Forest Roads Mixed Use Safety Review

Summary

In 2009, Idaho Senate Bill 1098 modified the Idaho Code with respect to off-highway vehicle (OHV) licensing requirements.  While responsible OHV recreation is welcome on National Forest System roads, this new law exempts unlicensed OHV operators (including underage operators less than 16 years old) from licensing requirements.  Combined with the increasing  OHV use on forest roads and trails over the last decade, national forests in Idaho are undertaking a motorized mixed use* safety review of the current road system and identifying sections of road that may require additional safety measures to increase overall safety on forest roads.   The identified road segments are referred to as “Roads of Concern” (ROC).  Trails designated for OHV use are unaffected by this study.

*Motorized Mixed Use is defined as designation of a National Forest System road for use by both highway legal and non-highway legal motor vehicles.

  

Roads of Concern

On the Caribou-Targhee National Forest there are more than 3,100 miles of roads and trails currently open to OHV use. The roads of concern, on the maps shown below, include 160 miles of roads being evaluated for motorized mixed use safety mitigations in the 2011 phase of the study.   Potential safety mitigations for these roads range from brush removal for improved visibility, warning signs, alignment adjustments or other minor engineering changes.  In cases where risks are unacceptable and cannot otherwise be mitigated, OHV use may be restricted in full. 

 Caribou Targhee National Forest ROC maps:

            Dubois Ranger District

            Ashton/Island Park Ranger District

            Teton Basin Ranger District

            Palisades Ranger District

            Soda Springs Ranger District

            Montpelier Ranger District

            Westside Ranger District (North)

            Westside Ranger District (South)

            Curlew National Grasslands

 

The Caribou-Targhee National Forest is looking for public comments related to the 2011 ROC.

From January 21, 2011 until February 18, 2011 the Caribou National Forest is accepting comments related to the Roads of Concern.  Specifically we would like to know what motorized mixed use safety concerns you might have on any of the identified roads, and your suggestions for making these roads safer.

For further information, call the Caribou-Targhee National Forest Supervisor's Office at 208-524-7500.

Comments can be emailed to: 

lballard@fs.fed.us

  

What can forest visitors expect on NFS roads in the future?

Throughout the winter and spring of 2011, the Caribou-Targhee National Forest will work closely with our partners and members of the public to improve public safety on National Forest System roads. Public input will be used to help identify where and what types of safety mitigations will be considered for each of the Roads of Concern.  By late summer 2011 the first safety mitigation measures will be in place.  In situations where the scope and complexity of the needed safety measures is too great, temporary restrictions may be implemented until effective safety measures can be installed.  Examples might include stretches of road where additional trail construction or significant road construction is needed to effectively improve safety.

The US Forest Service defers to state law to determine licensing and training requirements for OHV operators on National Forest System lands. Our agency will continue to adapt to changes in state law and ensure that safety measures on National Forest System roads effectively provide a safe experience for all forest visitors.



 



Key Contacts

Sarah Wheeler
Public Affairs Officer
sarah.wheeler2@usda.gov
208-557-5765
Brian Micklich
Admin. Ops Specialist
brian.micklich@usda.gov
208-557-5762

 



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