Monday, December 20, 2010

Gift tip for OHV riders - find a cool helmet for your kids

Hi all,

Maybe you're still searching for a great gift idea for your kids ... and Christmas is only 5 days away!

Well, here's a thought that might work -- a cool helmet for your kids!

Several years ago, Idaho state law was changed to require youths under the age of 18 to wear a helmet when riding a motorbike, ATV or UTV on roads, trails or dunes. The law was changed to promote safety and prevent head injuries to kids.
It's important to remember that helmets are required for kids not only if they are driving the OHV, but also if they are riding on an OHV with another person.

The helmets should be DOT-approved. You can find them at OHV retail stores, Cabela's, or online.

The whole idea is to avoid head injuries. All of us are born with only one brain. OHV's have the ability to travel very fast on roads and trails. If an accident occurs, it's likely going to be a high-speed accident, leading to a possible head injury, concussion or worse. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, if a person is involved in an accident while riding an OHV, helmets reduce the risk of death by 42%.

While no one ever wants to be involved in an accident, they do occur. Since the early 1980s, more than 90 Idaho residents have died in ATV-related accidents, with a quarter of those killed younger than 16, according to the state of Idaho.

In many ways, it's just common sense to wear a helmet so you can ride safe and smart.

Some other considerations when buying a helmet for your kids:
  • Make sure it fits properly. A loose helmet can flop down and obscure a person's vision, potentially causing an accident by itself.
  • A full-face helmet can really help prevent injuries to the mouth and facial areas. Consider a full-face helmet to avoid expensive dental and medical costs.
Have a great holiday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Caribou-Targhee National Forest closes 377 illegally created trails, roads

This trail was closed with rocks

This fall, the Caribou-Targhee National Forest got serious about closing illegal roads and trails. The forest closed 377 illegally created roads and trails on seven different ranger districts spanning from Henry's Lake to Malad in eastern Idaho. The trail closures affected approximately 50 miles of unauthorized routes.

Here's a link to the story written by outdoor editor Rob Thornberry of the Idaho Falls Post-Register about the trail-closure projects.

Kris Millgate of Tightline Productions produced a video about the issue as well. Go to her video vault page and click on the "Trails Close" video dated 8/18/10 to see her piece.

The Caribou-Targhee's action is emblematic of the steps being taken by national forests in Idaho -- and elsewhere -- that have completed travel management NEPA processes and are taking the next step to close and decommission illegal trails and roads. The hard part can be finding a way to fund the heavy equipment work involved in closing roads and trails. The Caribou-Targhee received $285,000 in federal stimulus money to get the job done, the Post Register reported.

Some OHV riders have protested the closures, arguing that some of the trails have value and should be retained. Others feel that the way the Forest Service is closing the trails is ugly and unsightly.

Millgate's video quotes Alan Crockett, an Idaho Falls mountain biker, who felt that some of the grassy two-tracks that were closed should have been left open to mountain biking.

Gary Oswald, an Idaho Falls hunter, said, "It makes the forest look like hell. "Unless you dig a pit around the entire forest, people are going to go in there and break the law."

Counters Wes Stumbo of the Caribou-Targhee forest, "I can't argue that it is not butt ugly, but we can't stand by and ignore the problem."

"Illegal use of (all-terrain vehicles) is a huge problem," Stumbo told the Post-Register. "Unmanaged recreation is one of the top four threats to the health of the forests across the country, and 85 to 90 percent of the time, the problem is illegal ATV use. This work is an answer to that threat."

The Boise National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management Four Rivers Office collaborated on a fence project recently to stop OHV riders from pioneering illegal routes on top of the Boise Ridge and on North Eighth Street. These were egregious examples of people wantonly creating illegal routes, according to federal officials, and a fence was the only way to stop the activity.

Responsible OHV riders and clubs know that illegal off-trail riding gives all OHV riders a black eye, and they discourage the practice. But sometimes the only sure way to stop the creation or use of illegal trails is to put up a bullet-proof blockade.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Check out 5 new rides in the Yankee Fork, Bayhorse areas near Challis

Bayhorse Pacific Mine Tour

Big mountain views are easy to find on the Bayhorse Lake - Trealor Creek Loop

Bayhorse Lake

Looking off into the Squaw Creek drainiange

Hi all,

We wanted Idaho OHV riders to know that we've added five new rides to the Where to Ride section of the web site, including the new Lombard Trail that starts and finishes at the Land of the Yankee Fork State Park in Challis, Idaho.

With the five new rides, there are now a total of 31 OHV trails statewide to check out on the web site. Most of the rides are appropriate for ATV or motorbike use, and a few of them feature singletrack rides for skilled motorbike riders.

