Forest Roads 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 underage drivers (less than 16 years old) from licensing requirements. As a result, national forests in Idaho are undertaking a safety review of the current road system, with unlicensed drivers in mind, and identifying sections of road that may require additional safety measures. The identified road segments are referred to as “Roads of Concern” (ROC). Trails designated for OHV use are unaffected by Senate Bill 1098.

Roads of Concern

On the Idaho Panhandle National Forests there are more than 4,300 miles of roads and trails currently open to OHV use. The roads of concern on the maps below include 151 miles of road being evaluated for safety improvements. Potential safety mitigations for these roads range from reduced speed limits, brush removal for improved visibility, warning signs, speed bumps, or other minor engineering changes. In extreme cases, where risks are unacceptable, OHV use may be restricted. However, for each Road of Concern, restricting OHV use will be considered only as a last resort when no other reasonable safety measures can be implemented.

The Idaho Panhandle National Forests want to hear from you!

From January 1, 2011 until February 22, 2011 the Idaho Panhandle National Forests are accepting comments related to the Roads of Concern. Specifically we would like to know what safety concerns you might have on any of the identified roads, and your suggestions for making these roads safer.

Comments can be emailed to comments-northern-idpanhandle@fs.fed.us, provided over the by calling (208) 265-6603 or by mailing comments to:

IPNF Forest Road Safety Review
ATTN: Greg Hetzler
3815 N. Schreiber Way
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83815

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

Throughout the winter and spring of 2011 the Idaho Panhandle National Forests 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 improvements will be made for each of the Roads of Concern. By 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.





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