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PLEASE: TAKE TEN MINUTES FOR TELLICO NOW! We need you to send in comment letters to the Forest Service. Pass this on to your friends and fellow OHVers.

UPDATE ON THE TELLICO EFFORT: BRC, UFWDA, and SFWDA have all teamed up to fight the battle for Tellico. Thanks to all who responded to our Phase 1 alert and have written, called and visited their elected officials about the USFS proposed closure of Tellico. We still need those calls and letters to continue. Don't let up.

The letters to your congressmen are working! Jay Bird from SFWDA and Greg Mumm from BRC will be going back to Washington, D.C. to follow up with some offices early next week. At this late date phone calls will work the best. Please follow up on your letters to those who represent you.

For more information and background, see our previous alert here: They Want to Close Tellico! - BRC Action Alert

Now we are shifting to Phase 2. It is important and it is time to respond to the Forest Service's draft Environmental Assessment with comments. We've made this very easy for you with an online letter generator (Comments on Upper Tellico System Draft EA - BlueRibbon Coalition). All it takes is for you to click here and there is a very easy process set up for you to send in your comments.

It is vital that you take action to Rescue Tellico. The Forest Service has told us what they want to do and it is incumbent on the OHV community to change their mind. We NEED to generate as many letters as possible, so:

PLEASE TAKE TEN MINUTES FOR TELLICO NOW! The deadline is fast approaching so don't put it off. Click here and help by sending in your comment letter. You CAN make a difference.

As always, this has been a long and expensive fight and we ask that you help us to sustain the ongoing effort with your donations. You can donate simply and easily online at Contribute to Rescue Tellico - BlueRibbon Coalition .

Thank you for your help!

SFWDA, UFWDA, and BRC

If you would prefer to send in your own letter, we encourage you to do so. Below are some talking points to help you with that effort.

Letters need to be sent to:

National Forests in North Carolina

Attn: Candace Wyman

160 A Zillicoa Street, Asheville, NC 28801

Letters may be emailed to:

Email: comments-southern-north-carolina-nantahala-tusquitee@fs.fed.us

Be sure to put in the reference line to the project:

RE: Transportation System and Related Recreation Management Actions for the Upper Tellico Off-Highway Vehicle System and Temporary Closure of the Upper Tellico OHV System

Nantahala National Forest: Cherokee County, North Carolina

It is important to tell the Forest Service why Tellico is important to you and your family.

Oppose the temporary closure of the Upper Tellico OHV System effective April 1, 2009 and ask the Forest Supervisor to reconsider that decision.

The emergency closure is unwarranted and unjustified based on the information provided.

Planning for many historic and permitted events in the area are and have been underway for sometime now based on the good faith of the Forest Service and the originally proposed action for planning in the area. The immediate economic impact to the surrounding communities of this temporary closure order is devastating and cannot be replaced. Communities affected by this sudden change in management are historically dependent on money brought into the area by OHV recreation and these events.

The decision for the emergency closure prior to the decision on the draft environmental assessment appears to point to a pre-determined outcome for the environmental assessment.

The Forest Service should/needs to conduct more complete planning.

The draft environmental assessment needs to address findings and conclusions of the independent report from Caliber Engineering recently provided to the Forest Service which conflicts with much of the findings and the internal studies of the Forest Service in the draft environmental assessment.

The draft EA does not consider the report commissioned by and provided to the Forest Service by the Enterprise Team, USFS Trails Unlimited, assessing the Upper Tellico OHV System. This report is also in conflict with the findings reflected in the Draft EA.

Neither the Caliber study nor the Trails Unlimited report recommended closure of trails in Tellico. Both concluded the trails could be sustainably managed.

Failure by the Forest Service to consider other sources of sedimentation invalidates agency implication that the OHV system is the cause of high turbidity measurements. This failure leads to an inaccurate and unsupported conclusion that closure of the OHV system will resolve turbidity issues, if such exist.

Ask that the Forest Service to conduct additional study and planning in an Environmental Impact Statement.

Given the potentially devastating economic impact to the local communities alone (as cited in the University of Tennessee survey), a finding of no significant impact cannot be a determined outcome.

The range of alternatives should be developed utilizing the additional science and information provided in both the Caliber report and the Trails Unlimited report discussed previously.

The Forest Service needs to exhaust all possible options to mitigate the issues prior to closure.

The Forest Service must also recognize that closing the opportunity was never the intent or desire of the interested stakeholders.

Proper management for the use is the better solution.

Closure alone will not solve the stated issues. Mitigation of those issues still must take place.

Resolving those challenges in partnership with the OHV community provides both the manpower and additional funding from the private sector necessary for proper mitigation.

Be honest, professional and polite. Most importantly, be timely. Don't put it off.

For more information and background, see our previous alert on Tellico here: They Want to Close Tellico! - BRC Action Alert

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