ePlanning DOI-BLM-NV-L060-2019-0004-EA (White Pine County Silver State Trail)  
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12/21/2018 10:06:49 MST
The Bureau of Land Management Ely District, Bristlecone Field Office is asking the public to provide input on a proposal to designate in White Pine County a signed trail system consisting of existing roads and trails that would be open to all uses. The public scoping period has been extended until February 1, 2019.  Additional opportunity for public involvement will include a 60 - day public comment period for the preliminary Environmental Assessment when it goes to the public spring 2019.
The White Pine County Commission has requested that BLM prepare an environmental assessment analyzing routes for a potential trail system. The BLM will consider one new proposed route and one route previously selected as the Silver State Off-Highway Vehicle Trail.  The BLM may consider additional alternatives based on cooperating agency and public input.

Proposed Action :  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Bristlecone Field Office would designate the Silver State Trail (SST) on existing roads and trails within White Pine County. The trail designation may connect to the Lincoln County SST and generally run in a north-south direction with possible spur routes. This action would not preclude or change the management or use that is already established on existing routes.

Purpose:  The purpose is to designate the SST on existing routes on federal lands within White Pine County.
Need for Proposal: The need is established by the Bureau of Land Management’s responsibility under the Federal Lands Policy Management Act (FLPMA) and Title III, Subtitle E, Section 355 (b), (c), and (d) of the White Pine County Conservation, Recreation, and Development Act (White Pine Act ) of 2006 .  The White Pine Act states that in consultation with State, County, and public, a preferred route shall be identified and designated if it is determined not to have significant negative impacts to resources, is an effort to extend the Lincoln County section of the Silver State Off-Highway Vehicle Trail, is consistent with any uses of the trail that are authorized under applicable Federal and State laws and regulations,  ensures the safety of those who use the trail, is monitored annually, and may be temporarily closed or permanently rerouted if the route is having negative impacts to resources or is a concern for public safety.

Alternative A (Preferred Alternative)
Alternative A, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Preferred Alternative, was developed by resource specialists with a focus on user safety while avoiding resource concerns.  The routes are well traveled, improved and are regularly maintained.  Alternative A would designate 201 miles of existing routes with connection to the town of Ely as the Silver State Trail (SST).  This designated route would have extended recreation opportunities, as well as day-trip loop options.  Alternative A would extend south to the Lincoln County line, but would not connect to the designated SST in Lincoln County.  
•             The routes are well traveled, improved and are regularly maintained, and are therefore accessible to more users.
•             Alternative A would provide navigable access through Cave, Steptoe, and Butte Valleys.
•             Alternative A utilizes the existing Egan Crest Recreation Area Trailhead.
•             Alternative A crosses no other federally managed lands.
•             Alternative A would not cross any U.S. Highway s.
Alternative A would begin in Cave Valley just north of the White Pine/Lincoln County line.  It would remain on the Cave Valley road through Cave and South Steptoe Valleys ending at U.S. Highway 6/50/93 just north of Commins Lake. 
Traveling north from Ely there are three options for continuing travel on the SST:  Egan Crest Recreation Area Trailhead just west of Ely on U.S. Highway 50, Smith Valley, and Steptoe Valley at the southernmost extent of Steptoe Valley Road.  The two westerly options conjoin for about ten miles in South Butte Valley and then split to continue up Butte Valley to the county line or into Egan Basin.  There are several loops that would allow you to travel over Telegraph Peak, through Egan Canyon and through the town of Cherry Creek.  The easterly option will take you north to the town of Cherry Creek with loop options of Telegraph Peak, Egan Canyon or through Cherry Creek into Butte Valley.  Alternative A would end at the White Pine/Elko County line

 Alternative B
Alternative B was initially developed based on the 2004 proposal submitted by the public to the Nevada Congressional Delegation for inclusion in the White Pine Act. Adjustments to the original proposal were made in order to remain on existing roads and trails and avoid single-track motorcycle routes . Alternative B would designate 335 miles of existing routes across White Pine County.  Alternative B would extend south to the Lincoln County line, but would not connect to the designated SST in Lincoln County.
•             Alternative B would contain routes that are not improved nor regularly maintained and may not be accessible to users with less experience.
•             Alternative B would provide connectors to the towns of Eureka and Lund.
•             Alternative B utilizes the existing Egan Crest Recreation Area Trailhead.
•             Alternative B would cross Forest Service managed lands.
•             Alternative B would have multiple U.S. Highway crossings.
Alternative B would begin in Lake Valley at the White Pine /Lincoln County line.  It would travel north along the Mt. Grafton Wilderness boundary into South Steptoe Valley, where there would be an option of a westerly spur to the town of Lund.  From the spur junction, the route would continue north through South Steptoe Valley.  It would parallel the Cave Valley Road and the Egan Range utilizing Forest Service managed lands, and end on U.S. Highway 6/50/93 just south of Ely. 
Traveling north from Ely, Alternative B would continue behind the Ely Landfill and head northwest connecting to the Egan Crest Recreation Area Trailhead.   The route would continue northwest with two highway crossings of U.S. Highway 50 at Robinson Summit. The route would split into two travel options: a westerly spur to Eureka, and the northern route to the Elko County line.
The westerly spur would cross through the southern mountains of Butte and Long Valleys, crossing U.S. Highway 50, and entering Forest Service managed lands.  It would travel through Mt. Hamilton and into Railroad Valley before heading northwest through Newark Valley, where it would cross U.S. Highway 50 and end at the White Pine/Eureka County line approximately 8 miles north of where U.S. Highway 50 crosses into Eureka County. 
The Northern route would travel through Butte Valley, crossing the Egan Range at
Telegraph Peak.  Alternative B would continue into and across Steptoe Valley crossing U.S. Highway 93.  It would head north along the Schell Creek Range traversing the southern, eastern and northern boundary of the Becky Peak Wilderness.  Alternative B would terminate at the White Pine/Elko County line on U.S. Highway 93A.