Ozark National Scenic Riverways releases draft plan allowing mountain biking for the first time; your response needed in public comment period through Dec 15th | thesalemnewsonline.com

Headlines are quick hits from media outlets from Missouri and around the world. Follow the headline link for the full story. The source of this headline says:

Ozark National Scenic Riverways Superintendent Larry Johnson announced Tuesday that the Preliminary Alternatives for the Roads and Trails Management Plan will be available for public review and comment beginning Thursday. The Preliminary Alternatives may be reviewed online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/OZAR_RTplan. Comments may be submitted at this website through Dec. 15. . . .

The public comment period for the Preliminary Alternatives will be open through Dec. 15. The comments will be analyzed to determine possible changes and help inform the selection of the National Park Service’s preferred alternative. The preferred alternative will be presented in the Draft Roads and Trails Management Plan and Environmental Assessment, which is expected to be released for public review and comment in approximately 18 months.

The public is encouraged to provide comments online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/OZAR_RTplan.

MoBikeFed comment: Mountain biking has never been allowed in Ozark National Scenic Riverway, one of the gems of Missouri's backcountry. Please take a few minutes to write a public comment before December 15th.

More details and suggested responses here:

http://mobikefed.org/2017/11/your-feedback-needed-public-comment-period-...

Some of the most important points to make:

* You support expanding hiking and, particularly, mountain biking opportunities within ONSR.

* Of the three alternatives, Alternative C looks generally best, but mountain biking access and connectivity should be increased significantly even beyond that suggested in Alternative C.

* Access and mileage by different trail user groups--hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians--should be in approximate proportion to number of potential users. By this measure, mountain bike access to the park is vastly underrepresented. Mountain biking is an extremely fast growing sport across the U.S. and in Missouri. Surveys show that there more mountain bike users in Missouri and in the U.S. than equestrians. Mountain bike trail access should be more on par with, or even exceed, equestrian trail mileage.

* You support connecting trails and roads where mountain biking is allowed in the park to nearby roads and trails, particularly the Ozark Trail. ONSR should not be looking just at mountain biking trails within the park, but at the entire regional mountain biking system, including mountain bikeable segements of the Ozark Trail and gravel and low-traffic roads in the area

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