By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Motorized vehicles will be restricted to only main roads on the Bull Springs Skyline Forest tree farm, west of Bend, beginning next week.
The restrictions are in response to a spike in public use and an effort to prevent forest fires.
Public use of the Bull Springs Skyline forest west of Bend has skyrocketed over the past few weeks, from a handful of cars per day to about 50 per day. That’s not counting bicyclists, joggers, hikers and horseback riders who enter the property under their own power.
“The new restrictions are going to kick in early next week. People can still drive into the property on the main roads,” said Jason Reindorp, Head of Communications for Shanda Investments. “What we are restricting is what we would call motorized recreation–dirt bikes, ATVs, people that go 4-wheeling and that kind of stuff,”
The Bay Area-based investment firm that owns the tree farm says the restrictions are an effort to mitigate fire risk.
Visitors can park along the main roads and then hike, bike or horseback in and only during daylight hours.
“What we are going to do is, we know the parts of the property that are most popular. We are going to be putting up signs over the weekend and those signs will indicate, or just remind people, that motorized recreation is not allowed at the time,” Reindorp said. “Obviously with a property this size it’s hard to police, but we have notified local authorities and they will help us in this regard. We would ask people to kind of self-police. It’s really just common sense looking out for the property and avoiding the forest fire.”
About 7,000 acres of the tree farm were scorched in the Two Bulls Fire in 2014. Parts of the west side of Bend were on standby evacuation orders until the fire was brought under control.
Reindorp says motorized vehicle restrictions will be lifted when fire conditions permit.