SHOSHONE — The Bureau of Land Management is reopening areas affected by seasonal motorized closures in the Wood River Valley put in place each year to minimize impacts to wintering herds of deer and elk. To help with soil stabilization and regrowth, the Shoshone Field Office requests that the public remain aware of how they tread on the land.
The areas to be reopened include: Martin/Big Dry Canyon, Croy Creek to south of Townsend Gulch, Big and Little Beaver Drainages, south slopes above East Fork, Elk Mountain area and portions of Picabo Hills.
Some roads, such as Slaughterhouse Gulch, are buried under avalanche debris and will be for some time. Driving around these areas can damage the soil and vegetation.
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“We are concerned that people may be tempted to drive cross-country in the Sharps fire burned area now that the shrubs are gone,” Shoshone Field Manager Codie Martin said in a statement. “This is a practice that is no longer allowed on public land managed by BLM for resource protection and one that will also jeopardize the success of the vegetation regrowth.”
During the winter of 2018-2019, BLM, private landowners and other partner organizations implemented a number of rehabilitation and stabilization projects in the area. The BLM — along with Idaho Department of Lands, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Idaho Department of Fish and Game — seeded over 13,000 acres with sagebrush, grass and forbs.
“We had a unique opportunity to approach our rehabilitation efforts in a way that crossed land ownership boundaries,” Shoshone Fire Ecologist Danelle Nance said in a statement. “By using the similar native seed mixes on public, private and state land parcels, we can seamlessly stabilize soils and reduce the invasion of noxious weeds on a landscape level.”
For more information including free maps, call 208-732-7200.