A U.S. magistrate dealt fines to 20 Sheridan, Wyo., four-wheelers
for destroying national forest land last
The incident happened during an annual
"Spring Run" across the Bighorn National Forest, says Tongue
District Ranger Craig Yancey. "Normally they do it on gravel roads,
so it's not a problem," says Yancey, "but for some reason they
decided to go on dirt roads, and then they proceeded to drive in
and out of a riparian zone." He says the drivers damaged roads,
riparian areas and high country parks in six areas across the
A Forest Service volunteer documenting
campground vandalism caught the four-wheelers on videotape. "In the
video," says Yancey, "you can actually hear them cheering in the
The Sheridan residents pled guilty
this March. The 20 people were fined almost $8,000 and ordered to
pay slightly over $13,000 in restitution. That money will be used
to restore the damage this summer.
incident happened on private land near Boulder, Colo., last
September (HCN, 10/23/00: Mudfest debacle muddies off-roaders'
future). Yancey says such instances have been rare on the Bighorn,
but notes that advances in off-road vehicle technology put more and
more land within recreationists' reach. "We're just hoping that
public awareness has increased, too."