BURLEY, Idaho (News Release) — The Burley Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Field Office will implement a seasonal road closure Jan. 16 to March 15 in the South Hills area. This closure, which has gone into effect each winter since 2000, 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 Jan. 16 to March 15, 2017: 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 importance of the south hills as crucial mule deer winter range cannot be overstated," 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 important foraging areas. Increased motorized use of public lands which is evident throughout 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 supports the need to protect wildlife in the area. “Considering the heavy winter snows this year, and the light fawn body weights we have been detecting, it makes this closure even more important for people to honor,” said Kelton Hatch, Fish and Game Regional Conservation Educator.
For more information regarding the road closure, please contact Dennis Thompson, BLM Burley Field Office recreation planner, at (208) 677-6600.