Outdoor Notes : Vehicles Endanger Three Utah Forests

Thousands of all-terrain and off-road vehicle users from California and Nevada have caused so much damage to three southern Utah national forests that the Forest Service is considering closing some roads in the forests.

Areas in the Dixie, Fishlake and Manti-LaSal national forests, have experienced “devastation,” according to the Forest Service.

The vehicles have added “miles of unplanned and unwanted trails to the forests, damaging soils and streams, frightening wildlife and--in short--destroying the very things people come to enjoy,” the service said.

Douglas W. Austin, district ranger in Dixie National Forest, said that one area in his district resembles spaghetti, with trails everywhere.


“The soils in southern Utah are very erosive” he said. “We have areas where water runoff can produce a three-foot trench in a single storm.”

Forest Service officials said that off-road drivers this year may find some areas closed. Already, the Forest Service has blocked vehicle trails into some meadows and other fragile areas where vehicle use has caused permanent rutting, soil erosion and watershed damage. Seasonal closings are also planned.

The Forest Service suggests that ATV and ORV users in southern Utah check with Forest Service offices in Richfield, Cedar City, Price, St. George, Cedar City, Panguitch, Esclante, Teasdale, Loa, Beaver, Fillmore, Ferron, Ephraim, Monticello and Moab before using Forest Service roads.

San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties will each share $1,287,800, which was recently appropriated by the California Wildlife Conservation Board.


The Wildlife Conservation Board consists of the president of the Fish and Game Commission, the director of the Department of Fish and Game, and the director of the Department of Finance. The board distributes revenue from bonds, environmental license plate funds and wildlife restoration funds.

In San Diego, WCB money will be used to improve access to Lake Jennings and to acquire additional acreage for Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Rare plant habitat will be purchased in San Bernardino County. In Riverside County, lands adjacent to the San Jacinto Wildlife Area will be bought.

California’s spring wild turkey season will begin March 29, and biologists say that the pattern of increased bird numbers should continue. Hunters are limited to one bearded turkey a day and two altogether during the 37-day season.

The gun that introduced sport shooting to millions of Americans, the Daisy Model 25 pump air rifle, will be the focus of the Daisy Manufacturing Company’s centennial this year. The firm will issue a limited Centennial Edition of the air rifle, which it introduced in 1913. More than 8 million Daisy Model 25s were made.


The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail Advisory Council will meet April 23-25 in San Bernardino at the Hilton Hotel to provide policy recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture. . . . Two northern California men, Junior Wayne Morris of Marysville and Ben D. Wells of Live Oak, were fined a total of $2,320 and sentenced to 15 days in jail for the illegal killing of three mule deer along the California-Nevada line last August. They had already been fined more than $3,000 each in Nevada. . . . The Fish and Game Commission’s next meeting has been rescheduled for April 7 at the state building auditorium in San Diego. . . . Tag returns show that California bear hunters bagged a record 1,138 black bears during the 79-day season that ended Dec. 29, the highest count since 1965. . . . Milt Huber will present a fly fishing seminar on golden trout Wednesday at the San Gabriel Valley Fly Fishers’ meeting at the Legg Lakes/Whittier Narrows Visitors Center, 7:30 p.m. California Trout will finance the use of a helicopter to place 1,000-pound boulders on each of 200 sites on Hat Creek this spring to improve trout habitat.