By Dale Bosworth
Our national forests provide some of the world's greatest recreational opportunities, including such iconic landscapes as Mount Hood and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests. One of the fastest growing recreational pursuits on federal lands in Oregon and throughout the West is riding off-highway vehicles (OHVs).
For many responsible users, this is a fun and appropriate way to enjoy our federal lands. But a growing number of users riding illegally presents significant problems we need to solve in order to preserve recreational access for future generations.
As chief of the Forest Service from 2001 to 2007, I identified unmanaged recreation as one of the top four threats to our nation's forests. The rapid growth in OHV riding is having a large impact on the land, and reckless riders are causing tension with other forest users.
Since I identified the four threats, the Forest Service has accomplished a lot. In 2005, a new travel management rule was instituted to govern the use of motorized vehicles. We developed each plan through a collaborative process that engaged local stakeholders. Nearly 75 percent of those local plans have been finalized, and the responsible majority of OHV users are enjoying the nearly 56,000 miles of trails open to motorized access. For the full article... http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2012/02/crack_down_on_illegal_off-high.html