Federal Lands:

Information on the Use and Impact of Off-Highway Vehicles

RCED-95-209: Published: Aug 18, 1995. Publicly Released: Aug 18, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) and the Forest Service's implementation of executive orders regulating the use of off-highway vehicles (OHV) on federal lands, focusing on the agencies': (1) designation of federal lands for OHV use; (2) monitoring of OHV use to identify adverse effects and any needed corrective actions; and (3) compliance with OHV regulations.

GAO found that: (1) at the 8 locations reviewed, BLM and the Forest Service restricted OHV use in their management plans, but they generally gave lower funding and staffing priority to OHV activities than to other programs; (2) in fiscal year 1993, approximately two-thirds of the estimated total funding for OHV monitoring activities came from the states; (3) only 36 percent of the agency staff assigned to OHV activities worked full-time on such activities; (4) local communities and organizations provided additional funds and volunteer services and material to support OHV activities; (5) BLM and Forest Service compliance with the executive orders at the 8 locations was mixed because of limited staff and funding and higher priority activities; (6) although all 8 locations had lands prescribed for OHV use, 5 locations did not have maps and signs ready to show the public where and under what conditions OHV could be used; (7) at all locations, OHV monitoring was casual, adverse effects were seldom documented, and needed corrective actions had not been prioritized; and (8) although citations were written for violations at all the locations, enforcement was hampered by confusion over where and when OHV restrictions applied.

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