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Date:  June 2, 2008
Contact:  Mary Apple (406) 896-5258

Unauthorized Use and Vandalism Continue 
at Shepherd Ah Nei OHV Area

Unauthorized use and vandalism continue to plague the popular Shepherd Ah Nei OHV area north of Billings.

The Bureau of Land Management closed the area over the Memorial Day weekend because of muddy conditions. However, vandal(s) ignored the closure and damaged a gate and two fences in order to ride there. This recent spate of vandalism is not an isolated incident. Illegal off-trail use and the destruction of various fences, barriers, signs, and gates is a common occurrence.

According to Billings Field Manager Jim Sparks, “When conditions warrant, we need to close the area to avoid soil erosion and trail damage or to minimize the chance of wildfire. We really want to provide OHV users a place to ride, but our budget only goes so far. When we have to pay more for repairs than on operation and maintenance, it no longer makes sense to keep the area open. We’re asking the public to respect the occasional closures and to abide by the area’s rules.”

The Billings Field Office has a Shepherd Ah Nei information line that has current information on riding conditions at the area. That number is 896-5014.

The BLM is asking that responsible riders help educate others as to the proper use of the area. Violations should be reported to BLM law enforcement at 698-9854 or 1-800-826-3023.