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Off-road vehicle policy on USDA national forests : evaluating user conflicts and travel management /

by Yankoviak, Brenda M.

Abstract (Summary)
Yankoviak, Brenda M., M.S., December 2005 Recreation Management Off-road Vehicle Policy on USDA National Forests: Evaluating User Conflicts and Travel Management Committee Co-Chairs: Norma P. Nickerson and Martin Nie Since the history of off-road vehicle (ORV) management on National Forest System (NFS) lands was spurred in part by the need to reduce user conflicts between motorized and non-motorized users, one might assume such conflicts to have been diffused after 30 years of management actions. To the contrary, decades of inconsistent management and inadequate enforcement have largely characterized the history of Forest Service ORV management, leading to continued environmental damage and user conflicts. The Forest Service recently released another travel management policy that largely prohibits crosscountry off-road vehicle use and restricts motorized travel to designated roads, trails and areas on NFS lands. Many forests across the nation will amend travel plans or undertake travel planning pursuant to the new policy. In light of this new policy, the purpose of this paper has been to evaluate its potential effectiveness in reducing user conflicts resulting from ORV use. To that end, this paper: 1) Reviews the history of Forest Service travel management policy that has led to the need for this policy change, 2) examines the context within which the conflicts are occurring- e.g. rapidly increasing recreation use of NFS lands, and 3) summarizes the themes common to conflicts between motorized and non-motorized recreationists. This paper then puts forth expectations for the effectiveness of the Forest Service’s new policy in minimizing user conflicts and provides concrete suggestions for moving forward. This paper argues the new policy is not likely to reduce user conflicts resulting from ORV use on NFS lands for several reasons. First, the new regulations are not much different from previous regulations, other than they contain less specific language with respect to closure of areas and trails due to considerable adverse effects and considerations for route designations. Second, the policy neither defines the term “user conflict” nor addresses how to evaluate if such conflicts exist and, if so, how to accommodate competing claims from legitimate uses. Thirdly, the policy ignores noise pollution, one of the most cited complaints of off-road vehicle use. One measure to reduce conflict felt by many users is to impose noise limits on motor vehicles operating on NFS lands. ii
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Montana Tech of the University of Montana

School Location:USA - Montana

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:united states off road vehicles recreational public lands

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