Idyllwild Cycling is working with IMBA and our local Forest Service on designating the trails in May Valley. When the system is complete it will be a multi-use (mountain biking, hiking and equestrian) trail network.
We are still waiting for the completion of the next proposal from the Forest Service. Word is that it will be soon.
May Valley Rd. Open! 6/26/14
May Valley Rd. has been opened! Now there is an open route down to Hurkey Creek from Idyllwild by following May Valley Rd. all the way to the Keen Summit or by turning off on to the Johnson Meadow Trail. The Bonita Vista Rd. and the remaining trails in May Valley are still closed but the studies continue and we are still moving closer to our ultimate goal, The May Valley Trails System. If things remain on schedule, we can expect to break dirt either towards the end of this year or by the beginning of next. The Forest Service is going to need an army of volunteers to help with this project so stay tuned.
Latest from the Forest Service 5/3/14:
May Valley Trails Update
Vegetation is growing back quickly in the burn area despite the lack of water. During this state of ecosystem rebalance it remains crucial for people to stay out let mother nature do her thing! Most trails have vegetation growing over the tread, which is good. When implementation starts, hopefully next winter, time will be spent tracking and flagging trails then grubbing out and maintaining them. In the areas around Grindstone large dead standing Coulter pines, oak and Jeffrey are abundant and pose a safety threat. On steeper grades the trails have slowly been eroded. We will re-assess the closure in November and make recommendations to open-up some areas, but do not expect much to open in May Valley.
The May Valley NEPA is moving along a little faster than normal due to funding and a third party contractor. We have finished comment analysis and are finishing up alternatives. I would expect that a public meeting will take place in July/ early August to unveil these alternatives. To date and through series of previous attempts to do NEPA this current process is much more detailed and inclusive.
Thanks for all of your support during this closure. The trails that are currently open are seeing a lot more use, please be considerate of other users out there. It’s important that our user group continues to be courteous with others, to make the point that we are responsible and trustworthy group.
Natural Resource Specialist
USFS, San Jacinto District
New Forest Order Closure Update 11/13/13:
Basically, the boundary of the closure has been tightened up around the burn area. Some of the May Valley trails are no longer within the closure but it is important to note that because users will have access to some of these trails, they have not yet been approved for the May Valley Trail System and are still classified as non-designated forest trails. As a reminder, the May Valley Trails Project is underway again and all trails will be analyzed for consideration.
The trails and forest roads on the northern portion of May Valley that are no longer in the closure are:
Sutton's Run (parallels Southridge Fire Rd)
Southridge Fire Rd
Mid Southridge Trail
The connector from Sutton's Run to the Granite Springs Trail
Top of May Valley Rd to the gate (a little past the bottom of where the Mid Southridge Trail connects)
The southern section includes:
Something that may not be clear is the continued closure of the Lower Southridge Trail which includes the Log Pile Trail since it merges with Lower Southridge. Coyote Run is also still closed under a previous Forest Order.
Idyllwild Cycling strongly urges users to cooperate with the new Forest Order so we can be relied on as a responsible user group. Considering the length of other forest closures due to fire, we are fortunate to see this as a relatively short closure of one year. We need to look at the bright side wherever we can!
May Valley Trails Project Update:
Now that the Mountain Fire is over the Forest has a lot of healing to do. The good news is that the May Valley Trails Project is once again under way. According to Arturo Delgado, the San Jacinto District Ranger, completion of these documents is included in the Program of Work for Fiscal Year 13/14 (the Forest Service runs on an October/September fiscal year) and the work is fully funded. The required environmental documentation includes a mitigated negative declaration under the National Environmental Policy Act, consultation with the Corps’ of Engineers related to the Endangered Species Act and certification under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. This all sounds huge, but if done in the proper sequence with the appropriate backup documents it should be a smooth process that is complete near the end of September 2014.
What does this mean? In short, at the end of September 2014 the approved trails in the May Valley Area will be included in the Forest Service Roads System and will be fully legal. Also, the trails that are to be added to the existing network can be constructed as funding comes available without further environmental review.
May Valley Trails Project History:
The Mountain Fire July 15 - 30
The Mountain Fire has burned about 90% of the May Valley Trails and the May Valley Trails Project has been put on hold.
Public Comment Period May 23 - June 21
We have a lot of work to do but the process is in motion. At this time the Forest Service has completed the Transportation Analysis Plan and are now presenting to the public the Scoping Project Documents. This is an explanation of what trails the Forest Service feels will be suitable at this point. When reviewing the documents it may be alarming to see how many trails have been eliminated. It is important to note that this is just a proposal so it is time to voice our opinions during the now open public comment period (May 23 - June 21). When you see a trail marked for elimination it is not definite.
The more people we can get to respond the better! We need to show our numbers. At the bottom of the page is the information you will need to submit your comments. Please be constructive about your response and explain why you feel a particular trail(s) should remain and maybe why you feel the trail system is of importance.
One main reason so many trails have been eliminated is the concern that there will ba a lack of resources to maintain the trail system. Idyllwild Cycling has started this petition to show the support we have and how willing users are to help maintain the system. Please sign your name and let's make this happen together!
May Valley Scoping Project Documents:
May Valley Scoping Letter
May Valley Legal Notice (in the May 23 issue of the Idyllwild Town Crier)
May Valley Scoping Document
May Valley Scoping Map
Information is also available on the Forest Service link: http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/fs-usda-pop.php/?project=15568
How to Submit your comments:
Electronic comments (.doc, .pdf, .rtf, .txt) may be submitted firstname.lastname@example.org with Subject: May Valley Trails Project.
San Bernardino National Forest
San Jacinto Ranger District
Idyllwild, CA 92549
Hand Delivered to the San Jacinto Ranger District Office. Hours 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM (closed noon to 1:00 PM and all of Wednesday and Thursday)