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July 3, 2007

Contact: Rey Adame 307-352-0399
Wally Mierzejewski 307-828-4508 

OHV Fun Is Best When Users Understand Impacts

There are literally hundreds of miles of existing two-track trails and roads on public lands that weave throughout the southwestern Wyoming landscape. Most of these public lands are administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

"There are so many opportunities for people to enjoy and recreate via Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) in Wyoming," said Wally Mierzejewski, outdoor recreation planner for the Kemmerer BLM. "We want them to enjoy these trails. There is so much to see, appreciate and experience," he said. The BLM has the primary responsibility to protect the resources found along these trails, roads and sites.

New All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are better equipped to handle steeper, more rugged terrain. They are also faster, more powerful and easier to operate. This has encouraged some ATV riders to venture into new territory. In turn, this has created some challenges for the BLM and other land management agencies. "We’re seeing new trails being created, often in sensitive areas. New trails are threatening sensitive cultural, archeological and historical areas – not to mention big game and wildlife birthing and calving areas," Mierzejewski noted.

But the federal land managers are not the only ones facing these problems. These unapproved trails traverse across private land as well. Other significant impacts are the spread of noxious weeds and grasses. Off-road ATV use into sensitive areas is pressuring the BLM to consider closing larger areas to OHV use. "We need the public’s support and cooperation. With the public’s help we should be able to prevent any further damage to these areas" Mierezejweski said.

The existing trails are there for everyone to enjoy and to protect. The State of Wyoming, the BLM and local governments have established rules and designated areas for proper OHV use. The 1986 Kemmerer Resource Management Plan authorized the use of existing roads and trails for OHV use.

For more information on how to properly use BLM-administered lands for OHV use, contact Mierzejewski at 307-828-4508, or their main office at 307-828-4500.