We applaud HLCNF Supervisor Bill Avey and Helena District Ranger Heather Degeest for the recently completed Tenmile-South Helena Project Draft Record of Decision (DROD). We take issue with some elements, but overall we support the DROD and, in particular, the recreational trails component. The decision rightfully recognizes both the social and economic significance recreational trails play in the Helena community and, importantly, adds to that asset.
In Montana one frequently hears complaints of how federal land management decisions ignore the priorities and concerns of local communities. This decision, along with our own experience owning an outdoor recreation-based business for 30 years, contradicts that narrative. Ranger Degeest engaged the community at many levels including public comment opportunity for both the overall project and the recreational trail component. The DROD includes changes to the initial, proposed action that can be found in the public comment record written by, yes, local folks.
There is no question that local concerns and priorities are reflected in the project decision, which helps protect the city’s watershed, improves safety for those living on the edge of the project area, and provides an important recreational trail opportunity for hikers, hunters, mountain bike riders, and equestrians.
Eric and Angie Grove