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2007 only designated area's will be legal


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  • 2007 only designated area's will be legal

    Many states have forest plans that allow for cross-country travel.
    There is a move, as noted in this article, for those forests to shift
    to a "designated route" travel plan.

    The Forest Service in California is in the early stages of a complete
    route inventory of all forest routes. Their final goal is to create
    a designated route system by 2007.

    Arizona forests are also working on a similar effort.

    Early indications are that if a route is not on the forest inventory,
    it is considered closed. Routes on the forest inventory will be
    evaluated for benefit and either added to the designated route system
    or closed.

    Public involvement is essential to ensure your routes of interest are
    included in the inventory AND documented.

    It is up to you to help preserve your recreation routes of interest.



    Feds ponder how to curb misuse of off-highway vehicles

    Salt Lake Tribune

    Calling off-highway vehicles one of the four "great threats" to
    ecosystems, the U.S. Forest Service is considering new rules that
    would clamp down on unregulated use.

    A special planning team of Forest Service officials met in Salt Lake
    City on Wednesday to begin planning strategies to better manage the
    exploding popularity of OHVs, particularly the ubiquitous all-terrain

    The team _ led by Jack Troyer, the Ogden, Utah-based Intermountain
    regional forester _ was organized quietly last summer at the
    direction of Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth.

    "Jack has been charged by the chief to figure out how we are going to
    go about dealing with this issue," said agency spokeswoman Heidi

    In the near future, the Forest Service is expected to announce
    proposed changes to federal rules to virtually prohibit so-called
    cross-country OHV travel, in which vehicles depart from designated

    The initiative is being met with cautious optimism by
    environmentalists and OHV advocacy groups, which still are trying to
    learn more about it.

    "There are few areas in the forest where open, cross-country travel
    is really appropriate," said Brian Hawthorne, director of the Utah
    Shared Access Alliance, an OHV group.

    "We want to see trail systems that are manageable, sustainable and

    Forest Service officials say unauthorized cross-country travel has
    proliferated, causing management headaches.

    "Tens of millions of OHVs are now in use _ far more than even 10
    years ago," Bosworth said last year in a speech on Earth Day.

    "With all those millions of users, even a tiny percentage of problem
    use presents us with a big and growing problem."

    Bosworth said "hundreds of miles of wildcat roads and trails" are
    created each year, damaging meadows, streambeds and other sensitive

    Conservationists for years have complained about the rising tide of
    OHV use, but they say the Forest Service, like the U.S. Bureau of
    Land Management, has been slow to respond.

    The federal land-management agencies say they have too few resources
    to identify and mark appropriate trails or to enforce existing laws.

    But the recent statements from Bosworth and the formation of the
    Troyer-led team have encouraged environmental groups.

    "There appears to be a commitment at all levels in the (Forest
    Service) to get a handle on this problem," said Scott Kovarovics,
    director of the Washington-based National Trails and Waters
    Coalition. "They genuinely want to change how they've managed this

    To date, supervisors of the country's 175 national forests, which
    cover 192 million acres, have generally been left with little
    national guidance or clout in tackling OHV issues. As a result, some
    forests are more strict than others in regulating OHV use.

    In Utah, the Wasatch-Cache and Uinta national forests, through newly
    revised management plans, restricted OHVs to designated trails only.
    The Ashley National Forest recently instituted an emergency ban of
    cross-country travel pending the revision of its management plan.

    While the environmental and OHV communities agree with the concept of
    cracking down on unauthorized OHV use in the forests, they may
    disagree over how the Forest Service should do it.

    Kovarovics said the agency needs to "start with a blank map,"
    immediately closing unauthorized routes until OHV use has been
    determined to be benign to the environment.

    "There's never been an analysis of all the impacts of unauthorized
    trails," Kovarovics said.

    "If they say everything that exists now is legal and they're just not
    going to add to it, then that's not real reform."

    Hawthorne said he is nervous about a national rule change, arguing
    that OHV issues should be dealt with on the forest's district level.

    He also said he hopes reason will prevail when it comes to closing roads.

    Closing all unauthorized roads is not practical, he said. "You are
    going to make a lawbreaker out of the law-abiding fisherman who has
    always been driving down a certain road."

    Closing all the unauthorized routes also could overly concentrate
    motorized use on authorized routes, causing traffic congestion and
    road damage, which leads to environmental damage, he said.

    Non-text portions of this message have been removed.

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