Shoshone, Idaho – The Bureau of Land Management Shoshone Field Office is issuing a temporary emergency motorized closure on public lands in Blaine County, effective May 1, 2018. The closure affects five miles of the Martin Canyon Road and will remain in effect until summer 2019.
The Martin Canyon Fire burned 4,024 acres in August 2017 and 2,517 acres were reseeded later that fall. However, vegetation has not had time to re-establish to help hold soil in place and reduce the chances of erosion. In March 2018, over an inch of rain fell on frozen ground in the area burned by the fire east of Bellevue. The rainfall caused significant damage to the Martin Canyon Road, making it impassable to motorized vehicles and subject to further erosion.
“This motorized closure is necessary to ensure public safety, land health and resource integrity while the area recovers from the fire,” said John Kurtz, BLM outdoor recreation planner. “We need to give the hillside vegetation time to mature to prevent additional erosion before we start repairing the road.” The closure will also help prevent new user-created routes. While the area will remain open to non-motorized uses, the BLM encourages the public to use caution while recreating.
The BLM is aware that this area is a popular shooting range. Land managers are working with members of the local shooting community to redesign the road to ensure its resilience during these types of weather events and provide a safer shooting experience for the public.
Options for repairing or rerouting the Martin Canyon Road will be considered as a part of the Wood River Valley Travel Management Plan (TMP), which is scheduled for completion in early 2019. A draft of the TMP is expected to be released to the public later this spring. The public is encouraged to provide suggestions and comments at any time, but especially during the TMP comment period this spring.