TWIN FALLS, Id — The Bureau of Land Management will close the South Hills area for motorized travel on Sunday Jan. 16. This annual seasonal closure aims to prevent resource damage, protect mule deer and sage-grouse habitat.
BLM said signs have been posted to notify the public of the temporary closure of the following roads:
- Dry Creek
- Dry Gulch
- Cherry Spring
- Indian Springs (closure begins 1.5 miles south of Foothills Road)
- North Cottonwood Creek
Ken Crane, Bureau of Land Management Burley field manager, said they saw an increase of people enjoying outdoor recreation in the area due to road improvements providing easier access.
During the wet winter months precipitation changes the conditions of the soil, where people may be riding their motorbikes or all-terrain vehicles. Crane said the moisture can lead to increased erosion and damage.
“The closure provides a benefit to the trail systems themselves, to keep them in better condition,” Crane said. “But also to limit erosion, which then can affect our streams and habitat for other animals as well.”
Motorized vehicles can create uncomfortable conditions for big game animals.
The South Hills serves a gathering space for wildlife like mule deer to conserve their energy.
Idaho Fish and Game Magic Valley Regional Wildlife Manager Mike McDonald said, “anytime those animals are disturbed, forced to move, they’re on an energy budget. If they extend energy too fast, ultimately they're going to run out before winter gets over. Those are situations where they start to experience mortality.”
The area will remain open to the public for non-motorized use.