Coloradans Rewarded For Reporting Off-Road Travel On Public Lands

Illegal Off Road Travel On Public Lands
Illegal Off-Road Travel On Public Lands

USA -( Recently two concerned Coloradans documented violations by off-road vehicle users that helped law enforcement officers uphold laws intended to promote solitude, conserve public lands and waters, and sustain fish and game. For their efforts, BHA presented these citizens with $500 rewards.

Driving a vehicle off-road or on a non-motorized route on national forest lands is a violation of federal law. The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests, collectively “GMUG,” have engaged the public in designating specific routes for motorized and non-motorized travel through the travel management rule.

Violations do occur, more often during hunting seasons when hunters are looking for access or retrieving game. Travelling off route while hunting or fishing on public lands in Colorado comes with a 10-point hunting license penalty assessment and a $280 fine with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Molly Cannon of Gunnison County reported two vehicles on a non-motorized trail in the Farris Creek drainage during muzzleloader season in the Gunnison NF.

Both hunters were issued a violation notice for traveling off route while hunting. Information on the incident was forwarded to CPW for the penalty assessment to the hunters. Cannon will be rewarded for assisting law enforcement with information, photographs and location of the violations.

In a separate incident, Jeffery Pike, of Crested Butte, notified law enforcement of an all-wheel motorcycle traveling a half-mile off trail to retrieve an elk. When officers pursued the report and investigated the area, the hunter realized he was off trail, admitted his violation and paid the fine.

Mike Fuller, Forest Service law enforcement officer for the Gunnison NF, explains: “It is difficult for law enforcement officers to cover all the areas of this 3 million-acre forest. We rely on the public to assist us by reporting illegal activity and other resource impacts to our public lands.”

According to Tim Brass, BHA’s state policy director, “Our organization has an OHV reward fund program to help educate hunters and OHV users of the need to stay on designated routes.”

The public is encouraged to notify authorities of off-road abuse. BHA will reward these individuals for reporting observations of illegal activity or abuse to law enforcement. “After successful prosecution or payment of fines, BHA will offer up to $500 per incident/report,” Brass added.

To learn more about BHA’s OHV reward fund, click here.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the sportsmen’s voice for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

Backcountry Hunters and AnglersAbout Backcountry Hunters & Anglers:

Our freedom to hunt and fish depends on habitat. While many of us enjoy hunting and fishing on a range of landscapes, including farm fields and reservoirs, there is something special – even magical – about hunting deep in the backcountry or fishing on a remote river.

Wilderness hunting and fishing deliver a sense of freedom, challenge and solitude that is increasingly trampled by the twin pressures of growing population and increasing technology. Many treasured fish and wildlife species – such as cutthroat trout, grizzly bear and bighorn sheep – thrive in wilderness. Others, like elk and mule deer, benefit from wilderness. From the Steens Mountain Wilderness in Oregon to the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho and the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, BHA members treasure America's wilderness system and strive to add to it.

We take the advice of Theodore Roosevelt: “Preserve large tracts of wilderness … for the exercise of the skill of the hunter, whether or not he is a man of means.”

  • 44 thoughts on “Coloradans Rewarded For Reporting Off-Road Travel On Public Lands

    1. All the whining here sounds worse than a bunch of social justice warriors.

      We may have a government that is out of control and bordering on tyrannical in many ways, however protecting some areas of public land as wilderness is not one of them.

      Having non motorized areas is the furthest thing from “elitist” there is not a more basic and inexpensive way to travel than walking. Sorry that it’s harder than driving, but there are plenty of roads out there if you want to hunt from an ATV or truck.

      Yes we will all come to a point when we can no longer charge the mountains on foot, but don’t try to deny that experience to those who can just because “it’s not fair- wah, wah, wah”. Hopefully by the time that happens you have found a few honey holes that are closer to the roads.

    2. Again, BHA is promoting, “The back country is only for the elite who can hire horses to travel to the back country.” They don’t want to see the rest of us in the back country. Walk in on a horse trail and dodge the piles of BHA brains.
      Just like the rest of the environmentalist crowd, they want restricted use rather than responsible use.

