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Protecting unfragmented
habitats, minimizing habitat loss,
and maintaining, enhancing or
restoring conditions that meet
life-history needs

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Travel management for multiple use

Travel – motorized and non-motorized, on roads and trails or cross-country – is an important public land resource which BLM resource management plans address as one of numerous land use activities. 

Authorized use of routes and ways on public lands supports economic activity and provide recreational access, but unauthorized travel can threaten a number of other resources that are crucial to the long-term health and value of the public lands.

In particular, BLM policy recognizes that travel management is necessary to prevent fragmentation and loss of habitat for the Greater sage-grouse, which also supports many other unique plant and animal species and anchors landscapes across the Western U.S.


Prioritizing habitat

BLM policy makes sage-grouse habitat protection and restoration a top concern for field-level officials deciding on travel route designations.

Where sage-grouse life history functions may be impaired by continued use of a road, primitive road or trail, BLM officials are directed to use seasonal restrictions on travel and to limit and enforce motor vehicle use to designated routes to prevent habitat loss or disturbance.

Closing unauthorized routes fights fragmentation of habitat and the larger landscape, while seasonal closures leave areas used for breeding, brood-rearing, migration or winter survival open for travel when sage-grouse are not present.

The 2008 travel management plan (TMP) for the BLM Challis Field Office contains examples of route closures and seasonal travel restrictions implemented specifically to protect priority sage-grouse habitat.   

parallel, redundant routes through sagebrush habitat in the Challis Field Office (Idaho)



two-track road in the Antelope Flat area of the Challis Field Office, Idaho

The photos above were taken in the Challis area while the TMP was being developed.  Redundant routes like those in the top photo unnecessarily fragment the surrounding sagelands.  Only one route was designated to remain open, the other reclaimed.  

The bottom photo shows a route through key sagebrush habitat in the Antelope Flat area outside Challis, which is closed seasonally as indicated on the sign, lower-right.

Construction of new routes is limited to realigning existing routes only if it will conserve or enhance sage-grouse habitat.  Improvements will not expand the route's capacity or change its category: that is, trails will not become primitive roads, and primitive roads will not become roads.  If a new route must be built to access valid existing rights, it will be limited to the absolute minimum standard necessary.