Posts tagged: off-roading
PUBLIC LANDS — I don't care much if you drive onto your own land and rip it to shreds with your four-wheel drive vehicle as long as you're not polluting public waters downstream.
But the chronic spring problem of mudboggers ripping public lands to shreds is disgusting to the core.
Photos here show two recent abuses from the Colville National Forest and the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. Memorial Day weekend was a free-for-all on portions of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests, where Forest Service officers wrote ticket after ticket and never scratched the surface of the off-road riding abuse.
Here's an observation from Franklin Pemberton, spokesman for the Colville:
Most of the truly obvious abuse (torn up meadows and giant mud holes next to or on roads) are from individuals in 4X4 vehicles that actively seek out a “mudding” experience in meadows or on fragile spring roads. In one instance we had a “mudder” completely destroy a beautiful meadow that once had a crystal clear small stream running through it by driving a circuit through the meadow and spinning their tires in order to create deeper mud. They did this over and over again all the while digging deep ruts that diverted a once clear stream into a muddy series of pools and puddles. (Pictures attached) This was near Big Meadow Lake.
The sad thing is, many of these mudders have no idea that the stream they damage was feeding Big Meadow Lake and will degrade the water quality and reduce the number of fish the lake can support. A few of the people we have caught in the past claimed to be avid hunters and anglers and were shocked at how this activity can impact fish and wildlife aside from water quality and the spread of noxious and invasive weeds.
Here's today's report about recent damage on the Nez Perce-Clearwater:
Forest Service officials have discovered evidence of extensive resource damage near Camp 60, a popular site for camping and off-highway vehicle use, on the North Fork Ranger District of the Nez-Perce Clearwater National Forests.
An area that was, until recently, a beautiful meadow, has now been transformed into a giant mud bog, covering approximately .25 acre of National Forest System Lands. In addition, new illegal routes have been developed, crossing through area streams.
While an exact date of when the resource damage occurred has yet to be determined, Forest Service officials believe that the activity took place very recently, perhaps within the past two weeks.
If anyone has information pertaining to this incident, please contact Law Enforcement Officer Steve Bryant at (208) 875-1131.
OFF-ROADING — While turkey hunting on private timber company land last week I was appalled, again, at how many illigal ATV trails were pioneered by goons who think they have a right to have their way with someone else's property.
Washington Fish and Wildlife police say the practice is all to common, and law-abiding off-roaders are losing access to public and private lands because of these law breakers who go off roads without permisson.
Here's a sad report posted Monday by the WDFW enforcementd division regarding officers patroling Department of Natural Resources land in Western Washington near Amboy.
…Illegal ATV trails that eventually become wide enough for a full-size truck are popping up all over DNR and PacifiCorp lands. Due to the increase in this illegal and destructive activity, Officers Chamberlin and Moats planned an emphasis patrol recently to address the problem. So when they drove past five jacked-up trucks parked at the Chelatchie Prairie store, the Officers made deliberate eye contact with the group, hoping to dissuade them from using any nearby land as their own personal 4x4 playground…. so much for that tactic.
Officers Moats and Chamberlin retrieved their own ATVs and headed into the area shortly after. And who did they find? You guessed it – the same five vehicles deep in DNR land, and deep in the mud, as two of the trucks were nearly stuck in one area of the unauthorized ‘trail.’
Seven subjects were cited for trespass and ORV violations in this one incident.
PUBLIC LANDS — The Blue Ribbon Coalition and the Idaho Snowmobile Association filed a lawsuit against the Clearwater National Forest for its travel plan that bans motorcycles, off-road vehicles, snowmobiles and mountain bikes in the Great Burn wilderness study area on the Idaho-Montana border, according to a story by the Idaho Statesman.
“Only Congress can designate wilderness. We cannot stand idly by and watch them change the long-established system for managing these treasured lands.”
—Sandra Mitchell, public lands director of the Idaho State Snowmobile Association.
“I see this as full frontal assault on wilderness. They are making essentially the argument that the Forest Service doesn’t have the power to protect wilderness character as a multiple use of public lands”
—Brad Brooks, deputy regional director of the Wilderness Society in Boise.
OFF-ROADING — The supervisor of the Nez Perce National Forest has criticized the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, contending the state agency tried to rile up off-road vehicle riders over a proposed plan that could limit their access to the forest’s trails.
An e-mail exchange that’s emerged and reported by the Associated Press shows Supervisor Rick Brazell criticized a Nov. 3 letter that the state agency sent to off-highway vehicle riders encouraging them to comment on a proposed travel management plan.
Brazell moved to the Nez Perce/Clearwater national forests last year after earning a reputation on the Colville National Forest for bringing disparate groups together for compromises.
In his e-mail to Idaho Parks, Brazell questioned what he called “using a state database to get folks upset without giving the whole story.”
Parks director Nancy Merrill responded, saying the letter was to inform riders, not lead them to conclusions.
The Idaho Conservation League says it fears the correspondence may show Merrill’s agency favors one recreation group over others: Hikers, horseback riders, anglers and hunters concerned about wildlife habitat affected by trails.
FOUR-WHEELING — A 22-year-old Ellensburg man who was outed by disgruntled off-road vehicle enthusiasts was ordered last week to pay $2,000 to help restore a Reecer Creek meadow that he extensively damaged with his pickup.
Jose Mora Villanueva, 22, was charged in U.S. District Court in Yakima with damaging the land through off-road use of a vehicle, according to the Associated Press.
The case was filed in August after off-road enthusiasts reported to the Forest Service that they saw pictures of the damaged area posted on a Craigslist advertisement where Mora was trying to sell the truck.