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November 02, 2005

Forest Service Announces New Travel Management Rule

WASHINGTON , Nov. 2, 2005 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service today announced a new regulation for recreational motor vehicle use in national forests and grasslands…. Here are a few excepts from the USFS press release:

The new travel management policy requires each national forest and grassland to identify and designate those roads, trails and areas that are open to motor vehicle use. Local units will seek public input and coordinate with federal, state, county and other local governmental entities as well as tribal governments before any decision is made on a particular road, trail or area. Unplanned, user-created routes will be considered at the local level during the designation process.

The agency expects that it will take up to four years to complete the designation process for all 155 national forests and 20 grasslands. Each unit will also publish a motor vehicle use map. The final rule addresses the more than 80,000 comments received on last year’s proposed rule. Most comments strongly supported the concept of designating routes and areas for motor vehicle use.

Once the designation process is complete, motor vehicle use off these routes and outside those areas (cross-country travel) will be prohibited. This prohibition will not affect over-snow vehicles, such as snowmobiles.

The rule will impact motor vehicle use on roads, trails and areas under Forest Service management. State, county or other public roads within national forest and grassland boundaries will not be included in the designation process.

Some national forests and grasslands already have established systems of roads, trails and areas designed and managed for motorized use. This rule does not require those units to change existing plans.

The new rule can be found at [pdf]. See especially pp. 101-121

Posted by Dave on November 2, 2005 at 11:43 AM | Permalink


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