As we mentioned in our last blog about the Lombard Trail dedication on Saturday, Sept. 11, the Yankee Fork region is loaded with literally hundreds of miles of OHV trails. The Yankee Fork District of the Salmon-Challis National Forest, the Challis Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management and Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation officials have been working together to develop the trails, sign them and map them. See the overview map above for a glimpse of the possibilities.

Here's a breakdown of the five new rides. Click on the title of each ride to get more detailed information about the ride on

1. Lombard Trail - The Lombard Trail, named for IDPR Board Member Ernest Lombard, runs for 13.5 miles one-way from the Land of the Yankee Fork State Park to the mining ghost town of Bayhorse. It takes about 1.5 hours to ride to Bayhorse. The Lombard Trail is an ATV trail but it is suitable for motobikes as well.

2. Bayhorse Pacific Mine Loop - You can either ride the Lombard Trail from Challis to Bayhorse or drive to the Bayhorse ghost town and trailhead to do this ride. The mine loop runs for 15 miles, and you should allow at least two hours for the tour, so you have time to walk around, take pictures and read interpretive signs. This trail is suitable for ATV's or motorbikes.

3. Bayhorse Lake - Trealor Creek Loop - This ride starts and finishes at Bayhorse Lake, which is a nice place for overnight camping and fishing. The loop is 25 miles from Bayhorse Lake. If you start from Bayhorse, it's five miles to Bayhorse Lake from the ghost town. This trail is more demanding than the Pacific Mine Loop. It's suitable for either ATV's or motorbikes. It has several challenging steep climbs and descents and some rough, rocky riding in the last five miles of the ride. Otherwise, it's a gorgeous trail with many big views of the surrounding mountains, fun ridgetop riding and curvy trails that weave through deep woods.

4. Martin Creek - Squaw Creek Loop - This ride features a number of singletrack trails, so it is suitable for motorbikes, but not ATV's. The 25-mile loop takes about three hours. Motorbike riders should have experience riding rocky and uneven terrain before attempting this ride.

5. Cinnebar - Five Mile Loop - We had to include a more epic ride from this region, and this is it. Again, this ride features mostly singletrack trails, so it's suitable for motorbikes, but not ATV's. The ride goes for about 50 miles. It's a big tour of the Yankee Fork region, starting from a trailhead on the Squaw Creek Road. Because of the distance of the ride and the variable terrain, it's best for experienced motorbike riders who like to ride a lot of miles in a single day. Be sure to bring plenty of food and water for the ride.

Have fun!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Idaho OHV enthusiasts to ride the Lombard Trail in Challis Saturday for trail-dedication event

Ernie Lombard

Pacific Mine Loop

Views from the Lombard Trail

Old Mill

Lombard Trail map (courtesy IDPR)

Motorbike and ATV riders are heading to Challis this weekend for a trail ride and trail-dedication event on Saturday, Sept. 11, to officially open the Lombard Trail in honor of Ernest J. Lombard of Eagle, Idaho, a long-time Idaho Parks & Recreation Board member, trail enthusiast, history buff and architect.

Anyone who wants to participate is welcome. The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, Bureau of Land Management, Great Basin Institute and the Challis Area Chamber of Commerce are co-sponsoring the event. A number of Idaho ATV and motorbike clubs are expected to be there, as well as the Idaho State ATV Association and some out of state clubs.

Activities begin at 9 a.m. Saturday morning with the trail-dedication at Land of the Yankee Fork State Park in Challis, followed by a trail-ride at 10 a.m. on the Lombard Trail, BBQ lunch at the Bayhorse ghost town at noon ($5 per person), and then folks can take off for additional rides or ride back to Challis.

Here's a brief video of the Lombard Trail. It runs for 13.5 miles from Land of the Yankee Fork State Park to the old Bayhorse mining site and ghost town. The trail is well-designed so it can be ridden by all skill levels. It climbs several thousand feet and suddenly you are riding among the mountain peaks near Challis, affording awesome 360-degree views.

Once in Bayhorse, there are many trail rides available that people will enjoy. One of the new trails in the area, the Pacific Mine Trail #390, provides a great tour of the Bayhorse mining area, where people can see the old mines, a stamp mill, a smelter, cabins, bank, cemetery and more.

