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Think Out Loud

Having Fun in the Forest

Pete Springer/OPB

Off-road — or off-highway (OHV) — vehicles zip through the state’s national forests as drivers enjoy the speed and the beauty of their surroundings. However, that excitement might be limited if Mt. Hood’s newly released travel plan (pdf) sets any kind of standard.

It specifies 146 miles of roads and trails in the Mt. Hood National Forest for use by vehicles like ATVs and dirt bikes. Environmental groups such as Bark and Oregon Wild applaud the decision. They are pleased this will force vehicles to stay in designated areas. And will give law enforcement the ability to chase them down if they don’t. Lori Ann Burd, from Bark, told OPB reporter Rob Manning:

It’s going to allow them to begin to get a grip on some of the out-of-control OHV use. Managing OHVs on Mount Hood has been a nightmare for the forest’s already stretched-thin law enforcement team.

People who enjoy the sport are less pleased. Marvin Ohlde from the Central Oregon Motorcycle and ATV Club told me he thinks the plan simply doesn’t allow enough trail for ATVs in the forest.

How do you use the state’s national forests? For hiking? Biking? Off-roading? Or bird watching? How do other people’s activities affect your enjoyment of the space? How do you think recreation and conservation should be balanced in the forest?



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