News Release

For Release:  October 28, 2008       
Contact:  Rich Williams (760) 872-5033
CA-CC-09-07

BLM Bishop Proposes Hill-Climb Area Restoration Project

The Bureau of Land Management's Bishop Field Office is requesting comments by Nov. 21 on a proposed rehabilitation project in Mono County.

BLM proposes to decommission and rehabilitate a motorized hill-climb area to restore important upland sage habitat and reduce a visual scar in Long Valley. The proposed project is east of U.S. 395 on Benton Crossing Road, and north off Whitmore Road.

The project is located within prime greater sage grouse habitat and near the birds’ lek (breeding grounds). This route is one-half-mile long and traverses a steep incline. The loose soils have moved and forced vehicles to widen the route significantly in some areas. Additionally, the route has become deeply rutted making the route impassable and unsafe to most vehicles.

Currently, the hill-climb accesses the south side of Doe Ridge. There are several other routes that can be used to access this area once the rehabilitation is complete.

"Many people have been stuck on that hill and damaged the undercarriage of their vehicles," said Acting Field Manager Joe Pollini. "The hill is deceiving; if you’re driving down the hill you don't see how steep and rutted the route is until you're at a point where it is so steep and sandy you cannot backup. Additionally, there is a potential of high-centering your vehicle on one of the ruts. Your average SUV cannot make it up the hill because of the steep incline and soft sand."
 
The elements of the proposed project are: (1) perform cultural and historic surveys; (2) barricade entry by motor vehicles through the use of large rocks; (3) propagate native vegetation at the White Mountain Research Station for out-planting at the site; (4) monitor for compliance by law enforcement personnel and; (5) install “Rehabilitation in Progress” signs and alternate routes to access Doe Ridge.

This proposal conforms to the BLM’s resource management plan’s prescriptions for the Long Valley area and objectives of the Bishop Field Office programmatic off-highway vehicle route restoration environmental assessment decision record. Work will likely begin in fall of 2008 and be completed in 2010. 

Additional information requests or comments on the proposed project can be addressed to Rich Williams, outdoor recreation planner, BLM – Bishop Field Office, 351 Pacu Lane, Suite 100, Bishop, Calif. 93514. (760) 872-5033.

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