IDAHO-BLM- Four Rivers Field Office Releases Draft Plan for Big Willow OHV Area

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May 07, 2012 11:22 AM

In May 2011, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) closed the popular "Big Willow" OHV area in Payette County to protect habitat for Packard's milkvetch. The Packard's milkvetch is a plant that is listed as "candidate species" for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Motorized travel on lands adjacent to these roads and trails was also restricted. The closure affects approximately 7,100 acres northwest of Emmett, Idaho, which the BLM administers.

IDAHO-BLM- Four Rivers Field Office Releases Draft Plan for Big Willow OHV Area
Comment deadline May 25, 2012

Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,

In May 2011, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) closed the popular "Big Willow" OHV area in Payette County to protect habitat for Packard's milkvetch. The Packard's milkvetch is a plant that is listed as "candidate species" for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Motorized travel on lands adjacent to these roads and trails was also restricted. The closure affects approximately 7,100 acres northwest of Emmett, Idaho, which the BLM administers.

It took some time, but the Four Rivers Field Office has released a "scoping/information package" which summarizes the BLM's new draft management plan for the popular area. The proposal addresses management changes to the OHV area and route designations, grazing management and vegetation treatments.

The BLM is proposing to: 1) change the off-highway vehicle (OHV) designation on approximately 7,400 acres of BLM administered lands in the Big Willow Creek area, 2) designate routes open for OHV use, 3) maintain and enhance Packard's milkvetch habitat, 4) and manage livestock grazing to protect vegetation treatments.

The purpose of this report is to solicit comments from the public and OHV users that will be used in the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) and planning effort and will be used to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA). The BLM hopes to complete the process by June 15, 2012. Comments received will be used to identify and develop alternatives to the proposed action (draft plan).

Comments are specifically requested on the proposed action, preliminary issues, and alternatives by May 25, 2012. The BLM will not reject public feedback outside established public involvement timeframes; however, these comments may be considered secondary to comments received by the May 25 deadline.

BRC will have additional information and comments suggestions after review of the draft plan.

Comments sent electronically should be sent to BLM_ID_FRFO_OHV@blm.gov with "Big Willow Management Plan" in the subject line. Please identify whether you are submitting comments as an individual or as the designated spokesperson on behalf of an organization.

Two additional public meetings will be held during the comment period in Emmett and Payette to solicit additional input. The BLM and BRC will let you know when the date, time, and location of these meetings is finalized.

For questions or additional information, please contact Larry Ridenhour, Outdoor Recreation Planner, 3948 Development Avenue, Boise, Idaho 83705, (208) 384-3334.

As always, please call or email if you have any questions or comments.

Ric Foster
Public Lands Department Manager
BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext 107


The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib - www.sharetrails.org
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