The Forest Service has finalized its plan for ATVs, dirtbikes, and other off-highway vehicles (OHVs) in Mt. Hood National Forest. Prior to this decision Mt. Hood was open to OHV use everywhere that wasn’t posted closed. On the ground, prior to the OHV Plan final decision, 36% of Mt. Hood ‘s 1.1 million acres were open for OHV use. OHV use was allowed on 2,463 miles of roads and cross country travel was allowed. With this decision OHV users will be limited to about 143 miles of designated roads and trails in LaDee Flats, McCubbins Gulch, and Rock Creek.
The Forest Service received thousands of comments, including 715 from Barkers, on its draft EIS. The agency considered creating OHV areas in extremely sensitive parts of the forest including Bear Creek, Peavine, Graham Pass, Mt. Defiance, and Gibson Prairie. However, the Forest Service received overwhelming opposition from its own experts, other agencies, and the public. Fortunately these areas have been spared.
Of all those who recreate in Mt. Hood National Forest: 53% of people who visit Mt. Hood come to hike and only 0.52% percent of Mt. Hood ‘s visitors are there to ride ATVs, dirtbikes, and other OHVs. While OHV users are only a small percentage of Mt. Hood ‘s visitors, they have had a substantial adverse impact on the forest. Bark is pleased that the Forest Service listened to the thousands of Oregonians who asked for the protection of our drinking water, wildlife habitat, and quiet recreation opportunities from noisy polluting OHVs. While this decision is an important step in the right direction, we will continue to monitor OHV use on Mt. Hood and the effectiveness of this plan at reducing the harm caused by OHVs.
Find maps for allowed OHV access at the Forest Service website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/mthood/recreation/ohv