Posts tagged: OHVs
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.
WINTER SPORTS — Backcountry skiers who have been negotiating against the near-total encroachment of snowmobiles into national forest playgrounds near Lookout Pass and Stevens Peak may find some support in a ruling handed down by a court in Boise.
A federal judge in Idaho says the U.S. Forest Service broke the law when it didn’t craft rules to govern snowmobile travel, handing powder-loving backcountry skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts a victory that could extend to national forests nationwide.
U.S. District Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush ruled Friday that the Forest Service must go back to work on its 2005 Travel Management Rule and draw up regulations designating areas of use and non-use by all off-road vehicles, including snowmobiles, on national forest lands.
See the story: Judge sides with backcountry skiers
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.
PUBLIC LANDS — The new supervisor of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in Oregon is touring Wallowa, Union and Baker counties this week to meet the public he will be serving in the wake of a flap over restricting motorized use on the forest.
Kevin Martin succeeds Monica Schwalbach, who has taken a new assignment with the Pacific Northwest Research Station in Portland.
She left less than 18 months after assuming responsibility for the Baker City-based forest.
The Wallowa-Whitman has been embroiled in controversy regarding its proposed travel management plan, which would have closed almost 4,000 miles of roads and trails to motor vehicle use.
Schwalbach withdrew the plan in April amid public protests, and it is being revised.
OFF-ROADING — The popular Fish Lake Trail #419, located 15 miles south of Hoodoo Pass, near the Idaho-Montana state line, has closed temporarily to motorized traffic, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest officials announced today.
Wet conditions forced the closure to prevent motor vehicles from causing damage to the trail and fragile high alpine meadows on the lake’s western edge.
Forest officials will reopen Trail #419 as soon as the waterlogged trail has dried out, firmed up and is once again suitable for recreational use.
For updates: Clearwater National Forest Information Desk, (208) 476-8267.
OFF-ROADING — It's no secret that off-road vehicle riders run rampant in some areas of national forests and other public lands that are closed to motorized traffic. But even if you catch them in the act, little can be done to report the offenses because ATVs and off-road dirt bikes don't need licence plates necessary for ID.
A compromise bill is in the works in the Washington Legislature that would help open more roads for OHV riding while getting a licensing requirement promoted by environmentalists. Many OHVers support the licensing portion of the bill to help deal with the bad apples in their ranks.
See Olympia reporter Jim Camden's Spin Control column for the details.
PUBLIC LANDS – Colville National Forest Supervisor Laura Jo West has withdrawn the South End Motor Vehicle Project enacted in November after years of planning to guide off-highway vehicle use.
This decision was appealed in January by Conservation Northwest, the Lands Council, and the Kettle Range Conservation Group.
West withdrew the project after the appeal was reviewed by the Regional Forester in Missoula. No timeline has been set for rewriting the project that would allow off-road vehicle riders to establish more legal riding routes on the south half of the 1.1 million acre forest.
The conservation groups appealed primarily on the basis that the project rewarded groups who illegally pioneered new trails in national forest areas where off-road travel had been prohibited.
“The South End project is an excellent project,” West said in a written statement. “Not only does it provide a wonderful network of family-friendly OHV routes that connect communities, it provides for the rehabilitation of heavily impacted campsites, stream corridors, and illegal motorized trails.
“I withdrew the decision so that we can supplement our analysis of the project to make sure the decision to proceed is based on solid rationale that fully considers the impact to other resources.”
PUBLIC LANDS — Getting no satisfaction from a letter of concern to the forest supervisor, three Washington-based conservation groups have appealed a Colville National Forest travel plan designating where ATVs, motorcycles and other off-highway vehicles can go at the south end of the 1.1 million acre forest.
The Lands Council, the Kettle Range Conservation Group and Conservation Northwest filed the appeal last week, charging among other things that the plan rewards lawbreaking OHV riders by legitimizing trails that were illegally made.
The groups sent a letter to Supervisor Laura Jo West on Dec. 22 expressing several concerns about the South End Project.
The supervisor replied that her decision would stand as is.
PUBLIC LANDS — Off-road vehicle riders have more routes for legally riding their ATVs and motorcycles on the Colville National Forest, according to a plan approved this month.
Forest Supervisor Laura Jo West signed the South End Motor Vehicle Management Plan, which designates roads and trails that create quality loops, connect communities and provide access, camping and parking.
The plan, two years in the making, designates motorized routes between U.S. Highway 395 and State Highway 20, including the Tacoma, Chewelah and Calispell drainages.
Read on for more details.
TRAILS — A federal judge has decided to temporarily close down trail access to off-road vehicles in sections of the Salmon-Challis National Forest pending a review of the forest's travel plan, the Idaho Statesman reports.
The order issued Tuesday follows a February ruling that the U.S. Forest Service had ignored evidence showing significant damage to trails and the landscape from off-road vehicles when it crafted its 2009 plan.
Brad Brooks of The Wilderness Society says the closure will ensure trails are protected until the forest managers can craft rules better protecting soil, water and vegetation from ATV's and other vehicles.
PUBLIC LANDS – They’re vandals on wheels, stealing the common from the wildlife and the public.
Off-road vehicle drivers have the capacity to do serious long-term and even permanent damage in minutes with the thoughtless use of their machines.
The land carnage by four-wheel drive and ATV enthusiasts is not uncommon on public lands.
I was reminded of this last night while hiking around Antoine Peak, the mountain that forms the backdrop for East Valley High School. More than 1,100 acres of the mountain have been secured over the last few years through the Spokane County Conservation Futures Program.
