Plumas Forest Off-Highway Vehicle Restrictions

Nov 17, 2010 8:15 PM

Its dirt bike and motorcycle riders versus the red legged frog in a fight over land in the Plumas National Forest. Doug Teeter, Sierra Access Coalition Member says, "It's the rights we all have as citizens to use our national forests."

Butte County recreation enthusiasts are upset with the changes in the Plumas National Forest. On Tuesday, representatives held an open house to explain the recent "motorized travel management" document, that was adopted last week. Basically limiting where off-highway vehicles, OHV's, can ride within the forest.

Matt Colwell, S. Feather Water Division Manager says, "I think the big problem now is they're changing the policy without actually listening to the local community." For five years, off-highway drivers were asked to work with the forest service to help pick the roads and trails they wanted to continue using.

Doug says, "they give you this dream of lets work toward the future, but after 6 years I haven't seen anything but closures." Closures of 90 percent of "single-track" motorcycle trails. Which according to Plumas National Forest spokesperson, Leeanne Taylor, were put into place to protect the environment. Leeanne says, "our job is to balance the integrity of our eco-system and balance that with people's right to access."

Taylor explains that out of the nearly 4500 miles of road and trails in the forest, "quad" users can use 4300, and unlicensed motorcyclists can use 3800 miles of the land. Routes could be added in the future, but only after surveys have been done to ensure the red-legged frog, an endangered species, would not be in danger. Leeanne says, "if those surveys prove that we're not going to impact the species we may be able to add routes in there in the future."


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