News Release

For Release:  Feb. 22, 2008      
Contact:  Joe Pollini (760) 872-5020

BLM and Owens Valley Residents Work to Repair Illegal Motorcycle Track

The Bureau of Land Management and area residents are making plans to rehabilitate public lands damaged by an illegal motorcycle track in Owens Valley.

The illegally constructed single-track trail was recently discovered in the Volcanic Tableland north of Bishop. The trail was built mostly on public land, with short portions on Los Angeles Department of Water and Power land and private property.

“Several individuals created some 4.5 miles of cross-country single track trail, damaging plant and wildlife habitat, scenic values and possibly cultural sites,” said Bill Dunkelberger, field manager of the BLM Bishop Field Office. Local visitors spotted the trail and reported it to BLM, which is continuing its investigation.

The area containing the trail is a designated wilderness study area. Only Congress can designate wilderness areas. Until Congress makes its decision, the BLM is required to manage the study area to prevent impairment of the area’s suitability for wilderness designation.

Dick Noles with Advocates for Access to Public Lands, which promotes responsible motor access on public lands, expressed his disappointment. “I am really disgusted with these kinds of incidents that hurt our cause to promote responsible motorized access.  This is a case where a handful of individuals failed to live up to principles of personal responsibility, harming our sport and the users who care for public lands.  Regardless, we will do what it takes to fix the damage,” he said.

AAPL has agreed to coordinate efforts to restore the area to a natural appearance with BLM’s help. Kyle Goin, the AAPL volunteer project coordinator, will organize the rehabilitation effort. Those interested in helping on the project can contact him at (760) 937-6571.

“We are currently identifying how we will proceed with the repair and expect to announce a project date in the next week or so,” said Dunkelberger.  “It is very unfortunate this incident occurred because of the negative impact it has on public lands and the motorized user, as well as the financial costs associated with the investigation, rehabilitation, and administrative follow-up.”
The BLM asks the community to report any suspicious or illegal activities visitors see on public lands.  Law enforcement personnel can be contacted at (760) 872-5000.