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Los Padres Signs Record of Decision for Land Management Plan Amendment

Forest Service officials on Tuesday announced the signing of the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Los Padres National Forest Land Management Plan Amendment.

The amendment to the Land Management Plan resolves the Settlement Agreement finalized on Jan. 3, 2011, in the case of California Resources Agency, et al vs. United States Department of Agriculture, and Center for Biological Diversity, et al vs. United States Department of Agriculture, which challenged the Los Padres’ 2006 plan.

The amendment re-zones 293,000 acres as Back Country Non-Motorized, a more restrictive desgination than existed in the 2006 plan. The amendment protects the undeveloped character of the areas while maximizing the forest’s capacity to undertake pre-suppression fuel treatments in areas designed to protect communities near the wildland-urban interface.

“With my decision, about 85 percent of the Los Padres will be managed for non-motorized public access with limited potential for further development, including over 50 percent of the forest’s 1.8 million acres currently designated as wilderness,” Los Padres Forest Supervisor Robert Baird said. “That’s an area more than twice the size of Yosemite National Park. My decision maintains nearly 36,000 acres of recommended wilderness additions for the Dick Smith, Matilija, and Chumash Wilderness Areas designated in the 2006 plan.”

The Back Country Non-Motorized designation will offer a high level of resource protection while still allowing activities like mountain biking to occur. Pre-supression fuel treatments will also be less expensive to plan, allowing more acres to be treated. The new designation provides beneficial effects to biological resources, such as the endangered steelhead trout and California condor, through a reduction in disturbance to critical habitat from future projects.

The amendment maintains existing public motorized access, and does not amend any permits or contracts.

— Andrew Madsen represents Los Padres National Forest.


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