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Death Valley seeks federal funds to repair marred landscapes

The National Park Service is seeking the public’s opinion for a grant application process that would help to fund restoration of the areas of the Death Valley National Park that had been damaged by off-road driving, officials said in a press release.

Illegal off-road driving is a problem in multiple areas of the park, where off-road vehicle tracks have marred the landscape of Death Valley National Park. Among those areas are the Racetrack, Ibex Dunes and Badwater.

Officials said that desert landscapes typically heal very slowly. Tracks left by even by a single vehicle in areas with fragile crusts, such as the Badwater Salt Pan or Racetrack Playa, can last for decades. Off-road driving also harms plants and animals, such as the desert tortoise and the endangered Eureka Dunes evening primrose.

Death Valley National Park has applied for a grant from the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division of California State Parks. The requested grant will help support a three-year project to restore damage done by off-road drivers throughout the park. This is the first year that Death Valley National Park has submitted a grant request.

Members of the public can provide their opinion by commenting online at http://ohv.parks.ca.gov or by writing to California State Parks, OHMVR Division, 1725 23rd Street, Sacramento, CA 95816, Attention: Grants Manager. Comments are accepted until April 7, 2017.

Off-road driving is permitted in some areas adjacent to the park, such as Dumont Dunes. Vehicles and bicycles are required to stay on established roads or road shoulders at all times within Death Valley National Park.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77

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