Cuddy Mountain, west of Council, is well known for its excellent habitat and hunting opportunities for big game, forest grouse and turkeys. Over the past several years, motorized vehicle use on trails not open under the current Payette National Forest Motor Vehicle Use (Travel) Plan has reduced the size and number of elk security areas, the quality of the hunting experience for some hunters, and created erosion issues that impact soil productivity and, in some cases, stream water quality.
The Council Ranger District contacted the Idaho Chapter BHA in mid-September to ask for help in erecting barriers across several trails to help reduce some of the problems. Dan Herrig of Boise serves on the Idaho BHA leadership team and coordinated with Payette Ranger District (RD) staff to identify some high priority locations where barriers and signage could be installed across illegal routes.
On a wet and snowy October 4th, a team of five Idaho BHA volunteers and two US Forest Service employees constructed buck and rail fences and installed Idaho Chapter BHA signs on four unauthorized roads (trails not open to motorized use). We hope the barriers will help prevent illegal motorized use of trails, encourage responsible recreation, reduce erosion, and create habitat security for elk and deer – and provide quiet hiking trails for big game, turkey and grouse hunters.
Motor Vehicle Use Maps are available to view and download as a PDF on the Maps and Publication page located on the left sidebar of each National Forest home page. They are also free in hard copy at any Forest Service office. Not all unauthorized roads are well signed, so it is important to take a minute to obtain maps for areas you plan to hunt or fish. Please do your part to hunt responsibly and remember – maintaining quality wildlife habitat is a team effort!