      Here in Idaho, too many use motorized vehicles on non-motorized trails but the Prius driving District Ranger would rather shut down all access than use signage to try to instruct users. Close off roads and people will cause more damage driving around the gates. Establishing vehicle dimension limits could help. Single track (foot only, foot and hoof, bicycle, or motorcycles with tire pressure limitations), dual track/quad (limit vehicle width and tire pressure), side by side, and jeep trails can all be signed and enforced. Require an 8 x 8 inch panel of hunter orange on each side.
      Camo’ed OHVs just means they are likely to go too far.

      1. @Idadho, you bring up several good points. Do you suppose that the “Prius driving District Ranger” has figured out that the scofflaw crowd will obey neither gate, nor sign, nor lawful authority, and that is why he has chosen restriction as a way to achieve responsible use? Also all the many and little limits and that you suggest sound more petty than just a bright line rule like: “No motorized vehicles on this trail”.

      2. Wild Bill,
        The problem is single track users did not tear up the back country. Their footprint was not much worse than a horse or mule pack train. Then, a 4×4 quad started on the single track trail and widened it. Next, a jeep was used to widen it more. Then side by sides started tearing up the place. I watched the progression of camo’ed quads, side by sides and larger drive across my property into the National Forest.
        The Prius driving District Ranger with Obama stickers on her bumper decided that the land is the property of the feds, not the people. I tried to ‘buy’ natural rock from an old gravel pit in the National Forest according to federal resource management statutes and she refused it saying it was federal property and not publicly available. Screw the rules that say I have access. Logging roads that existed since 1920 were gated off. Nobody was causing damage on these logging roads. SHE is going to spend $500,000 removing these century old logging roads that were just used a few years ago for a fuels reduction logging project. Future access to reduce fuels will not be possible. Her position was, rather than restrict the many trails, she would just deny access to the entire area by gating the roads.
        It all started in Idaho when Senator Frank Church forced the Frank Church Wilderness on Congress by blocking all legislation in his committee until he got his way. The ever expanding Roadless Rule is putting more country out of reach and at risk of fires because it cannot be maintained.
        Before the BHA types, the locals managed the forests for the benefit of all. The loggers were the first responders to fires. Now, the contracts have to be signed while the fires get out of control, destroying more land for decades.

        1. @Idadho, If that acessment of the DR is correct, then she sounds like a typical bureaucrat. Does not care what it costs, as long as the answer provides her with many easy days. And that is one end of the scale. Scofflaws are the other end of the sliding scale.
          Maybe access should be deregulated, but a refundable deposit required. Show that no harm was done and get your deposit back.

    3. Ratting on people who are harming no one and then getting rewarded for it…sounding more like the old USSR or Nazi Germany by the minute. Oh, and where in the US Constitution is there a provision for laws like this? PUBLIC lands should be for the PUBLIC, not for a select few that have horses or walk. What is the guy on the dirt bike HARMING? It makes me puke when I see what a screwed up country we are turning into. Oh wait HAVE turned into.

      1. I’m not a fan of the ratting on people, but comparing enforcement of Wilderness Area regs to USSR is just ignorant. You might not agree with all of the management details, but having wilderness that is protected as such in this country is an absolute treasure. Sorry that it’s harder to access than just driving a vehicle, but uh… That’s kind of the point.

        There is more whining going on in this comment section than a snowflake convention. There are plenty of roads out there folks if you don’t want to hike.

    4. By the time the easily offended get done having laws passed, no one will be able to go out of their house without breaking a law.

      1. It’s already like that. Read the book Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent It’s available at Amazon

    5. The “RAILS TO TRAILS” program in Pennsylvania bans any motorized vehicles…but…allows hiking, horses, and bicycles. However…there is NO accommodation for anyone with disabilities… allow golf carts or other motorized transportation like a quad or 3 wheeled M/C. “PUBLIC LANDS” are just that Public…and as such ALL citizens should be allowed free access regardless of mode of transportation. The “tree huggers” have had their say for far too long and have disregarded the RIGHTS of other citizens. I am a Disabled Veteran and have trouble walking. I would love to use the “RAILS TO TRAILS” paths as well as PUBLIC LANDS in our forests. BUT…am banned from using any form of motorized transportation to assist me. Do “They” actually think that only the fit and healthy want to use these lands..???
      BTW….try using the “TRAILS” when mountain bikers on bicycles are blasting down the trails and force you to move or get run over.!!!!
      There must be a provision added to the AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT to allow the disabled to use motorized transportation.

