In late April 2018, BHA members Bryan Moore, Hunter Moore and Clay Moore drove to a trailhead on the Emmett Ranger District of the Boise National Forest. The Moore's were planning to hike along a non-motorized trail to do some bear hunting. Upon arriving at the trailhead, the Moore's realized they were not the only people at this spot, there was an ATV legally parked at the buck-n-rail fence and signs that clearly mark the start of the non-motorized trail. In an effort to be respectful of the other public land user, likely another hunter, the Moore's decided to hike up the opposite ridge a short distance to see if they could use binoculars to determine where the other person had gone. Shortly into the glassing session, Hunter (17) and Clay (14) noticed a white Jeep bouncing through the mountains along the non-motorized trail. The Jeep was headed down the trail, back towards the trailhead. The Moore's were able to photograph the Jeep as it drove off-trail, around around the fence and right past the legally parked ATV.
Being aware of the proper protocol, the Moore's contacted the Emmett Ranger District and reported the incident and provided the photographs to the Forest Service law enforcement officer. The Forest Service conducted a brief investigation and cited the driver of the Jeep for a violation (36 CFR 261.13 travel in violation of the motor vehicle use map). The fine was $200 plus $30 court fees.
Being aware of the BHA rewards program, the Moore's were able to contact BHA and receive a $500 reward for their role in helping the Forest Service law enforcement cite the offender. Bryan says the family plans to use the $500 to get his sons some new hunting equipment as positive reinforcement for being good stewards of our public lands. Bryan further added, "my sons know the frustration of hiking many hard miles only to find illegal vehicle tracks in the backcountry. When they saw the Jeep driving on a closed trail, instinct took over and they took photos of the illegal activity and made notes on the type of vehicle being driven. I’m proud to see them take the initiative to report the illegal activity.”
Richard Newton, Ranger for the Emmett District, had this to say of the Moore's efforts, "this citation would not be possible without your awareness and assistance. We need more community-minded folks like you to help us manage our public lands".
As an interesting coincidence, the buck-n-rail fence had been constructed the previous year by volunteers from the Idaho chapter of BHA, in collaboration with the Forest Service. The Forest Service had contacted BHA because of high levels of illegal motorized use in this area.
BHA encourages all motorized users to follow regulations for all trails and roads. Motor Vehicle Use Maps are free and can be acquired through any U.S. Forest Service district office and many can be found online and are available for download. If you witness illegal motorized use, do the following:
- Photograph or copy license plate, ORV sticker or VIN and provide description of vehicle.
- Photograph vehicle, tracks or other evidence, with identifiable landmarks.
- Record GPS or map location of incident.
- Video or write a description of what you saw, when you saw it, the location and specifics about number of people and vehicles involved and any other pertinent info.
- Contact a game warden or local law enforcement, preferable the law enforcement with the land management agency where the incident occurred.