The Bitterroot National Forest released its final plan for motorized use in the 1.6 million acre forest after nine years and a record 13,400 comments received from the public. 

Forest Supervisor Julie King signed the final report on Wednesday morning.

"For average folks who like to use ATV's, motorcycles and mountain bikes, there are some changes on those designated routes, so they need to pick up a free map at one of our offices and it will show all the motorized vehicle opportunities in the forest," King said. "We still have 2,246 miles of forest roads and trails, which would be similar to driving from Hamilton, Montana all the way to New York City."

King said those who use regular roads and highways will see no changes in the forest.

"The major changes are to roads and rails that were in the wilderness study areas, and recommended wilderness areas," she said. "In the wilderness study areas, we will not allow any motorized use in summer or winter, and the same for the recommended wilderness areas."

King said the prior plan was originally signed back in 1976, so it has been nearly 40 years since any substantive changes have been confirmed. She said anyone using the roads and trails in the Bitterroot National Forest will be responsible for learning and abiding by the new regulations.

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