Idaho Issues of Concern

  1. Elimination of all cross country travel by ATV's on public land (BLM, USFS, State (IDL)).

  2. The IDFG must retain its ability to regulate ATV use as an aid to hunting.

  3. Non-motorized regulations exist throughout the state that are regularly ignored. Funds and personnel must be made available to enforce existing motorized closures on public lands.

  4. We support protection of lands identified by the BLM as having "wilderness character", and feel the recent order by Secretary Salazar should be adopted without modification or delay.

In 2005, then U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth identified off-road vehicles/all-terrain vehicles (ORVs and ATVs) as among the top four threats to the national forest system. “I could show you slide after slide,” wrote Bosworth, “tire tracks running through wetlands, riparian areas churned into mud, banks collapsed and bleeding into streams, ruts in trails so deep you can literally fall in, meadows turned into dustbowls. Water quality deteriorates, soil erodes and native plant communities decline, partly because invasive weeds are spread by tires going where they shouldn’t be going. Such use also threatens habitat for threatened, endangered and sensitive species.”

This view is supported by Mike Dombeck, who as former chief of the U.S. Forest Service and acting director of the Bureau of Land Management wrote; “During my tenure as chief of the U.S. Forest Service, many Forest supervisors and rangers reported to me that they regard off-road vehicle management as the most challenging, land damaging, resource issue that they face professionally. Developing scientifically based, off-road vehicle use guidelines was high on my list of priorities, along with the need to protect roadless areas and old-growth forests. I believe that off-road vehicles have their place on public lands, but that they must not be allowed to degrade the land or impair its long-term sustainability or ecosystem function.”

Idaho BHA believes that the dramatic increase in ORV numbers in recent years, together with the availability of increasingly powerful machines capable of accessing previously remote areas, and the growing wealth and political power of the ORV user/industry coalition, have created urgent and difficult problems for public-lands fish and wildlife resources in Idaho and beyond. While the Forest Service has a network of “system” roads that’s six times longer than the entire national Interstate highway system, the additional mileage of illegal, user-created, un-engineered motorized routes is even more worrisome, having massive negative impacts on watersheds, wildlife and aquatic habitat, and traditional quiet-use recreational opportunities.

For these reasons, Idaho BHA supports requiring standard automobile sized license plates for all ATVs, and feels a portion of the licensing fees associated with the license plates be specifically allocated toward enforcement of motorized travel restrictions. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game should be a recipient of funds allocated for enforcement of motorized travel restrictions.

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