Recreational OHV Use in Idaho: Preserving Idaho's Trails

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Scott Lowe


Concern of off highway vehicles (OHVs) having negative environmental impacts came to the forefront in the 1970s. Recognizing the problems with OHV traffic, Presidential Executive Orders were passed to manage and control OVH use on federal public lands. Nationally, OHV is one of the fastest growing recreational activities and in the past five years Idaho's increasing population has resulted in an increase of OHV use in the state. With 39% of U.S. Forest Service owned land and 22% of land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho, government land agencies have a vested interest in protecting the wilderness, wildlife, and ecosystem, while OHV users have an interest in keeping access to trails open. Confusion about the requirements of registration, areas where recreation is allowed, and lack of public awareness about the environmental damage caused from OHV use have all contributed to the increase of users going off trails. Environmental degradation results from the tendency of people to overexploit common-property resources, and is a very complex issue to solve. This is an exploratory research project to examine the current state of recreational OHV use in Idaho and to provide potential solutions to reducing the negative environmental impacts caused by OHV users going off trails.

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