Update Deadline Extended until April 15,2024

The Owyhee region of southwestern Idaho is accepting public comment for their final travel management plan of the area. The Grandview travel area hosts 1,365 miles of open OHV routes year round along with one backcountry airstrip. These routes give way to numerous permitted motorcycle races throughout the year. The planning area encompasses 251,000 acres, and because it’s only a 90 minute drive from Boise, it is a popular area for all kinds of OHV interests including river access to the Snake River. Please submit a comment below to the BLM in order to make your voice heard. If you have additional insight to this area, include that at the beginning of the comment. Comment will be accepted until April 15, 2024.

Full Briefing

In all alternatives the airstrip is closed other than Alternative A which is the current alternative. The BLM should be analyzing keeping this airstrip open for backcountry pilots.

The plan states that it will follow Secretarial Order 337 which states e-bikes will be permitted where bicycles are allowed in order to accommodate those with physical limitations. However, the plan is classifying e-bikes as an OHV and will not be permitted on non-motorized routes. This discrepancy needs to be fixed.

Alternative B is the most restrictive with Alternative D proposing the least amount of closures. Under Alternative D 554 miles of routes will be closed and 587 miles will be closed for use of motorcycle races. Closing more than 40% of routes in one travel area is unacceptable. There’s currently 183 acres for every one mile of routes. However with the most restrictive alternative, there will be 1,123 acres of planning area for one mile of open OHV year round routes. Alternative B simply doesn’t provide enough public access to our public lands.

Sedimentation, nesting, stream crossings, and the prevention of the spread of noxious weeds and invasive species causing, “adverse impacts to wildlife habitats and biodiversity” are the primary reasons listed for closures. When you submit your comments, we encourage you to customize your comments to address how these concerns can be mitigated on your favorite routes.

Bureau of Land Management must use best available information when making these decisions. Most of the data regarding nesting that is being used to justify route closures are old and do not show a current present threat, “Because no systematic surveys have occurred, motorized use of routes and airstrips could cause continued disturbances to this species if they are present, but these effects cannot be quantified.” BRC advocates that the BLM should not close economic and recreational resources simply because environmental groups are pushing for closure. Closure is not management. Please review the maps below to see which routes are being considered for closure and include those areas into your comment.

Maps – Interactive map can be Viewed Here: https://blm-egis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=728e71b8679444d489562e48ccbfd357

Featured image on this post provided courtesy of Trails Off Road. BRC members and supporters can get 40% off Trails Off Road using this link, and Trails Off Road will donate a portion of the subscription back to our fight to keep trails open.