LACONIA, N.H. (AP) – Environmental groups appear to support the recommended land and resource plan released for public review by the White Mountain National Forest.

The so-called Alternative 2 plan recommends a broad policy for the next 15 years that recommends expanded recreation, but opposes development of new all-terrain vehicle trails.

The report says recreation should be increased while “precluding the creation of a summer motorized ATV trail system during the planning period. These efforts are designed to maintain the overall character of the recreation experience on the forest, minimize conflicts with existing uses, and avoid potential resource concerns.”

“I believe this alternative provides the best balance of products, services and experiences while maintaining the core ecological processes of the forest for the culture,” Forest Supervisor Tom Wagner said.

The plan also recommends that Congress designate an additional 33,600 acres of wilderness in the forest.

Fred Lavigne of Sandwich, a member of the Friends of the Sandwich Range, said more than 10,000 additional acres of wilderness in the Sandwich Notch area may be protected if the plan is adopted.

Under the 1986 national forest policy, 25,000 acres are protected in the Sandwich range, but Lavigne would like to see more.

By falling under the category of “Protected Wilderness,” parts of the forest will not be subject to newly developed roadways and timber harvests. “The last thing the forest needs is more roadways,” Lavigne said.

“It’s all about the bottom line sometimes,” Lavigne said. “The timber base at lower elevations is great for logging and some people want to get at it.”

John Demos, Northeast representative for the American Lands Alliance, and a critic of the Bush Administration’s land use policies, supported the document.

“If this passes,” said Demos, “33,600 acres of wilderness will be protected.”



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