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Off-Roaders Protest Possible Ban in Part of Forest

Off-road vehicle enthusiasts are planning a rally on Saturday at 11 a.m. at White Pines Lake. They’re upset because they claim the U.S. Forest Service might close a nearly 9,000-acre part of the forest to off-road vehicles.

Mike Jarnigan of Arnold is helping to organize the rally. “I don´t have a problem with them making designated trails,” Jarnigan said. “Closing the whole thing is kind of ridiculous.”

Forest Service Spokesman Jerry Snyder says closing the area to Off-Highway Vehicles is only one option officials are considering. “There are several other alternatives,” Snyder said.

“To say that we’ve decided that there will be no use in that area is just wrong at this point,” Snyder said.

Some residents in the White Pines area want it closed to dirt bikers and others. Those residents say the dirt bikes and other vehicles make too much noise, kick up dust and cause erosion.

Snyder says Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor Tom Quinn could make a decision within a month.