General Trails Position

 

Proposed CMC Position on Routine Forest Management Issues

8/4/09

As the Conservation Committee begins to develop a higher profile in the conservation community, its members are invited to attend Forest Service meetings where we have the opportunity to comment on Forest Service policies and actions that affect trails, hiking and the hiking experience. We often do not have details about Forest Service proposals until we arrive at the meetings, but to be effective we need to speak to the issues at that time. In this situation, Conservation Committee members have provided their personal comments. However, we can have more impact and better inform agency officials, if we present CMC’s official positions.

Therefore, the Conservation Committee proposes that CMC Council approve the following position statement to be used by the Conservation Committee to provide information in response to routine Forest Service proposed actions where timing and deadlines prohibit specific Council approval.

Proposed CMC Position Statement on Routine Forest Management Issues

The Carolina Mountain Club supports the provision of the best possible hiking experience throughout western North Carolina and the surrounding area. To ensure this, we support a logical system of hiking trails for loop hikes and long-distance hikes, as well as for access to points of interest and a wide variety of scenery and habitats. We oppose decommissioning hiking trails. We oppose converting hiking trails, including trails with dual trail/road designation, to roads.

To further protect the hiking experience, CMC urges the Forest Service to protect trail tread from damage by machines, water and erosion in all forest management projects. We urge the Forest Service to provide buffers between trails and forest management projects to protect the scenic and recreational values of the trails.

The Carolina Mountain Club also supports protection of the hiking experience by giving the highest priority to conserving and restoring the health of ecological systems through which trails pass.