JEEP LIFE AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS
**URGENT!*** Please pass around: Soldier Pass Trail in Sedona may be closed to public!! PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL or letter by this Friday 4/29! Email: JRowe@fs.fed.us
Mail: Julie Rowe
Red Rock Ranger District
P.O. Box 20429 , Sedona, AZ, 86341
Re: Soldiers Pass Motorized Use #38555
The Red Rock Ranger District of the Coconino National Forest is reviewing management options for this busy trail. Let me cut through the bull and tell you the real deal: the local homeowners hate the ATV noise through their neighborhood and on the trail. Since the traffic on the trail is exceeding the USFS management levels, the USFS is inclined to do something. Read the short explanation here:
Soldier Pass Trail Explanation
I am writing in favor of Alternative C: Implement a free permit system to allow a limited number of 4x4's per day on the trail, similar to Elephant Hill and Bulldog Canyon permit systems.
I am NOT in favor of Alternative B: close the trail to all motorized traffic except Red Rock Jeep Tours, a commercial tour company.
The reason I favor option C: public land is for public benefit. If a limited number of 4x4's are to be allowed, it should not be for the sole benefit of commercial industry.
It is critical that letters in support of the USFS Alternative C are sent, as the city of Sedona has submitted their support of Alternative B: close it to all but Red Rock Jeep Tours. Personally, I would rather see it closed completely than have any commercial operator have exclusive use of public lands.
The USFS is accepting comments for the rest of this week only. Please state clearly which option you prefer, and why.
Below is my full letter. Feel free to cut, paste, and modify with your own comments. If you enjoy the Soldier Pass trail, or you just hate seeing the public shut out of yet ANOTHER 4x4 trail, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take 10 minutes to send in your comment.
From: (include your name, email, address and phone number for validation--anonymous or no contact info comments get trashed!)
To: Julie Rowe
Re: Soldier Pass Motorized Use #38555
Date: 25 April 2016
I am writing regarding the proposed changes in Soldier Pass Motorized Use. I am in support of Alternative C: Outfitter/Guide and Public Use by Permit.
While it is reasonable that limitations should be imposed, I would hate to see this beautiful and historic little trail closed altogether--it has been a Jeep trail since Jeeps came back from WWII. I enjoy this close and short trail for a quick escape to the edge of the wilderness, with its unique geological and biological wonders.
It is my assertion that limiting vehicle traffic is a reasonable management step at this point in time. However, limiting public access in favor of commercial access is NOT reasonable. Therefore, Alternative C presents the most balanced solution, with plenty of functioning precedent in other areas in support of a free permit access system.
I believe that closing it to all public motorized access is an excessive attempt at a solution to the noise problems of ATV and UTV traffic. If the city of Sedona doesn't like ATV noise, they should ban ATV's from the streets, as Telluride has. Closing it to all private motorized recreationists while allowing a commercial tour company to use it exclusively violates the USFS mandate and Amendment 12: "We will not regard the area as a potential theme park for commercial exploitation at the expense of nature. We will not sell the day to profit the hour.” It is my assertion that if Alternative C is deemed inviable, I believe it is more consistent with the mandates and wishes of the Sedona community to close the trail to all motorized use, instead of allowing the motorized recreation to continue there strictly for the benefit of one commercial interest.
Further, I am willing to participate physically, materially and financially in any efforts required to implement a permit system for this trail.