Inyo National forest Ca – Feb 5, 2015 – The Inyo National Forest announces that the Travel Analysis Process (TAP) is underway.

TAP is required by the 2005 Travel Management Rule and requires that forests provide a safe, financially, and environmentally sustainable road system that can realistically be maintained. Due to increased use, aging infrastructure, and decreasing budgets, the forest cannot maintain all roads to standards for safety and environmental protection. TAP fulfills the requirement in Subpart A of Travel Management that states each forest uses a science-based roads analysis to help identify the minimum road system.

The Inyo National Forest, as well as other national forests in the country, is required to complete TAP by September 30, 2015 to receive federally appropriated funds for its road system.

The purpose of the TAP is to inform future travel management decisions; it does not designate the minimum road system. TAP does not produce a decision, but rather a set of recommendations. Therefore National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is not required and the process is not subject to objection. It will not close roads, add roads to the system, or otherwise change the current road system.

However, TAP will be used to inform future planning regarding management of the forest’s roads. Any proposals regarding the forest’s system roads will be subject to more site-specific analysis and NEPA. TAP does not address unauthorized routes, and will not make any recommendations about adding new routes to the system.

Under TAP, the forest will determine the risks, benefits, and opportunities for every designated system road and identify possible changes or repairs to the road system. These may include safety, the cost of maintenance, recreational experience, or environmental impacts. The results will be shared in a Travel Analysis Report (TAR). To learn more, check out this worksheet that explains the process further.

There will be a public meeting in the upcoming weeks (more details will be available shortly) to share the results of the Draft TAR. We encourage anyone who uses roads, or benefits from a national forest, to share ideas for a sustainable road system.

TAP does not replace the decision made during Travel Management, Subpart B; which designated routes for the National Forest Transportation System (NFTS) for the Inyo National Forest. That process was subject to NEPA, and implementation of the 2009 Travel Management Decision is on-going. Rather, TAP will help to identify possible changes to the road system that was identified in Travel Management. The forest will also complete the over-snow component of the Travel Management Rule, Subpart C. This is anticipated in the upcoming year.

Travel Analysis and Forest Plan Revision are separate regulations and are not interdependent; however, the TAP should be consistent with the direction in the forest plan.