Why Are Areas Closed Down To OHV's?

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Plays In The Dirt
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Why Are Areas Closed Down To OHV's?

Post by Plays In The Dirt » Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:18 pm

There are several reasons why particular locations are closed-down but I feel that the most common reason is due to the lack of rider responsibility that often results in damage to the environment and landscape. I evidenced that today when I took my quad and rode through the north end of the Valley Of Fire. While most of the area is open use, there are some locations along the way that are posted no motor vehicles. But despite the fact that there are areas that are closed there are riders who feel that these signs posted by the BLM are just suggestions and ride there anyway. This results in areas being damage by trails being carved in the hillsides which leads to erosion amongst other damage. When budget restraints limit the ability to enforce the laws, and the damage becomes too severe, the BLM has little choice but to begin the proceedings to close an area down completely. These actions hurt everyone, not just the irresponsible riders.

The following are Photos that I shot on my ride today. Every Photo shows an area that was clearly posted "No Motor Vehicles" and covers a wide area throughout the wash.


Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Shortly after I shot this last Photo (above) two riders on racing quads blew right past me and on up the hill totally ignoring the clearly visible sign.

Go Figure....

Plays (Greg)

LeeVW
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Re: Why Are Areas Closed Down To OHV's?

Post by LeeVW » Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:40 am

Since actual on-the-ground enforcement is the only way to prevent people from riding where they aren't supposed to, and there's no money for additional rangers, maybe the answer is to have a group of local riders volunteer to adopt a specific area. The plan would be to have your volunteers "patrol" the closed areas and hand out maps or other materials to people they find breaking the law. Sometimes a personal contact like that is all someone needs in order to be brought into compliance. You would have to give the volunteers a pass to cross into the closed areas in order to intercept violators, but that would be the only real power they would have. An experienced two wheeler who can actually catch another rider would be far more effective than a ranger in a full sized pickup or SUV! Just a thought!

Lee

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Re: Why Are Areas Closed Down To OHV's?

Post by reptilist » Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:17 am

...And arm the volunteers with paint ball guns.

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Re: Why Are Areas Closed Down To OHV's?

Post by Sal » Sat Apr 10, 2010 7:11 pm

my experience is that BLM is loath to close any areas.

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Re: Why Are Areas Closed Down To OHV's?

Post by LeeVW » Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:38 pm

Works for me, Rep!

Sal, I don't know that the BLM has the authority to arbitrarily close areas. That's what Congress does, and the BLM works under their direction.

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Re: Why Are Areas Closed Down To OHV's?

Post by Plays In The Dirt » Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:43 am

LeeVW wrote:Since actual on-the-ground enforcement is the only way to prevent people from riding where they aren't supposed to, and there's no money for additional rangers, maybe the answer is to have a group of local riders volunteer to adopt a specific area. The plan would be to have your volunteers "patrol" the closed areas and hand out maps or other materials to people they find breaking the law. Sometimes a personal contact like that is all someone needs in order to be brought into compliance. You would have to give the volunteers a pass to cross into the closed areas in order to intercept violators, but that would be the only real power they would have. An experienced two wheeler who can actually catch another rider would be far more effective than a ranger in a full sized pickup or SUV! Just a thought!

Lee

This may be one solution to the problem Lee, however, most of these riders (if not all of them) know darn well that they're riding in areas that are clearly posted no motor vehicles but they do it anyway because the fear of getting caught is slim to none. It's doubtful that this defiance would be impacted by fellow riders pointing-out to them what they already know and would more than likely end-up in fights if not worse. In addition, I'm quite certain that the liability issues would prohibit the BLM from adopting such a program, and certainly wouldn't endorse it.

I have another thought that I was discussing yesterday with a friend who heads Partners In Conservation in my area and she agrees. Many - many Police Departments across the country have Reserve Police Officer Programs whereby volunteers augment the full time officers with Patrol Duties. These volunteers are fully trained in the Police Academies, have full Police Powers, and could be used to patrol in areas that are problematic, (such as the one I posted above). Costly citations would have a far greater impact than friendly discussions with peers. And not only would it serve to curtail violations of this sort, it would free-up the full time officers and allow them to deal with other problems they are faced with in the very large areas that they are responsible for. And their areas are huge, for example the officer in my area, (who is a friend of mine), has roughly 500,000 acres that are his responsibility. Yes that's "five hundred thousand," with back-up being an hour or more away. Not a comfortable feeling when you're out there by yourself.

