Smith River National Recreation Area
“Travel Management” Project by Jen Kalt - 6/4/2012
Since 2005, the North Coast Chapter has provided comments to Six Rivers National Forest on its plan to designate some roads as recreational Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) routes. The plan has been the subject of major controversy, with environmental groups raising concerns about impacts to rare plants, water quality, Inventoried Roadless Areas, Port Orford cedar (which is infected by a root pathogen which is spread by vehicle tires), and other resources. While some roads are proposed for decommissioning, conversion to trails, and much-needed road upgrades to limit erosion and sedimentation to salmon streams, several roads rated as “High Risk” to botanical resources are proposed as OHV routes. One of the most egregious examples is the Pine Flat Mountain Road (305.109), which supports populations of 4 species that are classified as Forest Service Sensitive plants (and are also protected by state law). They are:
- Howell’s jewelflower, Streptanthus howellii
- serpentine catchfly, Silene serpentinicola
- Waldo buckwheat, Eriogonum pendulum
- opposite-leaved lewisia, Lewisia oppositifolia
Some roads would increase the likelihood of introduction of Alyssum corsicum and A. murale, collectively known as yellowtuft, which are European serpentine endemics that were listed as A-list noxious weeds by the Oregon Department of Agriculture. These species occur along Siskiyou National Forest roads that lead to the Smith River NRA, including the North Fork Smith Botanical Area, and are reported to be spread by vehicle tires.
CNPS submitted comments in 2005 and 2006, and now that a new “Proposed Action” has been developed, also submitted scoping comments in June. Look for another opportunity to comment in support of native plant protections sometime later this year. Thanks to the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, who have coordinated other groups in NW CA and SW OR to thoroughly review and comment on the Smith River NRA proposals.
Comment letter to District Ranger link (PDF 1.2 MB)