The Ochoco National Forest east of Prineville provides habitat for many species, including elk and redband trout. It also provides for recreational activities like hunting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, photography, and many more outdoor adventures that visitors and residents enjoy in this beautiful area.
The Forest Service recently released a final decision for a new motorized trail system of 137 miles with 79 stream crossings in the Ochocos at a minimum cost of nearly half a million dollars. These trails would be open for use by motorized vehicles including ATVs, jeeps, small trucks and buggies, and motorcycles.
OHVs cause noise disturbance and erosion, spread invasive species, damage riparian areas, and cause other negative impacts to wildlife habitats. There is already damaging illegal OHV use in this area with little enforcement, and the Forest Service’s plan for enforcement is essentially self-regulation by the OHV groups.
Central Oregon LandWatch and many others have opposed this horrendous project since 2013 because of how it will impact elk, deer and redband trout.
Now, we have until November 7th to file an official objection as part of the NEPA process. LandWatch has put together an excellent team of experienced scientists and NEPA attorneys to fight this proposal and we are currently working against the clock to submit our objection.