I'm sure that your idea of peer pressure would work with some people, but to the majority of those who willfully break the law it would be totally ignored.

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Re: Why Are Areas Closed Down To OHV's?

Post by Sal » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:19 am

Sal, I don't know that the BLM has the authority to arbitrarily close areas. That's what Congress does, and the BLM works under their direction.
by Lee

Lee BLM does have the power to close areas to protect habitat under the federal code of regulations. But they don't. They spend thousands putting up signs, then riders pull them all down--that's the extent of BLM efforts to control OHV's.

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Re: Why Are Areas Closed Down To OHV's?

Post by Brew » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:43 am

Sal wrote:Lee BLM does have the power to close areas to protect habitat under the federal code of regulations. But they don't. They spend thousands putting up signs, then riders pull them all down--that's the extent of BLM efforts to control OHV's.
This is one of the rare times I will agree with Sal as far as the BLM offices having the authority to close an area. For almost two years, the Hollister BLM office has kept the Clear Creek Management Area closed to everybody, not just OHV recreationists. The head honcho in the office did it under the guise of safety for the recreationists due to the levels of Chrysotile asbestos in the area.

Brew

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Re: Why Are Areas Closed Down To OHV's?

Post by MMM » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:43 am

People who violate the law must be fined and face strict judgements against them. Now to be the devils advocate. I look at the photos and see that, at least to my un-trained eye, the first few show what appears to be the doings of a single rider. A clearly stuipd one at that. One personon a motercycle. The last photo is interesting as behind the sign appears to be a older road. Was that road recently closed? Or is the area in front of it closed? Hard to tell by the photo.

What I am really concerned about is that the actions of a few people are not called common or normal riding of most people. It would, at least in my mind, closing off major freeways because we have idiots driving on them. I only ask that we find and fine the outlaws and allow the rest of us legal riding folk to enjoy what is left to ride on alone.

Mike

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Re: Why Are Areas Closed Down To OHV's?

Post by Plays In The Dirt » Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:30 pm

MMM wrote:Now to be the devils advocate. I look at the photos and see that, at least to my un-trained eye, the first few show what appears to be the doings of a single rider. A clearly stuipd one at that. One personon a motercycle.Mike
Mike, I couldn't tell you if it were one OHV or several but if it were only one then he has been very busy as these trails are carved in the hillsides for miles throughout the wash. I only shot Photos of this one little area to use as an example. I plan on returning there this coming week and will take more Photos of other areas if you and others would like more proof.
MMM wrote:The last photo is interesting as behind the sign appears to be a older road. Was that road recently closed? Or is the area in front of it closed? Hard to tell by the photo.Mike
I couldn't tell you if it was at one time a road or not, but whether it was or wasn't it doesn't make any difference in that it is clearly posted "No Motor Vehicles." The area in front of it is the open use road that I used to get there. If you need clearer Photos showing more of the area from different angles I'd be more than happy to shoot them when I return there next week.
MMM wrote:What I am really concerned about is that the actions of a few people are not called common or normal riding of most people. It would, at least in my mind, closing off major freeways because we have idiots driving on them.Mike
What number would you place on "a few people?" It doesn't take many at all to tear things up significantly. And those few people have been very busy in this area as I saw trails like this for miles in this wash. Wherever it looked like a challenge to these riders they took advantage of it. As far as your analogy, with all due respect it's apples to oranges and has no similarity to what's going on here and many other locations.
MMM wrote:I only ask that we find and fine the outlaws and allow the rest of us legal riding folk to enjoy what is left to ride on alone.Mike
I do as well, Mike and I will be working with people I know to see if a solution can be reached for more enforcement. As far as what's "left to ride on," there's plenty of them all across the country, a fact I will be documenting here as I travel around the state shooting Outdoor Photos.

If you wish to see how extensive the Logandale Trails System is you can click here for a map: http://logandaletrails.com/maps.html It runs for miles and gives riders some beautiful scenery to view along the way.

I do know that there was, (or is), a movement that's trying to close this trail system down, I'll have to check on that. The reason: because of all the damage that's being done.

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