ATV Route Proposed
Update 2005, 2006,
The Big Lost River ATV trail described below has been scaled back. ATV
users and Custer County officials are still advocating for formal
designation for at least a portion of the trail. For more background about
the ATV trail:
Update 2004: ATV
A 460-mile ATV (all-terrain vehicle)
route through central Idaho has been proposed by the Idaho Department of
Parks and Recreation (IDPR). A signed trail would link Arco to Mackay to
Challis, and pass through the Big Lost River and Pahsimeroi valleys, the
eastern Boulder-White Clouds and Copper Basin in the Pioneer Mountains.
The Custer County town of Challis has welcomed the proposal, while in
Blaine County where many residents recreate and own property in the Big
Lost region, the reception has been chilly. The powerful, state funded,
pro-motorized IDPR has told us that ATV use is growing and thereís no
stopping it and claims a designated trail would help keep the machines in
control. Two enforcement officers would be funded to patrol the 460-mile
route. IDPR receives funds by collecting a percentage of the stateís gas
tax and from off-highway vehicle registration fees
IDPR held meetings in February in Challis, Mackay and Arco. Then,
because of outcry in Blaine County, hosted a Hailey meeting in March. In
an effort to bring sides together, State Senator Clint Stennett of
Ketchum, who also has a ranch near Mackay, has proposed that IDPR scale
back and starts with a smaller "pilot" ATV route near Challis or Arco.
The next step will be for IDPR to ask the U.S. Forest Service and BLM
to begin a formal Environmental Analysis of the proposed route within
their lands of jurisdiction. Initially, IDPR said they wanted the signed
route in place by summer 2004.
Trail opponents cite safety concerns, negative impacts to wildlife and
to other recreationists, and increased soil damage by ATVís leaving the
signed route, and going cross-country. Also, that this trail will
encourage more ATV use, which equals more demand for trails elsewhere.
Trail project contact:
Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation,
Idaho Falls, 208/525-7121.
Clouds Council shares the concerns of many people questioning rather this
publicized, designated route is a wise idea.
SAFETY: In Idaho, a driverís license is NOT required for ATV use
on Forest Service and BLM roads. In other words, a 5-year old child could
ride much of this 460-mile route. Nor are helmets required.
MORE ON SAFETY: IDPR says the proposed trail will use existing
roads and not create new ones. The route goes from Trail Creek road
through Peckís Canyon, in the eastern Boulder-White Clouds. Peckís Canyon
road is narrow, with blind corners, and goes up a steep drainage with few
pullouts. Accidents would be almost a certainty Ė especially since most
ATV riders go full throttle. More than once, while driving in the
backcountry, weíve had to slam on the brakes, and maneuver to avoid
speeding ATVís, in the middle of the road.
ENFORCEMENT: Existing ATV use cannot be controlled on Forest
Service or BLM lands, or near towns. Closure signs at the bottom of
illegal hill climbs are torn down. ATVís ride through wet meadows and
streams, and are not caught because thereís just too much country for a
few law officers to patrol.
ATV IMPACTS ON OTHER RECREATIONISTS Ė The Copper Basin country
is noted for washboard, dusty roads. Adding thousands of ATVís to an area
already popular with fishermen, campers, horsemen, hikers and
photographers, would diminish their outdoor experience. The Paiute ATV
Trail in Utah has over 60,000 ATVs annually.
A QUOTE: "We Ö need more control of the existing use, and to
encourage folks to pursue less consuming, disruptive and healthier ways to
enjoy nature." F. Carl Pence, Guest Opinion, Wood River Journal,
April 2, 2003.
A FINAL NOTE: In a 2002 survey conducted by the Sawtooth
Society, the top vote getter for what people liked least about the
Sawtooth National Recreation Area was motorized recreation.
For more pro-ATV information visit these web
For more pro-quiet recreation reading