Bayhorse also is a jumping off point for literally hundreds of miles of trails in the Yankee Fork region. IDPR has produced an excellent overview map (see above) that shows the myriad of options available. The Idaho OHV Public Outreach Project is in the midst of publishing trail descriptions and maps to five specific rides in the Bayhorse area on

For more information about Saturday's event, contact the Land of the Yankee Fork State Park, 208-879-5244.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dozens of road construction projects in the Payette National Forest could cause delays or restrict access

We wanted to give OHV riders and hunters a head's up that the Payette National Forest has numerous road and bridge projects under way this fall that could cause delays or restrict access to an area you may wish to reach during hunting season.

Please check the details in an updated press release that explains all of the various road and bridge construction and improvement projects going on throughout the Payette National Forest to check on road closures and status.

The Payette National Forest was hit particularly hard by heavy rain and rapid snowmelt in late May and early June, causing enormous amounts of damage throughout the West Central Mountains.

Several roads were closed as a result of the damage, including:
  • The East Fork Weiser River Road #172, due to a bridge washout near U.S. 95.
  • The Middle Fork Weiser River Road #186, which is closed just below Cabin Creek Campground. The Fall Creek Road is suggested as an alternate route.
  • A 500-foot section of the paved South Fork of the Salmon River Road was washed out by flooding and closed by Buckhorn Creek. A foot trail has been established to get around the washout area.

In addition to these closures, there is a considerable amount of road-improvement work going on throughout the forest that may cause delays for hunters, depending on location.

The Warren Wagon Road is being widened and resurfaced between Payette Lake and Secesh Summit. Possible delays are occurrding during blasting periods. Work is supposed to be completed by mid-September.

Please contact Laura Pramuk at the Payette National Forest for more information, 208-634-0784.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

$10,000 up for grabs in "Do the Ride Thing" video contest

How creative are you with a video camera? How about your kids?

With the busy summer riding season upon us, the ATV Safety Institute (ASI) is sponsoring a “Do the Ride Thing” video contest, open to kids aged 6-18. The deadline for entries is Sept. 6, 2010. Ten prizes are up for grabs totaling $10,000 in value.

The winning videos will be used as 30-second and 60-second public service announcements (PSAs) by ASI.

Here's an example of a 60-second PSA on ASI's web site.

"What better way to motivate and inform people – especially kids and their parents – about the safe and responsible use of all-terrain vehicles than to have kids create videos that highlight one or more of the ATV Safety Institute’s Golden Rules?” said Paul Vitrano, executive vice president of ASI.

“By harnessing the social networking power of YouTube, it gives kids the opportunity to ‘Do the Ride Thing’ and help other kids ride safe/ride smart."

To enter, kids should create a 30- or 60-second video/PSA, upload it to YouTube, and submit an entry form on the ASI website. For official video content requirements, rules and entry forms, visit the ASI web site.

First-place winners will earn $1,100, and there is a grand prize of $2,500 for the best overall video.

Background:There are nearly 10 million ATVs in use across the United States, being operated by more than 35 million Americans. Many ATV owners share their ATVs so it is essential that riders and non-riders alike understand the importance of the safe and responsible use of ATVs.

This summer season is a time when children have more free time to enjoy many activities, including riding ATVs. Nearly 90 percent of youth ATV-related injury incidents occur when a youth is operating an ATV manufactured and intended for use by an adult.

Parental supervision is a key element to a child's safety. Children under the age of 16 must be supervised at all times when operating an ATV. Parents literally hold the key to their children’s safety, ASI officials said. Every ATV has an ignition key, and when a parent or guardian controls the key, they control the use.

Consumer Product Safety Commission data show that 92 percent of all ATV-related fatalities are the result of warned-against behaviors. The ATV Safety Institute has eight Golden Rules of ATV safety that address these behaviors and apply to all riders.

If you submit a video, it should be focused on one of the golden rules.

The ATV Safety Institute's Golden Rules:
1. Always wear a helmet and other protective gear.

2. Never ride on public roads -- another vehicle could hit you.*
3. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

4. Never carry a passenger on a single-rider vehicle, nor more than an operator and passenger on an ATV designed for two persons.
5. Ride an ATV that's suitable for your age.
6. Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
7. Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.

8. Take an ATV safety course. The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation offers safety courses throughout the year.

*The ASI recognizes that some states, such as Idaho, allow ATVs to ride on public roads in national forests.

Best of luck in the contest!
- SS

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Idaho is an adventure paradise for OHV riders; Please stay on trails and ride safe

Hi all,

The Idaho Off-Highway Vehicle Public Outreach Campaign has produced a new 30-second PSA in high-definition that emphasizes the great opportunities that OHV riders have in Idaho.

The PSA encourages OHV riders to check out our web site, which provides detailed descriptions on more than 25 places to ride, particularly for ATV riders.

