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BLM seeks input on third Owyhee County travel management plan to reduce user conflicts and protect natural resources

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BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Boise District seeks input during a 30-day public comment period on the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA) South Travel Management Plan Environmental Assessment. The proposed plan defines a comprehensive system of motorized travel routes through central Owyhee County in southwestern Idaho, ensuring access to BLM-managed public lands, while addressing potential conflicts between users and natural resources.

The BLM would designate between 154 to 341 miles as open for motorized vehicles, providing access to 112,087 acres of BLM-managed public land. The BLM will allocate up to 8 miles specifically for all-terrain or utility task vehicle use, and up to 42 miles for single-track use, such as motorcycles or e-bikes. The range of closed routes is projected to be between 56 to 221 miles.“This travel management planning effort will lead to a quality experience for various types of recreation, including hiking, horseback riding, single-track and off-highway vehicle motorized use, while balancing other land uses such as livestock grazing,” said BLM Acting Boise District Manager Beth Maclean.

The BLM is required by Congress to manage public lands for a variety of uses such as livestock grazing, recreation, and mining, while ensuring natural, cultural, and historic resources are maintained for present and future use. A Travel Management Plan includes an analysis process to designate routes that will ensure public land access for these varied uses, while also:

  • providing areas with motorized and non-motorized recreation activities
  • preventing soil and vegetation damage resulting from the proliferation of routes
  • reducing conflicts between various recreation users

Public comments on these proposed route systems will be received through January 8, 2024, and can be submitted HERE. The purpose of the comment period is to provide relevant information to the BLM about the proposed alternatives.

The BLM has divided Owyhee County into five segments to analyze for travel management planning. The NCA South is the third plan to be reviewed, and will be followed by Silver City and Grand View. The goal is to complete all plans by spring 2024.

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