By Ron Vernesoni
Sedona AZ (April 15, 2012) – I was appalled to read that individuals are actually building their own trails in the National Forest with virtual impunity of the law. I Googled the issue, and found a very organized movement in Sedona to build trails in the National Forest for mountain biking on a massive scale. No thoughtful environmental assessments are being conducted beforehand as required by the USFS and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). What about the damage to sensitive ecosystems, and wildlife habitat? I found it interesting when reading some of the mountain biking forums that very few posters even mention the word “environment” in their posts—-let alone more in-depth concerns about overall forest degradation.
How could the local USFS drop the ball on an issue as important as this? Apparently the USFS has already adopted numerous illegally built mountain biking trails in the National Forest into the trail system without required NEPA review prior to approving their adoption. This is a violation of federal law. However, I guess anything goes in the interests of tourism and commercialism in Sedona. Why not build a few dozen ATV trails to accompany the mountain biking trails? Why not turn the National Forests into a playground, and forget about all this wacko environmental stuff?