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.
- The Backcountry Hunters and Anglers group offers rewards for people who pass on information that leads to the arrest of these off-roading criminals who desecrate public lands.
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.