Friday, December 11, 2009

New video explains how to license and register motorbikes, ATVs in Idaho

Do you need a registration sticker and a license plate for your motorbike and ATV to ride legally in Idaho? Or do you just need a sticker? Or just a plate? What's the deal?

There has been some confusion about those questions, so the Idaho Off-Highway Vehicle Public Outreach Campaign produced a step-by-step video that explains the process for registering and licensing OHVs in Idaho.

The short answer to the questions above is that if you ride strictly on OHV trails, and you do not ride on city or county roads, then you only need a $12 registration sticker. Any type of OHV in Idaho, including specialty OHVs like Dune Buggies, needs a registration sticker.

But if you like to ride long loops, which may involve riding on city or county roads to connect to singletrack trails, you need to license your trail machine as well. The nice thing about getting a restricted license plate for a motorbike or ATV is that they aren't very expensive -- they cost only $3, and they are valid for seven years.

As Rich Gummersall from the Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation points out in the video, if you do like to ride long loops, and maybe like to avoid having to shuttle a vehicle to the end of your trailhead, you can license your trail machine and ride on the roads to complete your ride.

"It's a small price for peace of mind," Gummersall says.

OHV riders should know that the $2 increase in registration fees in 2010 allows you to devote $1 from the fee toward law enforcement efforts in the county of your choice, and another $1 will be set aside to develop more trail opportunities on state lands managed by the Idaho Department of Lands.

If you have any questions about licensing and registration of your OHV, please contact the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, 208-334-4199.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Agencies launch aerial patrols near Challis to monitor hunter compliance with road, trail closures

Head's up OHV hunters, the public agencies charged with enforcing motorized road and trail closures during hunting season are watching you.

The Salmon-Challis National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management, Challis Field Office, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in Salmon worked together to conduct aerial patrols during deer hunting season to check on compliance with motorized road and trail closures.

No citations were issued as a result of the patrols, which were educational in nature, agency officials said.

The BLM has an approved travel plan for the Challis region, and the Salmon-Challis National Forest recently approved its travel plan, but the appeal period was still open when the patrols occurred. The aerial patrols focused on hunting areas closed to motorized use where violations have occurred repeatedly in past years, officials said. These areas included the upper Pahsimeroi River area, Little Lost River, East Fork of the Salmon River and Lost River drainage.

The Challis Messenger reported on a meeting with the Custer County Commissioners, in which agency officials talked about the aerial and ground patrols. Click on the images posted on this blog to read the article from that meeting.

No further aerial patrols are expected to occur in the Challis area this year. Agency officials said that aerial patrols have been used in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest area several times in the past.

Feel free to comment about the aerial patrols in the comments section below.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Stay on Trails 4x4 stickers available for free

Hi all,

The Idaho Off-Highway Vehicle Public Outreach Campaign has printed a big batch of new 4-inch by 4-inch stickers bearing the message, "Stay on Trails."

The 4x4 stickers also refer to the Idaho OHV campaign web site,, where riders can find useful videos, information and tips.

Campaign officials included the stickers as part of the fall campaign, thinking that some OHV riders and hunters may want to promote the safe and responsible use of public lands trails by placing the stickers on their trucks, trailers and trail-machines.

The Idaho OHV campaign will distribute the stickers statewide to Idaho OHV dealers, OHV clubs and public agencies.

If you read this post, and you'd like a sticker, please email Steve Stuebner, campaign coordinator, at

- SS

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New hunting tips video for Idaho OHV riders is live

A new hunting tips video for the Idaho Off-Highway Vehicle Public Outreach Campaign and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is now live on YouTube.

The video explains how hunters can research where they can ride a trail machine during hunting season, the importance of staying on trails, using your power responsibly and being a good trail ambassador.

For more information, see

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hunters: Watch out for kids on forest roads

The Forest Service just released a new 60-second PSA that gives Idaho hunters a head's up that they should watch out for kids riding motorbikes and ATVs on forest roads this fall.

Idaho law allows kids to ride trail machines on forest roads as long as they are accompanied by ann adult. The Forest Service is concerned about child safety. The PSA was viewed as a short-term solution.

