Subscribe by Email

Connect with


Opinion: It’s Your National Forest by Greg Sanders

Monday, May 1st, 2017

A SusanvilleStuff Reader Opinion
submitted by Greg Sanders

All National Forests belong to you and if you live in Plumas, Shasta, Butte, Tehama or Lassen County, the Lassen National Forest holds a special meaning. It is in your backyard. You are lucky to have the US Forest Service to administer the LNF for you.  Or are you?  There is a FS Public meeting scheduled in the near future at which you can influence your ‘luck’.

Do you remember over 8 years ago the Forest Service said they were developing a motorized transportation plan for the LNF to help eliminate natural resource damage resulting from people driving cross country?  I decided not to attend their public meetings because I knew the FS would do the right thing.  I mean, how hard is it to develop a plan to stop cross country travel.

Apparently the FS had a different idea.  They decided their higher standard dirt and gravel roads in the LNF are ‘highways’.  They derived the idea from the California Vehicle Code, although the CVC definition of ‘Highway’ seems to exclude FS dirt and gravel roads.  The CVC definition of ‘Highway’ states:  “For purposes of this division, the term “highway” does not include fire trails, logging roads, service roads regardless of surface composition, or other roughly graded trails and roads upon which vehicular travel by the public is permitted.”

The CHP and the five counties mentioned above told the FS they disagreed with the FS decision.  The five counties allow unlicensed off-highway vehicles on their 319 miles of dirt and gravel roads through the LNF.  Still, the FS stuck to their interpretation that their 658 miles of higher standard dirt roads are ‘Highways.’

Using that definition, the FS restricts unlicensed OHVs from driving on Forest Service maintained unpaved roads.  Rather than admit a mistake, the FS is planning to spend thousands of your dollars to do a study on small sections of FS maintained roads, after which they might open a few miles of road (out of the 658 restricted miles), in small non-contiguous sections.

The Forest Supervisor has the authority to raise the restrictions on LNF ‘Highways’ without this expenditure; but, his decision comes with a risk. Even though he would be making a decision that is supported by common sense, favorable to the public and beneficial to the welfare of the counties surrounding the LNF, he would be making a decision that puts himself in an unfavorable standing with his superiors.  So what should he do, decide in favor of the communities he represents or decide in his own favor?

The FS public meeting addressing the LNF Five County Off-Highway Vehicle Plan is scheduled for May 22nd, 2017, 3pm-7pm, in the Forest Service Office at 2550 Riverside Drive, Susanville.  There is a second meeting scheduled May 23rd, 3pm-7pm, in Chico at the Masonic Family Center, 1110 W. East Avenue.  Please plan to attend, to hear and to be heard.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by guest authors and those providing opinions on SusanvilleStuff are theirs and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of Couso Technology and Design, SusanvilleStuff or any of our employees. If you have an opinion you would like us to consider sharing with our readers please email us at

If we could have a moment of your time...

In the last 15 years SusanvilleStuff has become Lassen County's most influential media source with an average of 21,000 people visiting and reading stories about our little corner of the world each week.

SusanvilleStuff is our area's only locally owned news and information source and our commitment is to our friends and neighbors, with the goal of creating the best, all-around, most reliable content, while at the same time highlighting what makes Susanville and Lassen County so incredibly unique.
Why We Need Reader Support
Our independent, local coverage takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. While we make most of our money from advertising revenues, these days those can only go so far to support what we do. Every dollar our readers contribute goes towards making SusanvilleStuff a stronger voice in the community with better, more comprehensive content. We increasingly need the help of our readers to support us with either a voluntary subscription or a one-time contribution.

You don't have to subscribe to SusanvilleStuff, but we will be incredibly thankful if you do!

If you would like to contribute to SusanvilleStuff you can click here for subscription options

Posted by on . Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

>Email us News
115 S. Roop Susanville, CA