on the Payette Nation Forest while the analysis in progress is completed. Once fully completed, the Forest would enter into a new agreement with both IDPR and Valley County to groom whatever is authorized in the final decision yet to be determined.

For any further information on this project you may contact the Payette National Forest Recreation Program Manager Jane Cropp at (208) 634-0757.

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