The PSA also underscores the importance of staying on trails and riding safe so OHV riders can have a long future riding thousands of miles of trails in Idaho.

Do your part to be a great trail ambassador for your favorite sport.

Please spread the word about our short video and share it with your friends.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Watch out for kids on forest roads

In the spirit of concern about the safety of all citizens, the U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation are working together to inform off-highway vehicle (OHV) users and passenger vehicle operators about traffic safety during the summer months when recreationists spread across Idaho’s public lands.

The agencies put out a news release prior to the July 4th weekend about watching out for young kids driving OHV's on forest roads. The release was similar to a warnings issued by the Forest Service last fall, urging hunters to watch out for kids on forest roads. Here is a YouTube video about that issue.

Off-highway vehicles include motorcycles, specialty off-highway vehicles (SOHVs), utility type vehicles (UTVs) and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

“Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation has recently stepped up its OHV safety training classes for the coming summer months to respond to the increased number of users on our public lands and to help ensure OHV users know the rules of the road,” said Idaho Parks and Recreation Director Nancy Merrill. “We encourage people to consider taking one of our free classes. The information presented in these classes will help our younger riders become better, more knowledgeable, and safer riders.”

The 2009 Idaho Legislature passed a law that includes a provision removing the requirement for individuals to have a driver’s license to operate off-highway vehicles on national forest system roads. According to Intermountain Regional Forester Harv Forsgren, the Forest Service is deeply concerned about the ramifications of untrained children on off-highway vehicles driving the same roads as passenger vehicles, recreation vehicles and logging and livestock trucks.

“During the summer, forest roads become crowded with cars, trucks pulling trailers, RVs, and larger vehicles including construction and logging trucks,” said Regional Forester Harv Forsgren. “OHV users – including unlicensed/underage users - and drivers of passenger vehicles will find themselves sharing many miles of National Forest roads in Idaho. Drivers of all vehicles should stay alert to this and drive defensively.”

Approximately 7,700 miles of National Forest System roads are open to passenger vehicles with about 700 miles either paved or two-lane. These are the type of roads where the Forest Service is most concerned for driver safety as travel speeds tend to be faster and drivers of passenger vehicles aren’t expecting to share the road with OHVs.

Be safe out there and watch out for kids on OHV's! Thank you!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Flooding, construction will impact OHV recreation this summer

Buckhorn Bridge washout

South Fork Salmon River Road washout

Record precipitation this spring, combined with heavy rain in May and early June across Central Idaho have had a big impact on trails, washed out bridges and damaged roads, causing an impact to OHV recreation opportunities this summer, including the loss of some OHV travelways.

The washouts only add to the impacts expected this summer when several road construction projects will be active, thanks in large part to federal stimulus funding.

Heavy precipitation caused numerous road washouts on the Boise and Payette national forests as well as some county roads. On the Payette National Forest, the South Fork Salmon River flooded out several hundred feet of the paved road along its bank and also took out the OHV bridge leading to the Buckhorn Bar (Teapot Mountain Loop) trail.

Because the bridge across the South Fork Salmon River is gone, the loop between Buckhorn Bar Campground and Camp Creek Campground is no longer a loop. An alternative access is available by Jakie Creek near the Reed Ranch landing strip, so a trail user can go out and back the same way.

Meanwhile, the Lewiston Morning Tribune reported May 20th that “people planning outings to the Clearwater and Nez Perce National Forests could experience some inconvenience this summer as contractors funded by federal stimulus money work to upgrade trails, roads and campgrounds.”

Dozens of projects on those two national forests are slated for construction this summer, and there may be temporary road closures and traffic delays as a result in numerous locations. Similar projects are planned on other national forests in Idaho. More than $100 million in projects are targeted in Idaho of the $1.15 billion in Federal Recovery Act funds that was appropriated by Congress to the U.S. Forest Service.

Clearwater Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell says the government agencies will be working with local news media outlets to provide the public notice of temporary closures when they occur. "The main thing would be to check the website, and if they still have concerns, to give a call to the district offices and ask if this campground or road or this trail is open," he said. "It is going to be a challenge for us because we have so many projects going on at one time this summer."

Please feel free to share information about road and trail closures in the comments below the blog or on the Stay on Trails Facebook page. Thank you. - Andy Brunelle, U.S. Forest Service

Friday, May 21, 2010

Two statewide ATV associations merge into one

In a move that appears to be positive for ATV riders in Idaho, the Gem State ATV Association and the Idaho ATV Association have now merged into one new organization called the Idaho State ATV Association.

Idaho State ATV is being led by President Clark Collins, a longtime advocate for motorized trail interests from Pocatello, Idaho, who created and led the Blue Ribbon Coalition for more than a decade.

