PRINEVILLE, OR -- Off-Highway vehicle enthusiasts are about to get a new playground. Susan Garner, with the U.S. Forest Service, says grant money will help extend the Ochoco Summit Trail from 53 to 137 miles. "If people want to go more on trail riding, rather that just on roads, it's an opportunity for people to see more of the forest by going off onto these trails that may not necessarily be near a road. part of the idea is to channel people to designated trail systems."
The project was officially approved last week after more than a decade of environmental study in the Ochoco National Forest. Garner knows people get nervous about allowing more motorized vehicles in natural areas. She tells KBND News, "After having done almost 10 years worth of study, the expectation is that the environmental impact will be minimal because the areas that were chosen do not have sensitive areas to them. And then the trail is also only going to be open seasonally - just from June to September. The idea is to minimize the impact on the landscape while also giving off-road recreationists the opportunity to drive on off-roads."
She says the OHV trail will be expanded by incorporating nearby existing roads and trails. The Ochoco National Forest already includes several multi-use areas, but the Summit Trail extension is the first to be designed specifically for off-road vehicles.