Annual seasonal motorized use closure will be in effect in South Hills area

TWIN FALLS, Idaho – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Burley Field Office will implement the annual seasonal motorized use closure in the South Hills area from Jan. 16 to March 15 to prevent resource damage and protect critical mule deer winter range and sage-grouse habitat. The closure may be extended if road or weather conditions warrant. The area is still open to the public for nonmotorized use. 

Minimizing stress is important to maintain healthy populations of mule deer in the South Hills during the next few months. Following the Badger Fire, which burned over 90,000 acres last summer, it is especially critical for these animals to have access to good wintering habitat. “Increased human disturbance from motorized vehicles forces mule deer to move to lower quality habitat and expend energy that they are trying to conserve,” said Eric Killoy,  Burley Field Office wildlife biologist. 

The Magic Valley Regional Office of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) supports these efforts to protect wildlife in the area each year. “During the critical months of January through March, it’s important that big game herds don’t expend unnecessary energy,” said Craig White, IDFG Regional Supervisor for Magic Valley. “Members of the public can recreate responsibly by giving these animals a wide berth when participating in nonmotorized activities.”   

A map is attached, and signs are posted in the area to notify the public of the temporary seasonal closure to the following roads and trails: 

·         Dry Creek 

·         Cherry Spring 

·         Indian Springs (closure begins 1.5 miles south of Foothills Road) 

·         North Cottonwood Creek 

The seasonal closure applies to all motorized vehicles (including e-bikes), except those specifically authorized to access the area. Motorized travel authorization is provided for search and rescue operations, emergency medical services and law enforcement personnel, and administratively approved actions such as livestock grazing, access to private lands, and resource monitoring or research studies.  

For more information regarding this annual seasonal road closure or nearby areas available for motorized travel throughout the winter, please contact Dennis Thompson, BLM Burley Field Office recreation planner, at (208) 677-6600.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in the 11 Western states and Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals.

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Hannah Lou Cain