The PSA has been distributed to all TV network stations in Idaho, as well as TV stations in the Spokane market, cable services and other TV outlets. It's also on YouTube and

Thanks for watching.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Motor Vehicle Use Maps hold key to where to ride during hunting season

If you're a big game rifle hunter, you're probably getting ready for the big hunt.

If you're planning on accessing your hunting area via an ATV or motorbike on a national forest trail, you should be aware that the Forest Service has come out with some new Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM), which replace and supercede the old travel plan maps.

Once a national forest completes its travel management planning, each ranger district in the forest is supposed to publish a MVUM to reflect the new rules and restrictions.

This information is of utmost importance to hunters because they need to know if the trails or roads they want to use are open during hunting season.

The MVUMs provide detailed information about when trails and roads are open, down to the milepost markers in some instances.

The Idaho OHV web site has a link to the MVUMs that have been published so far in the Boise National Forest and Sawtooth National Forest.

In addition, the Caribou-Targhee National Forest just published four MVUMs. Here are the links:

Be forewarned that the pdf maps are large-scale, so you will need to blow up the maps to zero in on your hunting area. Hard-copy maps are easier to read, but not as convenient to obtain.

So you may want to try reading the maps online, and if you can't figure out if your preferred trails are open or closed, call the ranger district office and see if someone can help you. Maybe they can send you a MVUM by mail. The maps are free of charge.

If you can't find any MVUMs for the areas you like to hunt in, you will need to call the national forest ranger district and ask about the status of your favorite hunting trails and roads.

For a handy reference to U.S. Forest Service offices in Idaho, check out the contacts section of

- SS

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Salmon-Challis National Forest makes final decision on motorized recreation use

The Salmon-Challis National Forest issued a final decision on Thursday regarding summer motorized recreation use in the forest, ending a three-year travel management planning process that started in May 2006.

The Record of Decision (ROD) designates 2,670 miles of roads and 864 miles of trails for motorized use for a total of 3,534 miles of motorized routes forest-wide, officials said. This is an increase of 110 miles of motorized routes, compared to the existing system, officials said. The decision also forbids cross-country travel by motorized vehicles in the forest.

Information about the final ROD can be found on the Salmon-Challis National Forest web page.

The Salmon-Challis National Forest received more than 9,000 emails and comments when it first asked for public input about summertime motorized recreation in the forest, and another 400 comments during the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) stage.

The final decision by Salmon-Challis Supervisor Bill Wood is subject to appeal in the next 45 days. If no appeals are filed, the Salmon-Challis expects to issue Motor Vehicle Use Maps that provide information about motorized roads and trail routes in late 2009.

All of Idaho’s national forests have been working through travel management plans for motorized recreation:
• The Clearwater National Forest recently extended its public comment period on its draft EIS until Oct. 2. Comments should be sent to
• The Idaho Panhandle National Forests are still working on travel management plans.
• The Payette and Sawtooth national forests have completed their travel management plans, and the Boise national forest has completed travel planning for all but two of its ranger districts.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Ride the Bayhorse" Trail Ride event at Bayhorse Saturday, Sept. 12

The Land of the Yankee Fork State Park is hosting a trail ride and barbecue this Saturday, Sept. 12.

The event is being billed as an ATV ride, but motorbikes and UTVs are welcome, too. Check out the many trails in the old Bayhorse ghost town and mining area and Land of the Yankee Fork country between Yankee Fork and Challis. The event is co-sponsored by Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and the Challis Area Chamber of Commerce.

Here is a brief video and slide show about the Land of the Yankee Fork.

If you'd like to attend, RSVP to the Challis Chamber by calling 208-879-2771 or email

To contact Land of the Yankee Fork State Park, call 208-879-5244 or email

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Forest Service: Watch out for youngsters on OHVs on national forest roads

The U.S. Forest Service is concerned about a new law passed by the 2009 Idaho Legislature that allows underage kids to ride motorcycles or ATVs on national forest roads without a driver's license.

"This change in law deeply concerns me because of the ramifications this change of law could have on the safety of people using roads on public lands managed by the Forest Service," said Bill Wood, supervisor of the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

"Mixing cars, recreational vehicles and commercial traffic on forest roads with children and young adults that are untrained and uneducated in the rules of the road or the basic operation of their vehicles is a recipe for disaster."

