A proposal for an off-road vehicle (ORV) trail in central Idaho is kicking up dust.
The Idaho Department of
Parks and Recreation wants to link 460 miles of existing routes
already open to ORVs on federal lands. The agency says the loop
trail, which would run through the Lost River Valley and the towns
of Arco, Mackay and Challis, will give off-roaders a place to ride
without illegally “pioneering” new trails. The project
would receive funding from ORV registration fees and the Off-Road
Motor Vehicle Fund, which generates $600,000 a year for the state
parks department from a portion of gasoline taxes.
Collins of the BlueRibbon Coalition, a Pocatello, Idaho-based
motorized vehicle users’ group, says the “trail system
would create a tourism industry for the local communities.”
He hopes to see similar systems “replicated, not only
throughout the state, but throughout the country.”
But critics say the state is answering to off-road enthusiasts
— and their funding — instead of acting in the
public’s best interest. The state “does have a
motorized bias, just because of that money,” says Linn
Kincannon of the Idaho Conservation League. Kincannon says lack of
law enforcement in the region means the loop trail is “just
going to add to the problem” of illegal trail blazing.
Citizens have also raised concerns about noise and dust, the spread
of noxious weeds, and the uncertain economic benefits.
more information, call the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation
at 208/525-7121 or write the department at P.O. Box 1876, Idaho
Falls, ID, 83403.