      1. Bob !
        Been there Bro ! I’m in the same boat with ya .
        Mich. has ORV. trails set up also bike and walking
        only paths . But the walking paths allow for the use ,
        of power for disabled citizens .
        check it out ! The Great Winter Wonder Land

    6. Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is just another big government group which means they are ultimately anti freedom and anti gun.

    7. I’ve been hunting big game in Colorado since 1983. I have seen logging roads totally blocked to keep hunters and livestock owners from accessing public lands. Now, want to be cops are being rewarded for turning in people who may or may not be breaking a rule.
      Don’t camp here,don’t drive there,leave your atv parked beside the road as an invitation to be stolen.
      My son and I exchanged some heated words with two locals several years ago over parking our atv’s 30 yards off the road. We had about a mile hike to our hunting spot and didn’t want to leave the atv’s in plain sight. Luckily they didn’t get shot.

    8. I’m no proponent of government controlled land considering that the federal government “owns” 2/3 of the land in Idaho where I live. But at the same time, there are way too many idiots around that purposely go out to tear up the land and don’t bother to even carry their trash out when they leave. If someone goes off trail by mistake and freely admits to his mistake, they should be warned, not cited. If someone is deliberately tearing up areas designated as “no vehicles” or leaving trash or open fires when they leave, they need to be nailed and I would gladly report them.

      1. @AArd, Yep, “… there are way too many idiots around that purposely go out to tear up the land and don’t bother to even carry their trash out when they leave.” You have correctly identified the people that ruin free and unrestricted access for everyone.

    9. Who died and left bha in charge of public lands? Where do they get the money to reward snitches? Anyone that contributes to them may as well donate to ALPACA or the National Humane Society. They don’t squander your money any more than bha does. Maybe they are spending Tom Steyer’s money, he is a tree hugger and he can afford it. (Steyer is the liberal that is paying for ads to impeach Trump.)

    10. I have mixed feelings about this. In my area, I have seen quite a bit of wilderness trashing misbehavior by elements of the off roading community. At the same time, trail and route designations are commonly lobbied for by animal rights activists, and abused by agencies such as BLM, to deny legitimate access to public, and sometimes private, lands. As usual, there is more to the story, and the devil’s in the details.

    11. And here we have BHA buying votes and support for their campaign to remove as much land as possible from public access. Great job, guys. Not to mention the nationwide broadcasting ot the names of the snitches….. and yes, something like this IS snitching. The one who admitted he had strayed off course (are there street signs out there to help stay ON course? Nah, didn’t think so) was right to realise his error, and did the right thing afterward… but WHY is he punished so severely for a simple error? WHOM or WHAT was actually HARMED? Other than the “sensitivities” of BHA, that is. WHy did not the one noticing the terrible crime simply point out the error, and let the “offender” correct his mistake?

      Sat in a traffic court one time waiting MY turn (my bogus case was tossed) and learned from the judge’s words that Washington allows a U turn at a traffic signal unless it’s posted NO U TURN. In Oregon, a five minute drive over a bridge, U turns are allowed at traffic lights ONLY IF POSTED that they’re OK. After the judge explained this, he declared to the respondent that it is HIS responsibiltiy to know the law, and keep it. Thus, he IS guilty, and was sentenced for the full amount of the fine. Not cheap. (NO fine is cheap in that stinking state) My question, not vocalised, as this: WHY did not the copper who nailed him simpy discuss the matter with the driver and inform him of the difference in laws between the two states, and let the guy go with the corrective admonishment? Sort of like the two women recently who were jailed and charged with full felonies for innocently bringing their handguns across the river and into New Jersey from Penslyvania. We ALL raged over those two on this forum. Same thing here. But no, BHA wants to encouraging the snitches generating revenue for the government to “punish” members of the public for accessing OUR land……..

