BLM and partners finalize fourth travel management plan in southwestern Idaho

Boise DO
Media Contact

BOISE, IdahoAfter extensive work with local partners, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today finalized the fourth of five plans that taken together will define a comprehensive system of existing motorized routes through Owyhee County in southwestern Idaho. The Silver City Travel Management Plan ensures access for hiking, biking, and off-highway vehicle use, while also supporting working rangelands and minimizing user and resource conflicts. 

The BLM analyzed comments from the public and partners including motorized user groups, Tribes, and various state and federal agencies in developing the plan that designates 1,103 miles of BLM-managed routes within Owyhee County. Designated routes are defined by more than physical characteristics such as paved surfaces, but also consider usage, size, condition, and popularity. The BLM designated 1,071 route miles as open for motorized vehicles, providing access to 425,000 acres of BLM-managed public land.

“We relied upon input from interested organizations and the public during the decision-making process to understand different perspectives and specific concerns,” said BLM Acting Owyhee Field Manager Jarod Blades. “The result is a transportation network that balances access needs, impacts from access points and routes, and the quality of various recreational experiences.” 

Under the plan, the BLM will decommission and restore approximately 23 miles of trails and roads, both paved and unpaved, to their natural state. This decision was informed by detailed evaluations of each route, accounting for factors such as usage, condition, and environmental impact. The process prioritized routes that could naturally regenerate, with additional restoration efforts contingent on available funding. By reducing route density, this initiative aims to protect wildlife, native plants, and cultural resources, thereby creating a more sustainable network for public access. 

The BLM has been analyzing five segments of Owyhee County for travel management planning. Silver City is the fourth plan to be approved and will be followed by Grand View. The goal is to complete all plans by spring 2024. 

The BLM allowed the public a chance to review and weigh in on alternatives to the plan during a 30-day public comment period this winter. The final plan and decision record are available at the BLM National NEPA Register. For additional information, please contact Jarod Blades at 208-896-5912. 




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