MALTA, Idaho (KLIX)-The supervisor for the Sawtooth National Forest has signed a new order that will allow limited access for people using snow vehicles on a mountain range southeast of Malta.

The Sawtooth National Forest announced Tuesday morning a new order was issued by Supervisor Jim DeMaagd allowing limited access during the winter for snow vehicles on the western side of Black Pine. The new order replaces an older one that did not allow for any access over snow to the area to help protect wintering deer. The closure is maintained in the new order, however it allows for a 100-foot corridor with a 50-foot buffer on either side to access the area on existing roads; see new area use map below, or here: 0414-01-51 Black Pine Oversnow Vehicle Closure MAP.

According to Randy Thompson, Minidoka District Ranger in a prepared statement, “The public has expressed the desire to access portions of the Black Pine mountains on the west side during the winter months on over snow vehicles for recreational use. After we looked at the area closure and mule deer winter distribution and populations numbers, we determined that improved public access could be accommodated by utilizing over snow vehicle use in road footprints. This provides access to the local communities that expressed a desire to access the upper portions of the west side of the Black Pine Mountains yet still maintains the necessary protections for winter mule deer that are vulnerable to disturbance during the critical winter months."

Seasonal closures of the Black Pine area will continue between December 1 and April 30 each year. The Forest Service said people should look at the closure map for the areas the intend to recreate in before heading out. New signs will be posted in the area as well. You can find the new order HERE.

Sawtooth National Forest