Tellico ATV and Dirt Bike Trails
RECREATIONAL GROUPS DECRY TELLICO CLOSURE
October 15, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Greg Mumm, BlueRibbon Coalition
Jay Bird, Southern Four Wheel Drive Association
Conservation groups dedicated to active and sustainable management of
the Upper Tellico OHV Area expressed deep disappointment with the U.S.
Forest Service decision to permanently close the Tellico trails. The
decision, which follows an earlier "temporary" closure, was announced in
documents published by the USFS yesterday morning.
Gary Parsons, President of the Southern Four Wheel Drive Association,
reacted by saying, "The Forest Service is simply wrong in this
decision. This public agency has ignored an independent study by
Caliber Engineering and the recommendations of its own Trails Unlimited
Team, which demonstrated effective management is attainable and offered
specific suggestions to achieve that goal."
The agency announcement by Forest Supervisor Marisue Hilliard again
parroted the water quality issues long favored by preservationist
special interests as the excuse for closure. Jay Bird, Chairman of the
Rescue Tellico Committee, noted, "The Tellico River is in excellent
shape and complies with all legal requirements. Only through blatant
modification of proper methodology, such as measuring turbidity levels
during peak runoff, can the Forest Service claim there is legal basis to
take any action, let alone closure."
"Sadly, we are not surprised. It now appears the Forest Service knew
it would close the Area years ago, and undertook the intervening 'public
process' to justify a decision already made," said Greg Mumm, Executive
Director of the BlueRibbon Coalition. "We are sorely disappointed that
the Forest Service has determined it cannot effectively manage the Upper
Tellico OHV Area that users have supported with millions of dollars in
fees and thousands of hours of volunteer labor. With our recreational
partners, we will evaluate all options that may change that