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Mon., March 26, 2012, 7:05 a.m.

4,000 miles of roads closed on Wallowa-Whitman forest

PUBLIC LANDS -- Passenger cars, ATVs, dirt bikes and four-wheel-drive rigs will be prohibited on on nearly 4,000 miles of roads in northeastern Oregon's Wallowa-Whitman National Forest starting in June.

The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest management plan, entered last week into the Federal Register -- prohibits motorized vehicles on 3,835 miles of roads and ATV trails in a 1.3 million-acre area of the forest in Union, Baker and Wallowa counties.

Opponents based in Enterprise already are organizing. They have 45 days to appeal. However, some groups and fisheries officials support the closure.

Earlier versions of the policy triggered one of the most vocal resistance efforts in the state, with more than 6,000 people signing petitions urging the U.S. Forest Service to leave all the forest's roads open, according to a story by the Oregonian.

The changes don't affect motorized travel in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, but they will affect some areas used by groups such asberry pickers and hunters.

 There's still plenty of places to go by motor power. The 2.3 million-acre Wallowa-Whitman has a total of 9,111 miles of road.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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