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Closures expected January on forests

USFS maps to show areas open to vehicle traffic

Vehicle route closures will begin with expected release in mid-January of Clearwater Over Snow Vehicle Use Maps (OSVUMs) through the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.

OSVUMs are the winter travel map for the Clearwater National Forest. The Clearwater Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) designating forest roads, trails and areas open to motor vehicle use has been available since November and is posted online: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/nezperceclearwater/maps-pubs .

On Jan. 12, 2012, the Clearwater National Forest issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision that designated roads, trails and areas where winter motorized uses are allowed. The decision to close some roads, trails and areas (including recommended wilderness on the Clearwater to over snow motorized use) was also made at that time.

“In making my decision to eliminate most motorized travel in recommended wilderness I have given the most weight to the goal of retaining wilderness character,” said Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell. “This will minimize the potential for adverse effects to Forest resources and conflicts between uses. Though similar opportunities for high elevation snowmobile use exist regionally, the Great Burn area and some other locations on the Powell District will be missed by those who have snowmobiled there. The change will create quiet environments for non-motorized winter users though I recognize that sheer remoteness will limit the numbers of non-motorized users to these areas.”

The Clearwater OSVUMs consist of two double-sided (4’ x 3’) color maps – North Fork and Lochsa-Powell ranger districts.

“Over Snow” is defined as any motor vehicle having skis or tracks designed exclusively for over-snow travel and operated entirely on snow. Examples include snowmobiles, Thiokols, tucker Sno-Cats and similar vehicles. Other track-driven vehicles such as ATVs or ATVs fitted with removable tracks are generally considered summer vehicles and are governed by restrictions on the MVUM. They are considered over-snow vehicles only when operated entirely on snow and after Nov. 15.

For information: Palouse Ranger District, 875-1131; Lochsa Ranger District, 926-4274; Lolo Pass Visitor Center, 942-3113; Orofino Office and North Fork Ranger District, 476-4541.

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