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Thursday, July 29, 2010

The (not-so) hidden cost of illegal off-roading; Washington trust lands facing erosion, damage

It’s not something you see much on YouTube… at least, not yet. A Camas, Wash., man found guilty last May of illegal off-roading on Washington State trust land, was sentenced to go on the video sharing site YouTube and apologize for damage he caused driving his Chevy 4X4 around a locked gate in Yacolt Burn State Forest.

Clark County District Court Judge James Swanger gave Rickey Sharratt, age 28 at the time, a choice between 40 hours of community service on a labor crew or going on YouTube to describe his offense and the damage it caused. Sharratt chose YouTube because, “I thought it would be worth doing this public service announcement to make other recreationalists aware of the situation and how important it was to observe the road signs.”

Sharratt, who hunts and fishes, says he now recognizes the damage that 4X4′s and other vehicles can cause to salmon and fish habitat. His sentence also includes reimbursing DNR a little over $2,000 for the damage his truck caused. Soil torn up by vehicle tires is more likely to erode in our rainy winters, causing silt and mud to flow into nearby creeks, many of which have fish, including salmon.

Here’s some of the news coverage so far:

Pacific Northwest Backroad Adventures: The Cost of Illegal Off-Roading

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