BURLEY, ID - Each year since 2000, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Burley Field Office implements a seasonal road closure from January 16 to March 15 in the South Hills area. This closure is designed to prevent resource damage and to protect crucial mule deer winter range and sage-grouse habitat. Signs have been posted in the area notifying the public of the closure, and gates have been installed to prevent trespass. The following roads, as well as any two-tracks or trails tied to these roads, will be closed to motorized travel from January 16 to March 15, 2014: Dry Creek, Cherry Spring, Indian Springs (Closure begins 1.5 miles south of Foothills Road) and North Cottonwood Creek.
The seasonal closure applies to all motorized vehicles except those specifically authorized to access the area. Such authorization is provided for search and rescue, emergency medical services and law enforcement personnel, as well as administratively approved actions such as livestock grazing activity, access to private lands and resource monitoring or research studies. The area is open to the public for non-motorized use.
“The south hills area serves as a vitally important mule deer winter range," said Jeremy Bisson, BLM wildlife biologist. "Any excessive disturbance is perceived as a threat by the deer causing them to deplete their fat reserves and move away from their crucial foraging areas. Increased motorized use of public lands in the South Hills could seriously jeopardize the survival and productivity of these animals.”
The Magic Valley Regional Office of the Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) supports the need to protect wildlife in the area. The habitat is important to maintain mule deer herds over-wintering in the area, and the area is popular for hunting and wildlife viewing during other periods of the year.
For more information regarding the road closure, please contact Dennis Thompson, BLM Burley Field Office recreation planner, at (208) 677-6600.