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.