Road Closures

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Status

In October 2017, Y2U began working with the Montpelier Ranger District to close illegal OHV/ATV roads.  In 2017 Y2U assisted with the permanent closure of five (5) miles of unauthorized user-created routes.  In 2018, using heavy equipment donated by Kiesha’s Preserve, the wildlife preserve that Y2U manages, we were able to offer the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache and Caribou-Targhee National Forests the resources and labor needed to close unauthorized user created routes according to each Forest's Travel Plans.  In 2018, Y2U assisted the Forest Service in the permanent closure of over seven (7) miles of roads and fifteen (15) illegal campsites in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and one and a half (1.5) miles of roads and fifty (50) illegal campsites in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forests.  In August 2018, Y2U director Jason Christensen toured the project worksites with the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache Forest Supervisor, Dave Whittekiend and Logan District Ranger Jennefer Parker and Montpelier District Ranger Mike Duncan to assess work progress and plan for future road closure work.  Y2U submitted a RAC grant proposal in March 2019 to assist with funding route closures in the Caribou National Forest.  The RAC proposal was not funded.  Y2U had still intended to assist the Montpelier Ranger District of the Caribou National Forest with additional unauthorized user-created routes but for reasons unknown at this time, we were not asked to assist as planned during the summer of 2019.  Y2U did however assist the Logan Ranger District with the closure of an additional three (3) miles of unauthorized user-created routes and the closure of multiple illegal campsites, some of which occurred within the Wilderness boundary, in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest during the summer of 2019. 

Work Plan

Meet with Uinta-Wasatch-Cache and Caribou-Targhee National Forests over the upcoming months to discuss closing additional user-created routes and illegal campsites in 2020.

Expected Outcome

Our goal is to close an additional 10 miles of user-created routes and 50 illegal campsites in 2020.

Update

June 28, 2020

Yellowstone to Uintas Connection Director Jason Christensen assisted the Forest Service last week with the closure of 5.75 miles of illegal, user-created routes.

The Forest Service does not have the resources to close unauthorized user-created OHV routes identified in their Forest Travel Plans. Unauthorized roads originate from past developments such as logging projects or when OHVs travel off road repeatedly, creating a new route. Roads fragment habitat and displace wildlife from preferred habitats. Current road densities often force wildlife to use energy reserves to flee approaching vehicles. Roads also inhibit plant recolonization through mechanical disturbance and downcutting of the roadbed which lowers the water table and allows topsoil to erode. Accumulations of motorized hydrocarbon pollutants from rubber tires, fuels and motor oils collect on rocks and within streams, adversely affecting the growth of amphibians and invertebrates.Campground containment has become increasingly important with population booms in the urban areas surrounding the Yellowstone to Uintas Corridor. Campgrounds often become OHV “playgrounds” destroying the plant community and adding sediment loads to waterways, as well as polluting the air with increased levels of particulates and noise pollution. The use of boulders, signage, and user-created route closure assists the FS with keeping these campgrounds in authorized locations and gives wildlife a buffer from the OHV activity.

In the past three years Y2U has assisted the Forest Service with the permanent closure of 16.5 miles of unauthorized routes and over 75 illegal campgrounds permanently closed on our public lands! Our four year total is now 22.25 miles of roads illegal routes closed in our National Forests!