It’s a spectacular wildlife refuge. I saw turkey vultures, hawks and ravens soaring over Antoine’s 3,373-foot summit and wild turkeys and quail on the ground – all within minutes. I saw deer, elk and moose tracks while looking over the Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake.
But I also saw the rampant recent damage by off-road vehicles, which are prohibited in the Antoine Conservation area. These are probably the same people who disregarded the no trespassing signs on the land when it was still privately owned.
Buying one of these vehicles does not come with a license to destroy public land and wildlife habitat. The law should require visible license plates so the public has a way of reporting the vandals when we spot them in action.
There destructiveness is undefendable. It's selfishness on wheels.
CONSERVATION — The Backcountry Hunters & Anglers of Washington group is meeting in the Colville National Forest Friday through Sunday for its annual summer meeting and work party.
This year's habitat projects will focus on Middle Fork of Calispell Creek, where the group plans to build split-rail fencing and repair ATV abuses in an area called Delaney Meadows.
“This area is notorious for abuse, but enforcement has been cracking down here, bettering the chances our efforts will not be dashed nights later by more outlaw riders,” said Jeff Holmes, BHA member, adding that there also will be plenty of campfire discussion about fishing and big-game hunting in the area.
Sportsmen who want to engage with the group can contact Jeff Holmes email@example.com or Joe Mirasole firstname.lastname@example.org
TRAILS — A popular Bitterroot Mountains destination for ATVers up from the North Fork of the Clearwater River has been closed to motorized traffic temporarily because of lingering snow and wet conditions, the Clearwater National Forest says.
Fish Lake Trail 419, located 15 miles south of Hoodoo Pass near the Idaho-Montana state line, is closed to motor vehicles to prevent damage to the trail and fragile high alpine meadows on the lake’s western edge, where ATVers like to congregate.
The trail is still snow-covered in many places, said Adam McClory, the Clearwater's North Zone recreation staff officer. The dispersed campsites located near the lake are also under snow.
McClory said that Forest officials hope to reopen the trail in mid-August.
BIG-GAME HUNTING — Idaho Fish and Game officials are asking hunters whether trophy-species tag holders should be required to abide by the same motorized vehicle restrictions other hunters must obey.
After getting feedback from hunters for years, the agency is proposing to apply motorized restrictions to trophy hunts in game management units where restrictions already apply to big game hunts in the southern half of Idaho (see map).
Motorized vehicle restrictions were adopted years ago to resolve many hunters’ concerns about off-road travel conflicting with other hunters in the field.
Typically, these rules restrict the use of any vehicle while hunting, including ATVs, ORV and motorcycles, to established road open to a full-sized automobile. Hunters may use any motorized vehicle to retrieve downed game or to set up camp, if travel in the area is allowed by the land owner or manager.
Motorized vehicle restrictions can be applied to any big game hunt, including trophy species (moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat). But the restrictions have not been applied to trophy species hunts. This has lead to situations in which other big game hunters, such as elk, deer and bear hunters, were restricted in an area while trophy hunters, at the same time, could use motorized vehicles.
Click here to register your comment by July 25 in Fish and Game's online survey.
PUBLIC LANDS — Motorized Vehicle Use Maps are available for the Bonners Ferry, Priest Lake and Sandpoint Ranger Districts. The maps can be found at Idaho Panhandle National Forests offices along with the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District’s map, which was introduced in 2010.
Free to the public, the maps display the roads and trails currently designated for motor vehicle use on the districts.
The MVUM for the forest’s northern districts is based on the current road and trail systems in place. The MVUM does not add or subtract from current legal routes, but is intended to provide a clear depiction of legal motorized vehicle routes available to the public.
Read on for more details and the importance of having this map aboard any motor vehicle heading onto the forests.
PUBLIC LANDS — The Colville National Forest on Tuesday announced a 30-day public comment period on a long-awaied motor vehicle access plan for the south end of the 1.1 million acre northeastern Washington forest.
The South End Motor Vehicle Management Project involves the area between the Colville and Pend Oreille Rivers and between the towns of Cusick and Chewelah.
Read on for details.
PUBLIC LANDS — Officials from the Clearwater National Forest released a photo this morning showing the damage University of Idaho fraternity members caused to public land last year. The fraternity recently paid the U.S. Forest Service $4,382 in a court case over damages they caused by building an illegal road into a meadow.
The photo leaves little doubt that forest officals weren't overreacting.
On May 5, 2010, several members of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity were charged with creating a road into Vassar Meadows on the Palouse Ranger District.
“Suspects admitted they knew it was wrong to drive in the meadow, but once the rough road was created, others arriving followed suit creating more damage,” said Laura Smith, forest spokeswoman. “At least one vehicle was stuck creating deep ruts in the meadow.”
The U.S. District Court in Moscow and a federal prosecutor agreed to have the fraternity to pay full restitution for the resource damage.
Smith said the Forest Service will use the money to restore the meadow and block further access to the area.
“We are vigorously going after violators who are going off roads and we want them to know that if they're caught there's a legal issue to deal with as well as restitution for the damage,” said Stephen Bryant, Forest Service enforcement investigator.
The damage caused by illegal off-road riding isn't just ugly, he said. “It spreads noxious weeds, creates roads others will follow, damages plant communities and takes away the beauty of North Idaho meadows.”
PUBLIC LANDS — The U.S. Forest Service on Tuesday denied a request filed last year from 90 recreation groups asking that snowmobiles on national forest lands be managed under the same guidelines applied to all other classes of off-road vehicles.
Those guidelines, established in 2005, require that ORVs stay on designated roads or trails unless an area is specifically declared open to off-road travel.
Read on for the rest of the story as reported online by Jule Banville of New West.