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Nevada Off-roaders Drive To Save Butterflies


Pumpkin Pilot
Staff member
Elite Explorer
February 8, 1999
Reaction score
City, State
Wayoutin, Aridzona
Year, Model & Trim Level
'93 XL Pumpkin Edition
Several environmental groups have sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to include on the endangered species list a rare blue butterfly believed to only exist around the Sand Mountain Recreation Area in western Nevada. The dunes are about 600 feet high and two miles in length and are a popular destination for off-roaders (motorcycles, dune buggies and all-terrain vehicles). The area is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The butterfly relies on the Kearney buckwheat plant for its food supply, a shrub unique to the area. The plant covers about 1,000 of the recreation area's 4,795 acres.

In recent years, local and national off-highway vehicle (OHV) organizations have been working with the BLM, FWS, local governments, tribes and environmentalists to craft a voluntary approach to protect the shrub and save the butterfly without necessarily listing the insect as an endangered species. This includes OHV travel route designations, fencing to protect habitat and more education and enforcement efforts. These groups will continue their efforts to reach a collaborative conservation plan. Meanwhile, the FWS has agreed to undertake a review on whether a listing is warranted.

Friends of Sand Mountain has been leading the local effort to preserve responsible OHV use at the recreation area. Other organizations supporting a voluntary approach include SEMA, Off-Road Business Association, California Off-Road Vehicle Association, California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, American Sand Association and the Blue Ribbon Coalition. The approach incorporates the “Tread Lightly” principles of (1) avoiding plants while riding and (2) not riding in areas closed to OHV use.


Moderator Emeritus
November 14, 2000
Reaction score
City, State
Glade Hill, Virginia
Year, Model & Trim Level
'97 XLT & '06 Limited
Sand Mountain Blue - Euphilotes pallescens arenamontana


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