The Bureau of Land Management encourages public to report illegal motorized travel, dumping on public land
Idaho Falls, Idaho — Members of the public who report illegal off-road travel or illegal dumping on public land in eastern Idaho may receive a $500 reward for their efforts to help protect natural and cultural resources through the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Citizen Reward program, established in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM Idaho Falls District manages nearly 3.7 million acres of public land in the 19 eastern Idaho counties.
The BLM designates roads and trails for motorized and nonmotorized use, prohibits off-road and trail travel in certain areas, and implements annual temporary seasonal closures for a variety of reasons. These include protecting fragile soils, rare plants, important wildlife habitat and cultural resources. Responsible use of our public lands is vital to ensuring their integrity, but during hunting seasons and antler shed collecting seasons, increased travel violations are being detected.
Annual temporary seasonal closures of areas to motorized travel are particularly critical to protecting winter range for wildlife. Off-road travel that violates these closures during the winter months threatens the survival of deer and elk as food is scarce, and animals are forced to use their energy reserves to flee from motorized vehicles. “Motorized travel” pertains to ATVs, UTVs, snowmobiles and motorcycles as well as full-sized vehicles. Unless an area is completely closed to human entry, hiking, biking, horseback riding and other non-motorized activities are still allowed.
Public land users are encouraged to contact the BLM Field Office that manages the area they are recreating in to obtain information about travel restrictions and seasonal closures. Members of the public should look for signs indicating motor vehicle regulations and stay out of areas that are gated or designated closed during the time frame indicated.
Closure information is available on the BLM website at https://www.blm.gov/idaho/advisories-and-closures and contact information for Idaho Falls District and Field Offices is available on the BLM website as well at https://www.blm.gov/office/idaho-falls-district-office.
Driving a vehicle off-road or on a nonmotorized route, as well as dumping on BLM land, are violations of federal law. Vehicle violators are subject to fines up to $280, and dumping can cost offenders up to $1,030.
“3.7 million acres is a big area to patrol,” said BLM Law Enforcement Officer Amanda Schramm. “We rely on the public to assist us by reporting illegal activity and other resource impacts to our public lands.”
In 2020, concerned citizens documented violations that helped BLM law enforcement officers identify the responsible parties. For their efforts, the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers presented three Idaho citizens with $500 rewards.
“The BLM greatly appreciates the commitment that the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has made to protecting public lands by supporting citizens who report violations,” said Schramm. “With everyone’s help, we can ensure that future generations will have the same opportunity to enjoy and protect the wild public commons that we and previous generations have embraced as a national birthright.”
Violations can be reported to Idaho Falls District Law Enforcement at (208) 524-7500 or BLM_ID_IF_LE@BLM.GOV. Reports to the BLM should contain as much information as possible, such as the date, location and description of the incident—when, where, what and who you saw. Details should include GPS coordinates and road names or numbers. Photos and videos can be invaluable, especially when they depict the license plate or OHV permit.
This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.