Siuslaw National Forest officials are seeking public input on potential changes to decibel (noise) limits for motorized vehicles at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. The goal of the proposed changes is to reduce noise impacts on neighboring communities while being more realistically attainable by riders. The proposed decibel limits will also better align with state of Oregon regulations, provide consistency across motorized riding areas throughout the Siuslaw National Forest and will be easier to enforce.
Based on years of monitoring, the sound limit of 93dBA that was established in the 1994 ODNRA management plan has been found to be unachievable by most modern, non-modified off-highway vehicles. This decibel limit is also out of alignment with state regulations, limiting opportunities for coordinated enforcement efforts. The preliminary proposal changes the decibel limit for front-engine vehicles from 93dBA to 95dBA and the limit for all other motorized vehicles from 93dBA to 97dBA. As most noise-level complaints have stemmed from vehicles registering over 99dBA, the new limit is expected to strike the balance between allowing motorized use while addressing concerns of visitors and residents.
“By raising the limit to better align with the state and being within the range that is attainable by contemporary stock vehicles, we’ll be better able to work with riders on compliance and provide the enforcement necessary to manage the noise violations that most impact our neighbors,” explained Garrit Craig, deputy district ranger for the Central Coast Ranger District and ODNRA. “We encourage members of the public to review the project information and let us know what they think.”
Documents that describe the preliminary proposal, including frequently asked questions, can be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=60053 in the Project Documents section. Written comments on the proposal should be submitted electronically in common formats (.docx, .doc, .pdf, .rtf, .txt) at https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//ReadingRoom?Project=60053.
They can also be mailed Siuslaw National Forest, 3200 Jefferson Way, Corvallis, OR 97331 ATTN: Katie Isacksen. Comments should be submitted by June 15.