Following a public comment period and analysis by an interdisciplinary team, Fairfield District Ranger Mike Dettori has signed a decision to change over-snow vehicle access restrictions in the upper South Fork Boise River area.

According to the Ranger District, the changes improve access while still protecting wintering wildlife.

The main features of the decision are:

  • Existing over-snow vehicle restrictions in the Couch Summit to Fleck Summit area and up Little Smoky Creek will be removed, allowing the public winter access.
  • Allowance of a groomed over-snow vehicle trail on Forest Roads 094, 227 and 012 from Couch Summit to north of Fleck Summit.
  • A new OSV closure in the headwaters of the South Fork Boise River and Big Smoky Creek areas will be implemented to help protect wintering mountain goats, lynx and wolverine denning from the increase in OSV use resulting from removing the existing restrictions from Couch to Fleck Summit.
  • The portion of the existing winter wildlife closure from Big Smoky to Featherville will remain closed to over-snow vehicles for the protection of wintering elk (landowners and guests with private property in the South Fork subdivision will still be able to access their properties from Featherville with a landowner access permit).
  • The current permit system for landowners to access their properties in the Little Smoky Creek, Big Smoky Creek and upper South Fork Boise River areas will no longer be needed.

The Sawtooth National Forest Winter Recreation Opportunity Spectrum map and percentages will be updated to reflect the new winter travel plan.

The decision memo can be found at fs.usda.gov/Sawtooth.

For additional information concerning this decision, contact Steve Frost or David Skinner at 208-764-3202.

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