Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Senator Crapo's Collaborative Effort on Public Roads

  There are currently two undertakings which may or may not restore public rights of way regarding historic roads near Yellow Pine.

The first is a lawsuit brought by Valley County,  private citizens and affected business owners against the US Forest Service. The lawsuit claims,  among other things, that the Payette National Forest Management violated federal law by declaring roads closed in a  unilateral fashion with little or no public input.

The second half of said lawsuit says that Valley County has existing rights of way under outstanding RS-2477 historic state and county declarations.

The second panel or collaborative group is one organized by US Senator Mike Crapo,  in an apparent effort to settle disputes of affected parties outside of the courtroom.

I only recently learned of the collaborative meetings or that they are supposedly open to the public.

When the Forest Service unlawfully closed my driveway a few years ago,  Senator Crapo and Senator Jim Risch sent representatives to come up with solutions other than lawsuits to keep the half mile of road to my property under county and local control. I am looking forward to attending the next public meetings,  yet to be announced.

Associates of mine who have attended the meetings thus far have noted that they are generally positive and are expecting a good outcome for all. Albeit at an extended date in the future.

If you are familiar with Sugar Creek Road and other public roadways in the vicinity of Yellow Pine,  within the Payette National Forest,  I encourage you to contact

Senator Mike Crapo
251 East Front Street, Suite 205
Boise, ID 83702 
Phone: (208) 334-1776
Fax: (208) 334-9044

Below is the letter I wrote to US Senator Mike Crapo:

Senator Crapo,

I apologize for not attending collaborative meetings on behalf of Yellow Pine for the proposals which will ultimately be submitted to your office. 

Until recently, I was unaware of the Collaborative and only aware of the lawsuits filed by Valley County against the US Forest Service. 

Please accept my somewhat belated input toward how I feel the US Forest Service has had a very negative impact on the local community. 

Nine days ago,  I put together a website to alert the public the the US Forest Service and governing regulatory agencies would be closing the Sugar Creek Road into Cinnabar,  along with other local roads which undoubtedly affect the already struggling community of Yellow Pine. 

See website here: 

In only nine days,  more than 18,000 people have viewed the website and I've had a lot of positive feedback from the public that they believe the road should be saved for public use.

Additionally,  I am aware of Valley County and private citizens suing the Forest Service for violating NEPA and other federal laws by declaring the road closed without holding any required public comment periods. Similar to how the Forest Service unlawfully closed my driveway in 2010, by holding public comment sessions in Boise, 152 miles away from the nearest affected community as required by law. 

I have watched the town of Yellow Pine and Valley County go from a a thriving community, pumping billions of dollars into the American economy in the 1980s:
to a vacuum where massive amounts of taxpayers money goes to die, as currently is the  case.

Likewise,  I've seen the overall health of the nearby National Forest go from stellar to decrepit and dying in under three decades. 

It certainly appears that laws passed under the Clinton Administration in 1993, intended to improve the quality of the Forest, certainly have had the exact opposite of the desired affect. And that what the Forest Service would now like to see as the status quo is certainly doing nothing or very little to improve the overall quality of the Nation's Forests.

Mismanagement and good intentions are turning our Forests into hell on earth. And in short fashion. 

The Forest Service blames a few atv riders and a lack of funding for the dwindling quality of our National Forests. They also are quick to blame mining and logging,  which have been essentially nonexistent in the area  since 1996.

Every year the Forest Service seems to get more funding to fix the Forest that they didn't manage correctly with the taxpayer money they were trusted with in previous years. Similar to the EPA creating a thousand fold disaster in Colorado than they claimed to be restoring. 

I believe that the management is best that manages locally. I have a lot of faith in our county and state leaders to best manage local forests for the good of all.

In fact,  if you look at  Bayhorse State Park, managed by the State of Idaho,  I  believe it to be a perfect example of local government managing federal lands for the good of all.

Bayhorse State Park managed by Idaho Parks and Recreation can be seen halfway down here:

Obviously,  there are private property concerns regarding Cinnabar. And there are environmental concerns similar to those of Bayhorse. 

The Forest Service and Tribes are using skewed bias data to  overstate the environmental impacts and to skew the socioeconomic impacts as I have outlined in the website above. 

The Forest Service and tribes look the other way and literally drive past millions of tons of mercury and arsenic containing sediments dumping into the river every year. Resulting from poorly managed wildfires the Forest Service let ravage 850,000 acres of private and public lands during the 2007 wildfire season and subsequent years. 

The Forest Service has gone so far as to post signs along the heavily burned South Fork Road,  claiming sedimentation from wildfires supports fish habitat and enhances aquatic species. The same Forest Service officials,  which post signs claiming millions of tons of sediment annually flowing into rivers from burned areas, now claims that Sugar Creek Road needs to be destroyed because it deposits approximately 28 tons of sediment per year into the local river system. 

The same Forest Service that claims it doesn't have  $70,000 to build a  bridge across Sugar Creek at the ford,  miraculously seems to come up with millions of dollars every year for reopening dozens of miles of closed roads abandoned in the  1950s(Cow Creek Road). Ripping out every culvert long since naturally rehabilitated. Then hundreds of thousands of more dollars trying to replace the vegetation destroyed by the Forest Service traveling down a road which hadn't been used in over 60 years.

Of course,  the sediments the Forest Service disturbed on Cow Creek are naturally radioactive,  high in arsenic,  mercury, antimony and other elements the countryside is known for. 

In summary, the Forest Service has long been known for railroading over the top of local communities. Wasting hundreds of millions of dollars that I have witnessed over the last 30 plus years. And has failed miserably at their stated mission "to care for the land and serve people ".... on both accounts. 

Thank you for your time and consideration in reviewing my comments once again.

Scott Amos, 
A concerned taxpayer tired of seeing my money wasted on frivolous projects by the Payette National Forest. 

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