The Shasta-Trinity National Forest has recently released its plan for roads available to OHV enthusiasts, and it’s causing a lot of controversy. On Tuesday evening, OHV fans converged on the Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting, asking the supes to officially register their unhappiness with the plan, which the supes duly did.
Off-Highway Vehicles in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest
From the October, 2008 Redding Record Searchlight article (no web link available):
Armentrout said the forest service is being required by a 2005 law to limit its OHV-approved roads to those it can maintain and which are deemed safe. In addition, the forest service can’t allow riders to drive off-road, destroying meadows and forests – a goal supervisors agreed with.
But board members opposed the closure of long-established dirt roads, OHV trails and former logging routes already popular with off-highway riders. Barring their use will encourage people to ride irresponsibly, harming untouched areas or invading private land, Supervisor Les Baugh said. In addition, it would hamper the public’s right to access, he said.
Several OHV representatives also spoke Tuesday, including Sylvia Milligan, chairwoman of the Recreation Outdoors Coalition. She described most OHV users as “blue-haired old people” who ride responsibly on existing paths and are willing to adopt roads and help maintain them.
“We’re the ones teaching the next generation,” she said. “We’re teaching them the love of the land.”
I confess I’m not familiar with the details of this plan. I have seen quite a few OHVs in the forest. I think they allow a lot of people to get out into nature and enjoy the wilderness: quite a few of the riders look like they would have difficulty hiking many of the trails in the mountains.
I’ve also seen meadows on the Shasta-Trinity that have been ripped up by OHVs going where they shouldn’t.
Off-Highway Vehicles in the Forest: My Position
My position: I support OHV access on many forest roads, but I want them kept away from the most remote and wild places. There should be some wilderness where visitors can be in nature without the sound, sight, and smell of motorized vehicles.
What do you think readers? What’s your position on OHV vehicles in the national forests? How do OHVs affect hiking, positively or negatively?