While Forest Service officials said they seriously considered closing their roads to underage OHV drivers, they determined that the cost of enforcing a closure like that would have been cost-prohibitive. So instead, they will work on public education about the issue, and changing the law in the 2010 legislative session.

Most national forests in Idaho have some verbage on their web sites about the issue. The Forest Service may undertake some additional public outreach efforts such as a Public Service Announcement (PSA) video and other measures as the fall hunting seasons draw near.

Here is a link to how the Boise National Forest handled the issue on the front of their recreation web page. The message is titled "Your Safety is Important to Us."

The same message ran on the front page of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest's web site.

Here is an op-ed piece in the Idaho Statesman penned by Region 4 Forester Harv Forsgren and acting Region 1 Forester Jane Cottrell Henifen.

Here is an article about the topic that ran in the Challis Messenger.

No matter what you might think about this issue, please drive slow and watch out for young kids driving ATVs and motorcycles on forest roads this year.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Trail ethics refresher for Idaho Falls ATV riders

We had a good turnout of 50-plus people for the ATV Trail Ethics Education Event on June 13 at Kelly Canyon Ski Area. Resort officials were nice enough to open the lodge for our morning program since it's been so rainy and wet lately.

The purpose of the trail ethics event was to give ATV and UTV riders a number of tips and reminders about federal and state rules and regulations for a safe and responsible summer riding season.

Topic #1 What kind of UTVs are legal on ATV trails?

There’s been a big growth in the sales of Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs) in Idaho, but at the present time, only one UTV, the Polaris Razor, is legal on ATV trails (in southern Idaho). The Forest Service manages to a 50-inch standard on ATV trails in E. Idaho.o Don’t try to ride a trail machine that’s wider than 50 inches on ATV trails … you probably won’t get past the barrier at the trailhead, for one thing. In addition, it’s not safe because the trails were built only 50 inches wide, and you would likely roll your machine on steep, narrow spots.

The BLM also is now managing to a 50-inch standard for ATVs and UTVs on BLM trails statewide.

The width of trail machines should be measured from the outside edge of the tires on the left and right sides. If you modify your machine and add bigger tires, it won’t fit on ATV trails.

Anyone who violates the 50-inch standard is subject to a $180 fine, according to the Forest Service.

If you’ve got a larger UTV, look for jeep trails and logging trails to ride.

In parts of northern Idaho, the Forest Service may not not allow UTVs on ATV trails, according to forest officials who contacted us this week.

Topic #2 Use your power responsibly
  • Be a good trail ambassador and lead by example when you’re trail riding with friends. Stay on the trail. Cross-country riding off-trail is illegal.o Please refrain from high-marking on steep mountainsides. If you want try to test the steep hill-climbing power of your ATV, go to the St. Anthony Sand Dunes, where you can let it rip in the sand without causing environmental damage.
  • Don’t turn singletrack into three-track … Singletrack motorized trails are reserved for motorcycle use as well as other multiple uses such as horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking.
  • Practice good trail etiquette when encountering other users on the trail. Pull off the trail, shut off your engine and let people pass.
  • Stay off muddy trails … know when to turn around and wait for a sunny day if the trails are too muddy to ride.
  • Know where to ride. Check the maps online on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest to get tips on what trails are open to ATV/UTV use. The Palisades District has several user-friendly maps online. If you’ve got questions, call the forest to learn more or pick up maps at the Eastern Idaho Public Lands Visitors Center in Idaho Falls. Call 208-523-1012.

    The Idaho OHV web site will have a new where-to-ride section with 25 rides in the coming weeks. Info at

Topic #3 OHV Stickers and License Plates

Make sure your trail machine has an OHV sticker if you’re riding on forest or BLM trails, and if you’re riding on public roads or county roads, you should have a license plate as well. These items can be purchased at your local DMV office where you buy license plates for your car.

If you ride on county roads, you also should have a driver's license and proof of insurance.

Topic #4 Ride safe

Be safe out there and ride with a helmet, boots, gloves and proper safety equipment. If you’re interested in taking a safety class in eastern Idaho, contact Patrick Carlson at Idaho Parks & Rec. He teaches lots of local classes. It's a good activity for scout groups.

You can reach Patrick at 208-520-5387 or email him at
For more information, contact or Steve Stuebner, campaign coordinator, 208-472-5680.