Little River Canyon National Preserve
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 2, 2010
CONTACT – John Bundy
Off-road vehicle use to end at
Little River Canyon National Preserve
Move will bring compliance with Federal requirements
The National Park Service (NPS) has announced that off-road vehicle (ORV) use at Little River Canyon National Preserve will cease, effective September 1, 2010.
“We understand this announcement will be disappointing to many people in the community who are used to being able to drive their all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on the Preserve’s roads,” said Preserve Superintendent John Bundy. “This change is necessary, though, to ensure the Preserve is complying with federal and state laws.”
As part of the Preserve’s general management planning (GMP) process, NPS planners reviewed applicable laws, policies and regulations. “As we were going through that process we realized that we could no longer allow ATV use as it is currently permitted,” Bundy said. “Although limited ATV use has occurred here since this land was set aside as a national preserve, we are actually restricted from allowing it.”
Executive Order 11644, issued by President Nixon on February 8, 1972, directly governs the use of ORVs and ATVs, including vehicles driven on roads, in units of the National Park System. This Executive Order and the NPS regulations established under it, prohibit the use of such vehicles on roads within National Park System units.
“In the past, we have closed environmentally sensitive areas to ATV access in order to fulfill our resource protection obligations,” Bundy said. “After consulting with legal counsel and many stakeholders about this important issue we determined that, to be in conformance with the law, we can no longer permit ATV use in the backcountry or on park roads.”
The NPS was given a dual mission by Congress when the agency was established in 1916: to conserve resources and to provide for enjoyment of those resources by such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for future generations. NPS management decisions seek to balance use and preservation.
The development of a Backcountry Management Plan could review visitor uses and identify some locations or trails for ATV/ORV use that does not impair resources,” Bundy said. “That would allow them to return to the preserve in a limited fashion.”
The NPS plans to ensure that the public is notified well in advance of the closure by posting signs, putting notices in newspapers, and posting information on its web site.
Federal Regulations & Authorities:
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Will I be able to ride my ATV in the preserve?
A. Beginning September 1, 2010 ATV's may no longer be operated in the preserve.
Q. Will my permit still be good?
A. All ATV permits will be terminated effective September 1, 2010.
Q. Why was the decision made to stop ATV's?
A. In reviewing the laws, policies and regulations as part of the General Management Planning process, it was recognized that we could not allow ATV use.
Q. What regulation/rule says I can't ride my ATV in the preserve?
A. Executive Order 11644, as amended and National Park regulations. These Federal requirements do not permit off-road vehicles to travel on designated roads or parking lots in the preserve.
Q. When was this law passed?
A. Executive Order 11644 was issued by President Nixon on February 8, 1972. It directly governs the use of off-road vehicles, including vehicles driven on roads, in units of the National Park System. This Executive Order and the NPS regulations established under it, prohibit the use of ORV's on roads within National Park System units.
Q. ATV riding was allowed before, why not now?
A. Although limited ATV use has occurred since this property was set aside as a national preserve, Executive Order 11644 and associated regulations restrict our authority to do so.
Q. Why can't ATV use be continued as before?
A. After thorough legal review, it was determined that ATV use is prohibited in the preserve. The NPS is required to enforce that regulation.
Q. Will I ever be able to ride my ATV in the preserve again?
A. The development of a Backcountry Management Plan could examine visitor uses and identify some locations or trails for ORV use that does not impair resources. That would allow ATV's to return to the preserve in a limited fashion.
Q. How can I voice my opinion?
A. The best time to voice your opinion will be when the Backcountry Management Plan is being developed.
Q. How will I know when the Backcountry Management Plan will be devleoped?
A. A pubilc notice will be posted in the newspaper and an announcement will be posted on our website after the General Management Plan is complete and funding is secured to develop the plan.
Did You Know?
One hundred forty-five species of birds can be found at Little River Canyon National Preserve at some time during the year.