Maps & Publications

Motor Vehicle Use Maps

The Forest Service announced a new regulation on November 2, 2005, governing off-highway vehicles and other motor vehicle use on national forests and grasslands. The new rule requires each national forest or ranger district to designate those roads, trails and areas open to motor vehicle use.

The Motor Vehicle Use Map is a requirement of the Travel Management Final Rule. The Motor Vehicle Use Map displays National Forest System routes (roads and trails) or areas designated open to motorized travel. The Motor Vehicle Use Map also displays uses allowed by vehicle class (highway-legal vehicles, vehicles less than 50 inches wide and motorcycles) and seasonal allowances. The Motor Vehicle Use Map provides information on other travel rules and regulations. Routes not shown on the Motor Vehicle Use Map are not open to public motor vehicle travel. Routes designated for motorized use may not always be signed on the ground, but will be identified on the Motor Vehicle Use Map. It will be the public's responsibility to refer to the Motor Vehicle Use Map to determine designated routes for motor vehicle use. The Motor Vehicle Use Map will be updated annually to correct mapping errors or discrepancies.

The Motor Vehicle Use Map is a black and white map with no topographic features. It is best used in conjunction with a Forest Visitor Map or other topographic map. The Motor Vehicle Use Map is free to the public at each local Ranger District office. The Motor Vehicle Use Map is available on this website and sections of it may be printed from your home computer.

If you do not already have a PDF Reader, you can download a free plugin at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html

The PDF’s are also Geospatial PDF’s and may be used with Adobe products to find approximate location in latitude and longitude coordinates and may also be used with certain smartphone apps, such as Avenza.

NEW 2012 GEOSPATIAL Stanislaus National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps:

Summit Ranger District
Mi-Wok Ranger District
Calaveras Ranger District
Groveland Ranger District

 2012 WEB OPTIMIZED (printer friendly) Stanislaus National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps:

Summit Ranger District
Mi-Wok Ranger District
Calaveras Ranger District
Groveland Ranger District

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a MVUM?
Where can I get a MVUM?
How many MVUMs cover the Stanislaus National Forest?
How do I print the MVUM?
What does a MVUM show?
What do you mean by vehicle class?
What do you mean by a seasonal designation or season of use? Are road and trail route marker signs on the ground?
Does the MVUM also show non-motorized trails and over-snow vehicle uses?
When will the MVUM become enforceable?
What is the Forest Service enforcement strategy?
Does the MVUM shut down access to dispersed camping, fuel wood gathering and other activities such as game retrieval?
How long is one vehicle length and what happens if I’m towing a long trailer?
Why am I just now finding out about the MVUM and how it affects access?
Can new routes be added to the MVUM?

What is a MVUM?

A Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) is a legal document required under the Travel Management Rule that shows trails and roads designated for motor vehicle use.

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Where can I get a MVUM?

Maps will be posted on the Stanislaus National Forest website. Paper copies will be available free of charge at the Forest Supervisor’s office in Sonora and at the Ranger District offices in Groveland, Hathaway Pines, Mi-Wuk Village and Pinecrest. The Forest may develop other partners and distribution locations to help disseminate maps.

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How many MVUMs cover the Stanislaus National Forest?

The Stanislaus National Forest publishes four MVUMs: one for the each of the four Ranger Districts.

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How do I print the MVUM?

Conventional home printers will not print the full-size version of the MVUM. Many copy shops, engineering and survey businesses can print the full-size map on a large plotter. Home printers can print portions of the MVUM on 8.5” x 11” paper, with Adobe Acrobat®, using the “Print Current View” function to print the view on your screen. Also, you can print the legend box, using that feature, to aid in interpretation of the MVUM.

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What does a MVUM show?

The MVUM displays all National Forest Transportation System (NFTS) roads and trails allowing public motor vehicle use. This is commonly referred to as designation. Designation details include vehicle class, season of use and motorized access for the purpose of dispersed camping (camping in locations other than developed campgrounds). It also states that driving off designated roads and trails is prohibited (36 CFR 261.13). Motorized use includes, but is not limited to: motorcycles, ATVs, 4-wheel drives and passenger vehicles. Motor vehicle access may occur on routes not shown on the MVUM for the purpose of limited administrative access by: Forest Service personnel; fire and law enforcement personnel for emergency purposes; and, persons authorized by a Forest Service written special use permit or contract.

