BURLEY — The Burley Bureau of Land Management field office will implement a seasonal road closure from Jan. 16 to March 15 in the South Hills area. This closure, which has gone into effect each winter since 2000, is designed to prevent resource damage and to protect crucial mule deer winter range and sage-grouse habitat.
Signs have been posted in the area notifying the public of the closure, and gates have been installed to prevent trespass. The following roads, as well as any two-tracks or trails tied to these roads, will be closed to motorized travel: Dry Creek; Cherry Spring; Indian Springs — begins 1½ miles south of Foothills Road, and North Cottonwood Creek.
The seasonal closure applies to all motorized vehicles except those specifically authorized to access the area: search and rescue, emergency medical services and law enforcement personnel. Administratively-approved actions such as livestock-grazing activity, access to private lands and resource monitoring or research studies will continue. The area is open to the public for non-motorized use.
“Increased human disturbance from motorized vehicles and off-trail recreation force mule deer to move to lower-quality habitat and expend energy that they are trying to conserve,” Eric Killoy, BLM wildlife biologist, said in a statement. “This, in turn, limits foraging ability and reduces fat reserves essential for survival and reproduction. To sustain healthy populations of mule deer in the South Hills and surrounding areas, it is crucial to minimize disturbance during these next few months.”
The Magic Valley Regional Office of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game supports the need to protect wildlife in the area. “Considering the heavy winter snows this year and the light fawn body weights we have been detecting, it makes this closure even more important for people to honor,” Kelton Hatch, Fish and Game regional conservation educator, said in a statement.
More information regarding the road closure: call Dennis Thompson, BLM Burley field office recreation planner, at 208-677-6600.