Responsible Use of Off-Highway
Vehicles Stressed in Mendocino
August 31, 2004 - The
Mendocino National Forest is asking the public help spread the word
about safe and appropriate use of Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) on the
With the onset of the fall deer
hunting season Forest officials have seen a rise in the level of OHV
use, and also a significant increase in illegal use. Illegal use has
included operating in closed or restricted areas, trespassing around
locked gates and riding double or without helmets on all terrain
"We have received several public
complaints regarding illegal OHV trespass and resource damage to glades
and other sensitive areas. Due to this increasing lack of compliance,
we have decided to emphasize OHV education and enforcement
efforts,"said Jack Horner, Recreation Officer. “The public feels that
the resource damage and violations of OHV laws is unacceptable and we
agree. Our mission is to provide safe, environmentally sound recreation
for all visitors," he said.
One particular area of concern is
the newly annexed 22,500 acres of the previously privately owned
"Commander Tract" on the Grindstone Ranger District.
"Operation of OHVs on public lands
is no different than any other activity. It is the responsibility of
hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts to know the
established laws regulating their sports, and likewise for OHV users,"
The Forest Land and Resource
Management Plan allows OHV travel only on designated trails and certain
unimproved roads. There are hundreds of miles of designated OHV routes
on the southern portion of the Forest. Many of these areas are
specifically managed for OHV recreation and where this is the
Additionally, there are 1900 miles
of unimproved roads where the public can legally operate OHVs, unless
gated or signed as "closed". It should be noted that the Forest does
not manage these roads exclusively for OHVs and in some areas these
routes may not connect with other roads or trails where OHV use is
Free maps of designated OHV trails
are available at all Mendocino National Forest offices and the Forest
Recreation Map, for sale for $6.00, identifies all roads and trails
where OHV use is allowed.
In addition to stepped-up
enforcement to control illegal use, the Forest's law enforcement
officers will also be aggressively enforcing vehicle registration,
spark arrestor and noise laws relating to the operation of OHVs, both
in the field and at strategic checkpoints.
"We have no desire to discourage
legal recreationists, but we need to raise public awareness and work on
this problem together with the users so we can continue to sustain OHV
use on this Forest," Horner said. "With all the miles of legal trails
and roads, there should be no reason that visitors should not be able
to have a safe, legal OHV experience on the Mendocino National Forest."
For additional information, please
contact Jack Horner at (530) 934-1167, TTD (530) 934-7724; or Patrol
Captain Daryl Rush at (530) 934-1164.
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