Author Topic: Damage to Radar Hill OHV causes concern  (Read 989 times)

Offline Peter Vahry

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Damage to Radar Hill OHV causes concern
« on: July 30, 2015, 04:47:48 am »
by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Harney County has a valuable asset in the Radar Hill OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) area, but unfortunately, the area is being used as a trash dump, an avenue to trespass on neighboring private land, a place to squeeze off a few rounds of ammunition, and a spot to commit vandalism.

The Radar Hill Fire, which occurred on the Fourth of July, was started by individuals in the OHV area playing with modified fireworks, and it burned 900 acres of private land and more than 130 acres of public land.

With the problems seeming to escalate every year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), who manages the land, is now taking steps to develop a management plan to mitigate the problems.

BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner Eric Haakenson said a 1992 Resource Management Plan called for analyzing the 220-acre OHV area, and since that time, there has been a significant increase in the amount of people using it. As the number of visitors to the area has risen, so has the frequency of abuse, and the BLM has begun a scoping process to get public input on solving the problems.

Tara McLain, BLM realty specialist, said portions of the OHV area, including what is known as “Suicide Hill,” are on private land, and some of the trails pass through private land. In the past, visitors to the OHV area respected private property, but recently, there have been signs stolen, water holes used as mud bogs, ground disturbance, and trash dumped, including household garbage, furniture and appliances.

“The private landowners are tired of their land being abused,” McLain said.

One suggestion was to fence off the private land, but that would create liability issues, and the land is in the middle of a grazing allotment, meaning a fence would reduce the amount of pasture available. Another solution being analyzed is having the BLM acquire the land by sale or trade.

“People are dumping trash, trespassing, and the latest, starting a wildfire. Some people just don’t care,” Three Rivers Resource Area Field Manager Rick Roy said. “People are even dumping motor oil up there after they change the oil in their vehicle. We want to make the area an asset to the community because, right now, it’s a liability.”

As the use of the area increased, BLM responded by improving trails, installing a vault toilet, and making other improvements.

“Everything we put up there though gets damaged,” Tara Thissell, public affairs officer, said, pointing out that the toilet had been shot up.

“It was shot by a shotgun and a rifle,” Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward said. “So you know it was deliberate damage.”

The BLM and the sheriff’s office are working together to reduce the amount of abuse and trespassing, but they also need the public’s help.

Read the full article....
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