      1. “WHY did not the copper who nailed him simpy discuss the matter with the driver and inform him of the difference in laws between the two states, and let the guy go with the corrective admonishment?”

        Two words: Revenue Generation.

        ‘Tickets’ are not about correcting behavior, they are about revenue generation for the state/local enterprise.

    12. I don’t use public land very often but doesn’t public mean that any legal citizen of the United State’s of America owns it and should have access to it. Not just a few exclusive citizens. Using a section to retrieve
      an Elk should not produce an illegal activity. A warning would suffice.
      Are we becoming a Communist State where everyone is a policeman.
      Change the law.

      1. I agree. Nothing ticks me off more than someone who disregards laws, to make life easier for himself, while the rest of us lease horse’s, or backpack and hike in to an area where we’re hunting, and haul out our game on packs and horse’s. I think it’s a great idea, but should be treated like a silent witness program.

    13. The reward seems to be having your name and city reported in a national publication. A REAL reward would be having your street address and phone number along with photos and maybe family members names and ages reported as well. Thanks Ammoland! Maybe you could also report YOUR OWN street addresses and phone numbers, eh? Maybe names and photos of YOUR family members and YOUR mobile and home phone numbers would be appreciated too. Yeah, you know, in the interest of full disclosure and all, eh?

    14. “… the hunter realized he was off trail, admitted his violation and paid the fine.” Wow, that was the responsible adult thing to do, even though the fine hurts, and certainly reflects well on the entire hunting community.

      1. In another words, a small error in where he was located was treated as a civil violation. Hmmmm…I wonder what contract he signed to bind himself to that “law”? I know, the “social contract” to which the complete version is printed in the sky above our heads on a daily basis so we would “know” what it is. What he was is a good slave who took his sheering like a good sheep would. I would have asked what kind of court is this? CRIMINAL or CIVIL? If it was criminal then I would want to know WHO was damaged by my act and I would want to be able to cross examine that damaged individual. The “state” cannot be damaged in a criminal act as it is a FICTION. If they said it was CIVIL I would want to see the contract I signed that bound me to specifically perform under the contract. HAS TO BE ONE OR THE OTHER FOLKS. Otherwise it is just an old fashioned shake down by legalized highway men.

    15. Well, publishing the names & locations of the ones that informed…in a nationally read internet article…should spur any would-be informants to report these law breakers. SMDH
      Why not publish the names & locations of where the offenders live? SMDH X2!

    16. Sounds like lands reserved for the privileged are being well protected from the serfs and peasants…just like in feudal times. Of course BHA would support it; anything to keep the Rif Raf out so the gentry can enjoy their $7 Starbucks mocha latte in silence while wearing their high class Birkenstocks on government-maintained trails. We are getting ever closer to the time of torches, pitchforks and guillotines…and ridding ourselves of the parasitic, non-working upper and lower class societal leaches.

      1. I like your response and whole heartedly agree. One day soon firearms owners are going to wake up to the REASON the 2nd amendment was placed in the Constitution.

      1. All-wheel-DRIVE motorcycles do exist, with power directed to the rear AND front wheel either full-time or as-needed. Rokon makes one that is really well adapted to assisting hunters hauling out the game they harvest. It has low pressure oversized tires front and back for getting around in difficult terrain and which take the place of shocks and springs with which most normal bikes are equipped.

        1. the REAL question is WHY are “public lands” not accessible to those who need to get in there? Seems to me being more able to retreve harvested game is a plus. WHY do FedGov “own” that national forest land anyway? That belongs to the State, who are deeply in bed with the Feds and helping to enforce federal laws that were never passed into law by COngress. Funny that, eh? Reminds me of when some law enforcement agents with the State of Arizona began enforcing federal immigration laws the STATE was slapped down by the kinyun’s minions. Douible standard anyone?

        2. Actually… It is, even more so in a police state such as we are being encouraged to support and promote “for the greater good” and to allow more control by government stooges.

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