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What do you mean by vehicle class?

Vehicle class refers to the size or type of motorized vehicles. The following are typical MVUM vehicle class and route designations:

  • Roads open to highway legal vehicles only
  • Roads open to all vehicles (licensed and unlicensed)
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  • Trails open to vehicles 50 inches or less in width (ATV, motorcycle, etc.)
  • Trails open to all (full size) vehicles (trails may be rugged and narrow, intended for 4WD)
  • Trails open to motorcycles only (single track)

It’s important to understand that a route shown open to certain vehicle classes does not mean it is maintained for, or suitable for, travel using those vehicles. It simply means it is legal to use them. For example, many low standard roads may be open to all motor vehicles. This designation includes passenger cars, although it may not be prudent to drive this type of vehicle on the route due to the condition of the surface or during inclement weather.

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What do you mean by a seasonal designation or season of use?

Some routes or areas may be open only during certain times of the year for various reasons such as to reduce wildlife disturbance, protect users from unsafe or impassable conditions and to reduce impacts to other resource values, like soil, water and vegetation. On the Stanislaus, routes are either open year round or from April 15 through December 15.

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Are road and trail route marker signs on the ground?

On the Stanislaus our goal is to have most, if not all, motorized travel routes signed at primary junctions, at any given time. Routes designated for motorized use may not always be signed. In some cases, a route marker may exist at the entrance of the road/trail with symbols indicating which classes of vehicles are allowed. Routes designated for motorized uses will be identified on the MVUM. It is the responsibility of the user to determine if they are on a route designated for the motor vehicle being used.

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Does the MVUM also show non-motorized trails and over-snow vehicle uses?

No, a visitor map or snowmobile map will provide information on non-motorized trails or over-snow vehicle routes. Over-snow vehicle use is exempt from designations on the MVUM. Regardless of what other maps (including the Forest Visitor Map) may show as motorized routes, only those routes identified on the MVUM are designated as open to public motorized use and legal for public motorized travel.

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When will the MVUM become enforceable?

The MVUM becomes enforceable when the map is posted to the web and is available to the public in a hard copy format (expected on April 15, 2011). Enforcement begins when both types of maps are available to the public.

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What is the Forest Service enforcement strategy?

When new regulations are posted, the Forest Service tries to educate the public about the specifics of the regulation. A law enforcement officer contact with the public is a great opportunity to provide information education and create awareness about the MVUM. However, law enforcement officers can issue a notice of violation anytime after the MVUM is publicly available.

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Does the MVUM shut down access to dispersed camping, fuel wood gathering and other activities such as game retrieval?

The MVUM does not shut down access to dispersed camping, fuel wood gathering and other activities and it does not address where such activities may occur. It does limit direct motorized access into some campsites and other locations because driving off designated roads and trails is prohibited (36 CFR 261.13); however, you will be able to park within one vehicle length (vehicle plus trailer) of a NFTS route and walk-in to access dispersed camping, fuel wood gathering and other activities.

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How long is one vehicle length and what happens if I’m towing a long trailer?

Of course, vehicle length varies and is normally considered as the length of the specific motor vehicle (including trailer) in question. On the Stanislaus National Forest, a vehicle towing a trailer would be allowed to park within one vehicle length (vehicle plus trailer) of the NFTS route as long as it is not causing damage to National Forest resources or otherwise prohibited (36 CFR 261.54).

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Why am I just now finding out about the MVUM and how it affects access?

The Stanislaus National Forest conducted public outreach and collaboration since beginning the Motorized Travel Management effort in 2007. The Forest held 22 meetings and open houses; issued news releases; published official notices in the Union Democrat newspaper of record and the Federal Register; and, posted project updates on the Forest’s website. All notifications and outreach efforts solicited public involvement, collaboration and comment.

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Can new routes be added to the MVUM?

The MVUM will be revised as needed to show approved route changes subject to completion of required mitigations. The Forest also intends to consider future changes to the NFTS through additional environmental analysis, public involvement and documentation.