Protecting Oregon’s Ochoco National Forest From OHVs

The U.S. Forest Service issued a final decision green-lighting an extensive motorized trail system that would add 137 miles of new off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails to the existing network of 674 miles within the Ochoco National Forest in central Oregon, including areas of old growth forest.

This plan would add new scars to the landscape of old growth ponderosa pine and extremely fragile scabland ecosystems. Attendant OHV use would disrupt wildlife that inhabits the secluded Ochoco Mountains, including Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, redband trout, and gray wolves. The Forest Service approved the project despite major opposition from the community and concerns from Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife about disruptions to elk calving and security areas on the forest.

We challenged this plan in court and won on all of our claims. The project is dead for now and very unlikely to surface but we’ll monitor any future developments.

Photo by Gary T. Marsh.