The purpose of merging the two statewide organizations is to ensure "that everybody is spreaking with the same voice," Collins said. "Gem State ATV was run by people predominantly from north Idaho, and the Idaho ATV Association was perceived as being too Treasure Valley-centric, so we created a new organization that could cover the whole state and speak with one voice."

Due credit should go to Bill Jones and Bob Jackson, avid ATV riders in Boise, who created the Idaho ATV Association in 1996. Jones served as the president for many years. Here's a link to a heart-warming story about how Bill and Bob started the organization. Now Bill is working with the Boise ATV Association.

The business of the Idaho State ATV Association should be of interest to many trail machine riders. More than 95,000 ATVs are registered statewide, almost 1/1oth of Idaho's population. The organization has been an important voice for safe and responsible riding on public lands, and it will continue to be, Collins said.

The Idaho State ATV Association will focus purely on advocacy work, while all of the member clubs will focus on offering regular recreation rides for members and social activities. People can join the Idaho State ATV Assoc. as individuals or join as a local club. Most of the clubs in Idaho have joined or are in the process of doing so, Collins said.

Any club that becomes a member of Idaho State ATV will be eligible to have a member on the state organization's board of directors, he said.

The primary advocacy issues that Idaho State ATV plans to work on includes monitoring and commenting on national forest and BLM travel management plans, creating more trails for ATV riding, defending the trails that already exist, and hunting issues with ATVs, Collins said.

For more information about the Idaho State ATV Assoc., contact Collins or other members of the association.

- Steve Stuebner, Idaho OHV Public Outreach Campaign coordinator

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

5 ATV riders cited for tearing up meadows in the Clearwater National Forest

Restoration work is under way in a meadow torn up last fall by illegal all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use on the Palouse Ranger District of the Clearwater National Forest.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, the majority of the work is being funded by $2,000 in restitution paid by individuals responsible for the damage.

The damage occurred during the fall of 2009 when five minors on ATVs were mud bogging in the Lindley Meadows area near Elk River, riding off road and tearing up fragile meadow vegetation in violation of Palouse District Travel Planning regulations. The individuals were cited, brought to court, found guilty, and forced to pay restitution for their actions. The defendants live in E. Washington.

“When we see illegal ATV use like this, we want to both help users understand the environmental damage caused by their actions and correct the behavior,” said Steve Bryant, Law Enforcement Officer for the Palouse Ranger District. “Then we turn to restoring function on the damaged land. In this case, the perpetrators’ actions were so egregious they were required to pay substantial fines, providing the agency with the means to begin restoration work.”

Palouse District Watershed Specialist Meg Foltz developed a restoration plan for the one-acre Lindley Meadows site.

“The ground was severely impacted from the extensive ATV use, plus the area was extremely wet at the time resulting in deep tire ruts throughout,” she explained.

As part of the plan the Forest Service, in partnership with the Palouse Clearwater Environmental Institute, will soon be planting approximately 400 sedges in the area. “As long as the site remains free of vehicles, I feel confident that the sedges will take hold and meadow functionality will return before long,” Foltz said. For updates regarding the project, contact the Palouse Ranger District at (208) 875-1131.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy 2010 to Idaho OHV riders

Hi all,

We wanted to wish all of the Idaho motorbike and ATV riders a happy New Year for 2010 and remind folks about the dynamic content on the web site.

Our web site, which was completely revamped last summer, features a number of informative videos,
including the most recent one about how to register your OHV in 2010. The video can be viewed on the front page of the web site, on YouTube, or on the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation web site.

We also wanted to give OHV riders a head's up about ongoing budget cuts at the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. In a recent article in the Challis Messenger, IDPR Director Nancy Merrill talked to Custer County officials about the potential closure of Land of the Yankee Fork State Park. This is a brand new park near Challis that features a number of motorized trails for motorbikes and ATVs, many historic points of interest, and it's located adjacent to hundreds of miles of motorbike and ATV trails in the surrounding Salmon-Challis National Forest.

If you value the new park, you may want to keep a close eye on the 2010 session of the Idaho Legislature, and let legislators know that you value Land of the Yankee Fork State Park.

Otherwise, please keep us informed about new information of interest to OHV riders in Idaho. If you have ideas about adding new trails to our where-to-ride section -- the most popular spot on our web site -- please let us know! And if you know of important subjects that would be of interest on our blog, please pass the word.
Send suggestions to Steve Stuebner, campaign coordinator for the Idaho OHV Public Outreach Campaign, at

Thanks and here's to a safe and responsible riding season in 2010!
- SS