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 http://www.idaho-ohv.org/

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 patrick.carlson@idpr.idaho.gov.
For more information, contact http://www.idaho-ohv.org/ or Steve Stuebner, campaign coordinator, 208-472-5680.

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