Road plan gets rough reception

  A Forest Service proposal to close 425 miles of road in the Bridger-Teton National Forest has provoked strong opposition. Forest officials said the plethora of roads made by all-terrain vehicles were chasing wildlife out and damaging vegetation. "Two-track roads are increasing from hunters on ATVs and the land can't stand that kind of use," says Pinedale district ranger Bob Reese. Although 400 miles of road would still remain open, Ron Paris, president of the Dubois, Wyo., ATV Association, says that's not enough. "If the desire wasn't there for someone to go somewhere, the road would've never been made," he says. "If you don't like the sound of ATVs, backpack in the wilderness." In a comment period ending Jan. 15, the agency received nearly 300 individual responses. About 100 personal responses favored the proposal, 150 opposed it, and 40 opposed specific road closures. Recreational outfitters largely support the closures. "My concern is that they've (Forest Service) let it go so long without doing something about it," says Tim Singewald, of Bridger Wilderness Outfitters in Pinedale. The agency expects to make a decision sometime in March.

*Christopher Skelton