POCATELLO, ID (Nov. 2, 2005) - The BlueRibbon Coalition is supportive of the new Forest Service's final "Off-road-vehicle Management Rule" announced today in Washington D.C. by USFS Chief Dale Bosworth. The Rule will restrict off road motor vehicles to designated routes and areas agency wide.
"I pledged our cooperation to Chief Bosworth when he told me about his intentions before he even publicly announced his plans on this issue," said BlueRibbon Coalition Founder and Executive Director Clark Collins. "I told Bosworth, at that time, that the key to making this work is involving local recreation users in the decision making process at the local level. It looks like he agrees with that view," Collins continued.
A key component of this new rule is that the agency can still designate "open" areas where appropriate. "Some areas are appropriate for an 'open' designation and we are glad that provision is still in the Rule," says Collins.
"Some forests have ignored off-highway-vehicle management in the past and that is where we have the most problems," says Collins. "This rule says that OHVs are an important growing use of our public lands and should be managed to provide quality recreation opportunities while protecting the resources."
"OHV users 'put their money where there mouth is,' supporting state and federal programs that provide funding for recreation management on public lands," Collins concluded. "We are committed to assisting our land managers financially, through the funding programs that we support, and will work cooperatively with the Forest Service to ensure this Rule is implemented in a way that benefits a broad range of recreation interests."
OHV recreationists now need to work with their local Forest Service office to ensure that all the routes they use are included in a complete and accurate trail inventory. "Keeping your favorite trails a secret is a sure fire recipe for disaster," according to Collins. "If they aren't included in the inventory they are certain to not be designated and I caution OHVers to not think the authorities can't catch them. That is a sure fire recipe for making the entire OHV community look bad."
User created routes were recognized in the final rule as being eligible for inclusion in the inventory and considered for designation as part of the final road and trail system. "We kept reminding the Chief throughout this process that 'user created routes' needed to be considered. We're delighted to see them included in the final Rule," said Collins.
"This national Rule has the potential to help recreationists in areas where the local Forest manager has a negative attitude toward OHV recreation. Some land managers have misinterpreted the Chief's intent to mean, 'close down the trails until it can be proven they don't impact anything - or anyone - in any way.' Those land managers just need to be reminded by local users that this Rule stresses responsibly 'managing' OHV recreation, not eliminating it."