Forest Service Proposes Change For OHV Trails

November 2012 Powersport News, Travel

By Joyce Edlefsen

Rexburg (Idaho) Standard Journal

Ashton, Idaho - After a few years of preliminary work, the Ashton-Island Park Ranger District has come up with a proposal for changes in management of off-highway trails and use in the ranger district.

The agency is seeking comments, concerns, ideas or issues people may have regarding the proposal.

Comments are requested by Dec. 10 to be included in the review period known as "scoping."

The proposal affects areas open to cross-country OHV travel. It also designates OHV trails that connect to the forest transportation system.

The agency says changes are needed "to provide a safe and sustainable travel system that reduces resource impacts, improves public safety, improves access and improves the ability to enforce travel restrictions."

What the proposal would do is designate about 37 miles of OHV trails. Of those, about 11 miles of forest roads currently closed to public motor vehicle use will convert to OHV trails. About 25 miles of user-created routes will convert to forest trails, which will require reconstruction. And, about 1 mile of trail will require new construction.

The proposal would close two designated areas, "F" and "D" on forest maps, to cross-country OHV travel. That change will involve an amendment to the forest plan.

In the West End area of Island Park Reservoir, the proposal would open the area to OHV cross-country travel.

The proposal would provide for clearing, grading and graveling two parking areas and installing information bulletin boards in each ATV parking area-trailhead. Six cattle guards would be built to accommodate ATV use under the proposal.

The district's proposal would allow for decommissioning about 15 miles of forest roads and closing and rehabilitating about 77 miles of user-created routes that are not part of the forest transportation system. The closures would be by building or placing barriers such as jack fence or rock boulders or by scattering slash. Routes with heavy soil compaction would be scarified to allow vegetation to grow back.

For specific information, click here.

To be most useful, comments should be received by Dec. 10 and should address specific concerns regarding this proposal.

The agency expects to release an environmental document analyzing effects of the proposal in March. It's proposed for implementation next summer.

Maps will be available for review at the Ashton and Island Park offices Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or they may be viewed or downloaded from the web site listed above.

Written comments should be sent to Island Park OHV Trails, attention Brandon Burke, P.O. Box 858, Ashton, ID 83420.

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