United States Department of Agriculture

Forest Service

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

420 Barrett Street

Dillon, Montana  59725


For Immediate Release                                                                                                Contact:

                                                                                                                           Jack de Golia

                                                                                                            Office: (406) 683-3984

                                                                                                     Cell Phone: (406) 660-2347







PHILIPSBURG, MONT., Sept. 17, 2006—The Forest Service has cited ten people for damage done over Labor Day weekend by their full-sized jeeps in the Little Gold Creek area of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, 14 miles northeast of Philipsburg.

The Forest Service is withholding the names of the ten until their cases are resolved, but did say those cited live in Eureka, Kalispell and Fortine.

The ten were charged because, according to the Forest Service violation notices, they drove their jeeps “all over” several acres of wet meadows, leaving ruts, damaging stream banks, flattening vegetation (including trees and shrubs), and breaking down a jackleg fence.

The Forest Service got reports of the activity from concerned local citizens.

The ten were also charged with operating a motor vehicle in a closed area and with having a campfire in violation of fire restrictions.

The group had been told by an off-duty state game warden that vehicles weren’t allowed on the road through Game Pass, but chose to drive there anyway, officials said. 

Forest Service law enforcement officials included this information in the charges.

Each person was fined $575 for the violations. 

“For cases involving significant damage or repeat offenses a violator could be fined up to $5000 for each offense,” Bucha Gentry said.

“We appreciate other off-road vehicle drivers coming forward and condemning this sort of reckless behavior,” Charlene Bucha Gentry, the Forest Service’s Pintler district ranger said.

“This is the kind of action that hurts everybody-- running around tearing up the country shows a complete lack of respect for the resource and other user's of public land,” she said