PUBLIC LANDS -- Every year, one can find the ruts of tire tracks over soggy forest roads -- as well as trails and even meadows.
This wet transition from winter to spring is the most vulnerable time of year for roads, trails and off-trail lands and their associated plants.
Colville National Forest officials do their best to remind visitors to drive only on roads designated open. Wet or muddy areas should be avoided.
Unfortunately, some people think it's cool to spin their wheels and gouge mud holes in public lands, promoting ruts, erosion, weeds and death to certaiin plant communities.
Never mind that it's illegal. It's also costly and stupid.
Old homestead meadows, which often include rare plant species, tend to be targeted by "mudders," forest officals say.
Wondering where you can legally drive a passenger vehicle or off-highway vehicle? The Colville National Forest has a Motor Vehicle Use Map that shows the roads and trails available to motorized travel. It's available ant any forest ranger station.
Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps also are available in Spokane at the BLM & Colville National Forest Information Office, 1103 N Fancher, in Spokane (509) 536-1200