A University of Idaho fraternity has paid the U.S. Forest Service $4,382 in a court case over damages it caused by building an illegal road into a Clearwater National Forest meadow.
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 area 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,” he said.